Thursday, April 25, 2013

ThMTMQR: Greggggggggg returns, continues to write garbage

As the draft approaches, here's an incredible insider tip regarding team needs -- everybody needs everything.

You know, for being such a pretentious know-it-all snob, Gregg is incredibly anti-intellectual.  A lot of his analysis comes down to "The people who make their living playing/coaching/managing sports are complete idiots!  Only I have the recipe for success, and it more or less comes down to putting no thought whatsoever into the way you play/coach/manage."  This bit is a great example.  "You might read some draft analysis that says the Browns are in the market for a QB.  DON'T BELIEVE IT!  The reality is that everyone needs everything!  Trust me, I'm smart."  I think I have made this pretty clear: I find draft analysis to be insufferably tedious and obnoxious.  So you know that if I'm defending the usefulness of draft analysis, Gregggggg must really be acting like a major league butthole.

Those thumbnails of team draft needs? Each one should read, "Needs: QB, RB, FB, WR, TE, OT, OG, C, DE, DT, ILB, OLB, CB, FS, SS, P, K, RS, SPT."


Between the size of NFL rosters, injury risk and salary cap turnover, even the best teams annually seek reinforcements at nearly every position. 

Yes, draft analysis is so much more fun if you take the meaning of the word "need" literally.  Huzzah.

Consider the defending champion Baltimore Ravens. Between old guys leaving athletics (Matt Birk and Ray Lewis), free agents whose contract offers the team lacked cap space to match (Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger and Cary Williams), a trade to avoid a cap issue (Anquan Boldin) and departures for personality reasons (Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard), the Super Bowl winners have vacancies at eight of their starting positions. And they were the best team of 2012!

How fascinating!  One might even say that the Ravens have needs at the positions those guys play, but lesser or non-existent needs at other positions, like QB and RB.

What NFL team is totally set at quarterback? 

Probably the Broncos, Giants, Patriots, Ravens, Saints, Packers, Falcons, Panthers, and to a lesser extent, the 49ers, Lions, Redskins, Cowboys, Steelers, and a few other teams.

The Broncos, Giants, Patriots, Ravens and Saints, all with future Hall of Fame starters, are unsettled at backup. 

First of all, lol @ Flacco as a future HOFer.  I'm not a Ravens hater or anything but let's tap the brakes on that one.  Second of all, if by "unsettled" you mean "these teams don't have a surefire NFL starter caliber backup, so there's going to be a dropoff if their starters get hurt," yes, thank you so much for the analysis.  I'm sure the Saints are spending a good chunk of their pre-draft time wondering just how they can find a better backup for Brees than Chase Daniel, because inadequacy at backup QB is why they missed the playoffs last year.

And those are the strongest squads at quarterback -- don't even think about the grim situations at the Bills, Cardinals or Jaguars. 

It's almost like some teams need QB help more than others, making "draft needs" a subject worth thinking about!

Maybe the Forty Niners are totally set at offensive line -- maybe. 

Is that you, Peter King?

Maybe the Falcons don't need anybody at wide receiver -- maybe. 

They don't.

What NFL team is totally set at offensive line, linebacker, running back, defensive back, at any position?

Shut the fuck up.

Annually, even winning NFL teams look to replace many players based on injury, age, the salary cap and the endless search for better performance. So ignore those "team needs" breakdowns. 

Yes, if you are a complete fuckass, ignore those, because deep down you know the Saints will probably trade up in the draft and take Geno Smith.

At draft time, everybody needs everything.


Draft time means such nonsense as NFL scouts and sports radio obsessing over hundredths of seconds. 

Well he's not really wrong about that, except that he's still wrong, because it's not like that shit doesn't matter at all; it just doesn't matter nearly as much as Mel Kiper and the fat guy in the Steelers jacket sitting alone at your local sports bar at 11 AM watching the combine think it matters.

See below for TMQ's annual lampoon of absurd precision. And draft time means the annual Tuesday Morning Quarterback mock of mock drafts. Everyone's got a mock draft -- only TMQ mocks the mock drafts!

Watch out, Andy Kaufman!

For a decade, one entry on my mock of mock drafts annually read, "Los Angeles Clippers, projected trade. It makes no difference whom the Clippers draft, and it never will." Now the Clips have won their division, besting the cost-no-object Lakers. Didn't see that coming! 

Who would have thought that a team with two all stars and a solid supporting cast could win anything?

What NBA team takes over the mantle of draft futility? See below.

"Can't wait!"
-no one

1. Kansas City. Carl Brewer, mayor, Wichita, Kan. Wichita State made the men's Final Four while the mega-hyped University of Kansas team watched at home. 

Too many GLOREE BOY five star recruits on Kansas's squad!  Not enough walk ons!  That was the reason they lost in overtime to a team that made the championship game.

2. Jacksonville. Errol Flynn, actor. The only person whose mustache is more recognizable than the mustache of Jags owner Shahid Khan. 

More outdated than "Godfrey Daniel!"?

3. Oakland. Lindsay Lohan, former actress. If she did her court-ordered rehab at the Raiders' minicamps, at least the judge would know where she was.

Not to be outdone by Reilly, here's Gregg with an awesome Lohan reference of his own.

4. Philadelphia. Vera Wang, couturier. Already redesigning the micro-fashions of the Eagles cheer-babes, Wang could add an Oregon Ducks look to Eagles' players. Say, 16 different helmet-and-jersey color combinations involving mint, aureolin and vermilion.

Does he think that's a joke?

5. Detroit. Theo Tonin, imaginary mobster. Leader of the Detroit mob, Tonin is the Big Bad of the hit series "Justified." Considering the condition of the Detroit economy, it's hard to see why mobsters would focus on that city. 

Gregg might not know this, but there's been incredible corruption in Detroit's government for years.  There's obviously money to be made.

Plus, Detroit public officials have already stolen everything that wasn't bolted down. 

Ah, ok, he did know about that--he's just a fucking moron who can't connect the idea that people are stealing things in a city to the possible desire by organized crime to be present in that city.

6. Cleveland. Randy Newman, composer. He just made Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, despite not performing rock.

Again, like the Vera Wang thing, not sure if the angle here is comedy, but I doubt it could be anything else.

7. Arizona. Hanna Barbaric, Surly Gurlies. She has the best pun name in the Arizona Roller Derby -- think Flintstones. The listless Cardinals could use some roller derby spirit.

Wichita spirit!  Roller derby spirit!  That's what bad teams need, more spirit!  And an equal amount of help at every position!

9. Jersey/B. Rex Harrison, actor. He could rep in for Rex Ryan and belt out "I Could Have Blitzed All Night."

Errol Flynn's favorite tune!

11. San Diego. A 110-yard field. New head coach Mike McCoy, a former quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders, hopes to surprise opponents by using CFL rules.

Now there's a blurb that is definitely a wretched joke.  No doubt about it that time.

13. Jersey/B. Julie Andrews, Dame.  She could join Harrison in belting out a variation on "The Rain in Spain" with new lyrics including, "The passes by Sanchez fall mainly on the ground."

Holy shit.

17. Pittsburgh. Bruce Arians, head coach, Cardinals. Needing someone to scapegoat for their playoff loss at Denver, the Steelers cashiered offensive coordinator Arians -- who went on to a fantastic season as a fill-in coach at the Colts, then the top job at Arizona. 


P.S.: Steelers haven't been to the postseason since.

Yes, one whole season later, they have yet to return.  A Cubs championship-like drought to be sure.  I mean, fuck the Steelers, but fuck Gregg more than that.

18. Dallas. Undercover Brother, golf cart driver. Things go better if someone is actually driving the golf cart.

Well the joke is horrible and nonsensical, but that video will never not be funny, so points to him for that.  I'm surprised.

25. Washington Wizards (from Vikings, projected trade). It makes absolutely no difference whom the Wizards draft, and it never will.

I hope the Wizards go 82-0 next season.

In 2008, Whizzies management gave Gilbert Arenas a super-lavish guaranteed contract, then almost immediately began desperately trying to unload Arenas' deal. In the NBA offseason, watch for Whizzies management to give John Wall a super-lavish guaranteed contract, then almost immediately begin desperately trying to unload Wall's deal.

Probably won't happen, because Arenas was a 26 year old one dimensional shooting guard when he got his deal, and Wall is a 22 year old point guard who can score and distribute and has much more athleticism and raw talent than Arenas ever did.  Gregggggg is not wrong to dump on Wizards management, because Ernie Grunfield is a certified dumbass, but Wall is legitimately good.

26. Green Bay. Kevin Minter, linebacker, LSU.  Possible actual choice thrown in for variety.

/sitcom laugh track

27. Houston. A komodo dragon. These reptiles really bring it, unlike the Texans in their playoff wheeze-out.

"I want to write my annual 'mock the mock drafts' column... better find a way to work in this link about komodo dragons.  Hmmm."  /sniffs own fart

29. New England. Dorian Gray, gothic antihero. Tom Brady is the sole player remaining on the Patriots' roster from the 2002 Super Bowl win. Everyone else has limped away: Brady seems strangely youthful. Could there be a painting hidden in his moated California estate that is aging instead of him?


31. San Francisco. Ivan Pavlov, physiologist. He will attach electric contacts to Jim Harbaugh and administer a shock whenever Harbaugh fails to call runs at the goal line. By their next Super Bowl appearance, the Forty Niners will be ready to win.

The real problem during the last San Francisco drive in the Super Bowl was the Jim Harbaugh was wearing a coat.

32. Baltimore. Anquan Boldin, wide receiver. The Ravens may regret unloading this gentleman for a mere sixth-round draft choice. In the 2013 postseason, Boldin caught passes totaling 380 yards and four touchdowns. But he's 32 years old, get rid of the bum! Expect the football gods to wax wroth against the defending champions.

YES, VERILY THEY WILL WAX WROTH!  Keep in mind that Boldin, if retained, would have been both high drafted AND a megabucks glory boy.  Good move to unload him.

Now, with the mock drafts sufficiently and thoroughly mocked, onto the part of the column that will probably grind the gears of "Justified" fan Chris W more than anything has previously ground his gears.

Freeze! Keep That Script Where I Can See It! The Timothy Olyphant crime show "Justified" just wrapped its fourth season with deputy U.S. marshal Raylan Givens, the protagonist, having shot and killed at least 20 bad guys during the brief span of the series -- likely more bad guys than killed by all current actual U.S. marshals combined. "Justified" is offbeat and entertaining, 

Like TV shows are supposed to be.

especially episodes based on Elmore Leonard stories. The show deserves its status as a hit.


"Justified" is praised for gritty realism: 

I don't watch it, but I don't think this is the main reason it is praised.  It is probably most often praised for being offbeat and entertaining (hey!), with good acting and good writing.

yet, where is it set? 


Viewers are told Givens works out of the Marshals Service office in Lexington, Ky., and is assigned to Harlan County, Ky. -- which is 150 miles from Lexington. Often Givens is in the office, then minutes later in Harlan County, then minutes later back at the office.

My God!  Somebody think of the children!  Contact the FCC and get this abomination off the air!  How dare the director choose to not show Givens driving for 3 hours every time he goes from Lexington to Harlan County!

Givens makes regular trips to a maximum-security penitentiary that is -- where? 

Oh, you're not going to beLIEve this shit.  If you're anything like Gregggg, which you aren't, it will boil your blood.

There are two federal high-security prisons in Kentucky, one about 140 miles from Lexington and the other about 125 miles away, plus a state high-security penitentiary about 225 miles distant. The prison Givens regularly visits is depicted as minutes from his office.

This is starting to remind me of Keith Law's review of Moneyball.  Keith Law is a dipshit, by the way.  Not sure I've mentioned that in the last few months so there's your reminder.

Of course time sense and travel distance often are distorted on television. 

But of course we can all agree they shouldn't be!  

Consider the midseason premiere of the goofy sci-fi show "Revolution," which posits that all forms of power have stopped working. In one episode, good guys camped in Culpepper, Va., learn of a sinister event about to occur in Philadelphia. They depart on foot to stop the bad guys, and arrive the next day. Culpepper is 215 miles from Philadelphia.

No wonder Revolution got such shitty ratings.  You could probably practically hear remote controls around the country being picked up when that horrible gaffe was revealed.

But since "Justified" strives for authenticity, 

I really don't think that's the case, any more that it is for any cop show (someone can correct me in the comments if I'm wrong and Justified actually does advertise itself as HYPERREALISTIC), but even if it is, fuck you.

time distortion stands out more in this series. 

Experts on Kentucky geography are rightfully livid.

In one episode Raylan, protecting a prisoner from the mob, must stall for 30 minutes until backup arrives. The structure of the episode is: Can Raylan hold off the bad guys for 30 minutes? In that half hour, Raylan drives the prisoner from an isolated country house to an old high school in town; then drives back to the country house; then drives back to the high school; then gets a railroad dispatcher to stop a coal train in precisely the right place so another marshal and the captive can board, meaning the prisoner is long gone via rail when the mob attacks. Raylan accomplishes all these things in 30 minutes.

At this point I'm out of snark and am just going to let him ramble.  Scroll through as you see fit.

Raylan needs to stall for 30 minutes because, viewers are told, "six Kentucky State Police cruisers are on their way" but cannot reach the town for half an hour. Is there really any location in Kentucky that has a high school but is 30 minutes from the nearest police car?

In the climactic sequence of "Skyfall," Bond rescues M in London, hops into his antique Aston Martin and drives to the Bond family castle in Scotland, there to make a last stand against the cackling super-villain. Scotland is a 450-mile drive from London. During the many hours Bond motors north toward the land of Scots, MI6 never sends backup to the castle, nor simply orders police to assist in protecting the head of a major British government agency. It seems all law enforcement officers in the entire United Kingdom have vanished. Maybe they were on their way to Kentucky!

The first season of "Justified" offered episodes in which actual Marshals Service activity was depicted. Then the semi-indie movie "Winter's Bone" -- launching pad for actress Jennifer Lawrence -- was released to acclaim for its depiction of modern hillbillies. "Justified" shifted toward the movie's aesthetic. Since "Winter's Bone," "Justified" has presented the Marshals Service as intently concerned with investigating rural drug dealing. This is a worrisome crime, but not one the agency has jurisdiction over. Protecting judges and courthouses, primary mission of the Marshals Service, has vanished from the show.

Season 4 of "Justified" depicts the events of about two weeks. In that short period, Raylan kills a fugitive who murdered Raylan's former lover; catches several other fugitives; exposes a corrupt FBI agent; rescues a kidnapped woman while killing the kidnapper; rescues a kidnapped woman while killing three kidnappers; is beaten by a thug and shot with a beanbag shotgun; is captured by hillbillies; kills a mob hit man by winning a fast-draw situation; arranges the death of a mob underboss by luring him into a trap set by a rival; has sex with two incredibly attractive women; finds and rescues a man whose foot is cut off; claims his father's body for burial; and locates a man whom law enforcement and the mob have been chasing for 30 years. That's some two weeks!

Can you imagine how little joy and fun this man gets out of life?  Living with him must be insufferable.  I don't wish ill on the man (other than that he be fired from ESPN), but seriously, what a depressing existence he must lead.  I kind of feel bad for all these posts at this point.

Absurd Specificity Watch: Americans seem to love hyperbolic claims of precision -- perhaps it makes us feel that science is more efficient than it really is. 

More anti-intellectualism, headed your way.

When Nate Silver of The New York Times forecasts, as he did on the morning of the 2012 presidential voting, that Barack Obama will win re-election with "314.6" electoral votes to "223.4" electoral votes for Mitt Romney, such numbers are received with gravitas -- as if the decimal places made them deep, rather than silly. 

Not at all the case, but go on.

In just two days, Obama's chance of re-election increased from "80.8 percent" to"83.7" percent . A claim of a "83.7" percent chance rather than "a good chance" 

Is something voters, observers and analysts might be interested in knowing?

is seen as turning the speaker into Mr. Spock, when actually ought to make readers giggle.

Oh, how we all shall cackle at the idea of being turned into Mr. Spock!  What the fuck?  TMQ just stinks.  It really does.  I'm going back to Simmons.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

And this is why I should never credit Simmons for his NBA analysis, part 3 (of 3)

In my Simmons mailbag post, I made a crack about how he never writes anymore.  While I stand by that, I have to give him credit--in the past week, he has started his annual NBA trade value series (Didn't he used to do that during the summer, after the playoffs ended?  Greggggggggg says CREEP ALERT!!!!) and written an article on the Quentin/Greinke fight which I have not yet read, but of which the Grantland editor who writes the little mini summaries says:

You can call it a donnybrook or a fracas. Bill Simmons calls it one of the best things that can happen at a baseball game.

Of course, because Simmons doesn't actually care about baseball, unless it's October and the Red Sox are still playing.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good brawl, but I also like baseball a lot even when there are no brawls.  Whatever.  Let's get to the rest of the garbage he wrote about the Heat's streak.

LOSER: Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony …

And everyone else who briefly thought they had a chance to own the 2012-13 NBA season. Thanks for coming, guys.

No one who matters gives a fuck about who "owns" the season.  This is an incredibly stupid narrative that dipwads like Bill invent.  Players care about winning games, winning end of season awards and winning statistical titles like leading the league in scoring.  They do not sit around with their friends or their agent and say "You know, I wish more people thought I owned that season.  How can I change that?"

WINNER: The 1972 Lakers

Not just because they kept their streak, but because Miami's run pushed people to start considering the magnitude of that 33-gamer again. 

They would not have been "losers" had the Heat won 34 straight.  People would have considered the magnitude of the Lakers' streak and realized how awesome it was no matter what.  But enough of me taking Bill's arguments seriously.

Was that streak underrated, overrated or properly rated? 

Oh dear God, who gives a flying fucking rat's ass?

The case for each …




And I didn't even mention the NBA's brutal schedule back then. Early on in their streak, the '72 Lakers played eight games in 10 days — in five different cities — including consecutive Friday-Saturday-Sunday back-to-back-to-backers. Later in the streak, they played five games in six days in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Buffalo and Baltimore (and won all five).

That's pretty fucking nuts, actually.



It's funny that Bill has sparred with his bosses with increasing regularity over the years (most recently regarding the Richard Sherman/Skip Bayless scuffle, which, come on Richard, don't play my man Skip like that).  As time passes each caters less and less to sports fans and more and more to people who sort of like sports and want to be able to talk about them in the same way others talk about celebrity gossip.  OMG WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR WHAT LEBRON SAID ABOUT TONY ROMO.  IT'S SOOOOOO JUICY.

WINNER: Jerry West

Not just for keeping his streak, but for being so damned magnanimous during Miami's run. When I interviewed him for NBA Countdown last week …

And this turns into a 600 word tangent about how great Bill Russell was and how Simmons has talked to Magic Johnson about Russell's greatness a lot.  Because Bill is just a regular old sports guy, just like you and me.

LOSER: The 2013 Eastern Conference playoffs

Has anyone caught more breaks than Miami these past 12 months? 


The luck the Celtics buttfucked their way into between May 2007 and June 2008 was astonishing.  Of course, that's the case with a lot of title winning teams (2011 Mavs for sure, and it's not hard to make a case for the 2010 Lakers).  They were ONE of the best in the league, but not definitely THE best, and then they caught some breaks at the right time.  In the case of the 2007-2008 Celtics, it wasn't just in-season breaks, or winning game 7s in the first three rounds of the playoffs--it was the way Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett fell into their laps.  I'm not saying it wasn't also some shrewd work by their front office to make those moves happen, but at the same time, to get both of those guys via trade in the same offseason is pretty lucky.  Usually there isn't even one guy as good as either of them available for trade in any given year.  Anyways, you know what recent title winner I wouldn't put on the "lucky" list?  The 2012 Heat, who were just flat out too fucking good for everyone.  And I don't think the 2013 Heat, should they win the the title, are going to belong on that list either.  But let's let Bill make his case.

Just in their own conference, Chicago decides not to make a run because of Derrick Rose's injury, then Rose decides not to come back. 

A superstar player getting hurt is not "luck" for the Heat, this shit happens all the time.  Even if it were lucky for the Heat, it would also be lucky for 28 other teams, making it a pretty poor candidate for a list of things that make the Heat the luckiest team in the league.  It isn't "lucky" for the Heat anymore than it's "lucky" for the Pacers.  You would have to be stupid to think that. 

Boston loses Rondo for the year. Same for Indiana and Granger, Philly and Bynum 

Philly was maybe going to be the 5th best team in the East if Bynum had played 82 games.

and (probably) New York and Amar'e. 

Amar'e is maybe the 100th best player in the league if he's healthy.

Orlando deals Howard out of the conference. 

This may be news to some, but HOWARD IS STILL PLAYING ELSEWHERE IN THE NBA, meaning the Heat still might have to get through his team to win it all.  (Extremely unlikely, HAW HAW LAKERS FANS BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASSES, but possible.)  Maybe, if instead of being traded, he had played for the Magic this year, the Magic might stolen a single regular season game from the Heat instead of going 0-for, which then in the big picture amounts to.... nothing.  This is not "luck" for the Heat or for any other team.  You would have to be stupid to think that.

Brooklyn deals the Damian Lillard pick for The Artist Formerly Known As Gerald Wallace, killing its chance to trade for one more blue-chip veteran last month. 

Because everyone knew Damiam Lillard would blow up this year!  That's why he was taken 6th overall, a pick after a guy who has already been traded.  This is still not luck, in no small part because the Nets were not going to be that good anyways.  I know they had a nice season and got the 4 seed, but have you seen their record broken down between playoff teams and non-playoff teams?  It's ghastly.  They're not good against good teams.  I predict the Rose-less Bulls take care of them in 6.

On the other side, the Lakers imploded faster than Amanda Bynes's Twitter account; 

After trading for Dwight Howard, a guy whose departure from the East is supposedly a stroke of luck for the Heat.  Also, I would agree that it is a "good thing" for other teams that the Lakers have struggled this year, but this is still not "luck," and you would be stupid to think that.

Oklahoma City dealt James Harden a year too early for 50 cents on the dollar; 

This is the first item on the list that I would call lucky for the rest of the league, because 1) it was not a move the Thunder had to make (unlike the Howard trade which the Magic were essentially forced into) and 2) it made a good team worse (unlike the Howard trade which in theory, should have made a good team better). Luckily for Bill, because it involved the team most likely to challenge the Heat for the title this year, it goes a good distance towards validating his "the Heat got lucky" thesis.  But by good distance, I mean not really all that far, and he's still got all these other idiotic points floating around.

Memphis salary-dumped Rudy Gay; 

For Tayshaun Prince, and promptly ripped off a 12-2 (or something) streak.

and the Clippers decided against running an offense this season. 

I assume that is more of a joke than a piece of serious analysis, but either way, it's dumb.

At the rate we're going, Ty Lawson and Tony Parker are going to collide during a Spurs-Nuggets game and knock each other unconscious until July. Congratulations on the 2013 title, Miami. Just plan the parade already.


WINNER: Pat Riley

Riley didn't just build the team that won 27 straight games, he spent the past three decades setting the stage for this specific season.

That's the stupidest line in this entire column, which is saying a lot.

LOSER: Everyone who hates that Miami stacked the deck in 2010

We have been "losers" in that regard for almost three years now, numbnuts.  This streak had nothing to do with it.

Remember when LeBron, Wade and Bosh joined forces in Miami and we threw the biggest collective hissy fit in recent memory? How can those losers try to game the system like that? Why would LeBron rather play with his biggest rival over trying to beat his ass? Whatever happened to competitiveness? Whatever happened to earning a title? Then this happened …

And nothing changed.

… and that pushed our venom to another level. Quite simply, we declared war on the Heat. 


We booed them in every arena, ripped them to shreds on the Internet, lambasted them on radio shows, dangled a heat lamp over them and turned it to high. 

Before the streak, everyone was really coming around to liking them!

We liked having a villain again. 

Oh my God.  You have the attention span of a goldfish if you think this streak turned the Heat into villains "again."

WINNER: The 2013 Miami Heat

Thank you for the insight.

The '66 Celtics went back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. The '72 Lakers rolled off 33 straight. The '96 Bulls won 87 of 100 games. The '86 Celtics finished 50-1 at home. The '01 Lakers finished 15-1 in the playoffs. I always believed that, if you wanted to make history — real history — you had to beat one of those five teams. 

That would be difficult, though, because none of them play in the NBA anymore and in many cases, the players are either way too old to play basketball anymore or are dead.  The other way to make history--real history--is to be notably good at basketball in a way that is talked about for a long time.  Without manufacturing a stupid list of the teams they have to "beat" to fulfill that criterion, I think we can agree that if the Heat win the title this year, they'll probably have done that, and would have done it even if they went 21-6 during those 27 games.  We can also agree that the degree to which they'll have made "real history" can't really be determined until years down the road, of course, and since we're not people who sit around saying HOW WILL THIS EVENT BE LOOKED BACK ON IN FIFTEEN YEARS?  I KNOW THE ANSWER FOR SURE, SO LET ME TELL YOU, we'll agree to wait it out.  The reason we can agree on all of this is that we're not complete zilcheroos like Bill is.  

You had to win nine straight titles or 34 straight games. You had to win 88 of 100 games in one season, you had to sweep your home games, or you had to sweep the playoffs. Those were your five tickets to immortality.

Shut up.

But the Heat may have forged their way into that previous paragraph anyway. 

Wow!  It's almost like this ridiculous made up bullshit was just ridiculous made up bullshit all along!

LOSER: The 2013 Miami Heat*

What's the asterisk for? Because they have to win the title now … or the streak loses about 50 percent of its ultimate meaning. 

Gregggggggggg approves of Bill's refusal to use a hyperspecific number for that figure.

WINNER: David Stern and Adam Silver

With every NBA season that reaches its conclusion without a repeat of the Pistons/Pacers brawl at Auburn Hills or a similar debacle that makes mainstream America turn up its nose at the NBA because NBA players are THUGGISH THUGS WHO WEAR BAGGY PANTS AND LISTEN TO RAP MUSIC, these two guys are enormous winners.  $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

And this one dates back to The Decision in 2010, an allegedly horrific public-relations disaster 

No, not "allegedly."  It was.

that, of course, ended up secretly reinvigorating the NBA, 

SECRETLY AN UNDERRATED OVERRATED FACTOR in an NBA "reinvigoration" that just might have had something to do with the Celtics and Lakers winning the three previous titles before The Decision took place.

In four years, LeBron went from being a savior to a villain to a hero to a legend. You couldn't have scripted it better.


WINNER: LeBron James

I did a podcast on Monday with the great Bob Ryan, who's the closest thing we have to an NBA savant right now. 

What?  To appropriate a classic dan-bob label, Bob Ryan has hot dogs for brains.

Ryan was the one who created the Alien Game — if aliens landed on Earth and challenged us to one game for the future of the planet, and you could pick any five guys from any point in history to defend us, who would you pick? 

Look, I appreciate that he wants to make this thought exercise a little ZANY AND WACKY by adding the alien angle, but this is not some awesome, novel invention.  It is a game more commonly known as "Who are the best players of all time at their positions?" and it has been played by a billion NBA fans a billion times in the last fifty or so years.

You would have to be a moron to have the team without LeBron James. Give me 1986 Bird, 1987 Magic, 1992 Jordan and 2013 LeBron and I don't care who's playing center. For the record, I'd pick 1977 Walton as my center just in case the aliens had a 7-foot-6 monster or something, but really, you could give me Russell, Kareem, Parish, Mutombo, Ewing … I don't care. I'm beating the aliens with those other four guys. They would figure out how to win. They would.

I feel like I end posts with a line similar to this way too often these days, but seriously, you're a fucking dipshit.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rick Reilly: is a gargantuan asshole

Which of these lines from his column from last week about how to spend a day at the Masters most loudly and embarrassingly screams "I WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW IMPORTANT I AM!!!"?  Your call.  I want to apologize in advance for alienating any of our seven readers who love the Masters.  I actually enjoy golf quite a bit (despite the shit I give morons like Reilly for loving it) and I'll always watch Sunday at the Masters.  As usual, some of this is just hating for hating's sake.  I'm sure any of you who are huge golf fans would agree that Reilly is out of fucking control here.

Luck just French-kissed you. You've been handed a one-day ticket to Thursday at this year's Masters. But now you're freaking. You'll never get this chance again. What should you do? Where should you go?

Well, this will be my 25th Masters. 

What an asshole.

6:05 a.m. -- Wait! Leave your cell phone! Get caught with one on the course and you're banished for life. I know. I was standing on No. 1 once, watching Tiger Woods putt, when my phone rang in my pocket. Ring tone: "Fly Me to the Moon." Utter horror. Two Pinkerton guards took me roughly by the arms and escorted me toward the front gate. I was staring at a lifetime of standing outside the gate next to Gary McCord when I happened to see Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, whom I knew from his running of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. "Billy! Save me!" And he did. But he's not going to save you.

Do you not know Billy Payne?  Oh, pity.  I certainly do.  Like I was saying, Rick Reilly is a fucking asshole.

6:15 a.m. -- Park for free, like everybody else, in one of the 8,500 no-charge spaces that are really close.

What a breath of fresh air!  Free parking!  In a midsized city on the Georgia-South Carolina border, no less!

Once [your chair] is down, leave. Nobody will take it and nobody will sit in it. The whole deal runs on the honor system, and the Masters is nothing if not honorable.

Totally.  Once you get past the rampant racism and sexism, the place is oozing honor and class.  It was especially honorable when, in 1984, the tournament decided to start letting pros actually bring their own caddies, rather than forcing them to use the club's caddies who were, you guessed it, all black.  And when I said 1984, I mean the 1984 that was 29 years ago.

9 a.m. -- Observe, for a moment, the most well-run sporting event in the world.

Holy hell.  It's a fucking golf tournament.  Let's see the geniuses that manage to somehow coordinate a slow-moving event with like 80 participants and a few thousand fans successfully put on an Olympics.  And geez, much as I despise the NFL, those fuckers have "well-run" down to a science.  Any sold out regular season game is a fuck of a lot harder to coordinate than a golf tournament.

And observe all of the stuff you don't see. No ads. 

The game of golf should be pure!  No ads!  No vaginas!  No people whose skin color would make you lock your car door if you were waiting at a red light and they were standing on the median holding a sign that says "Hungry please help!"

Nobody holding any signs. 

Especially not "Hungry please help!" signs!

No port-a-potties. No cars suspended on lakes. No electronic scoreboards.

Yeah, I agree, sports are just SO much better to watch when you have to wait twenty fucking minutes for the scoreboard to change.

Just golf played on giant fairways and M.C. Escher greens in front of a lot of Southern women in big hats. Fabulous.

This is the guy who thinks baseball is slow and boring.

10:20 a.m. -- Now, as Jim Nantz would say,

Makes sense that one smarmy buttwipe would enjoy referencing another.

over to 16, 

The only golf commentator to ever use that line!  Just like how John Madden was famous for saying "That's a first down."

where you can sit and watch players try to par the Lindsay Lohan of golf holes -- short, gorgeous and shady.

That would have been a non-horrible reference a mere five or six years ago.

For one thing, they're separated from the fans by 150 yards, so they can swear all they want. Certain players (cough, Tiger, cough) really like that.

Golf fans who perceive Tiger to be some kind of "bad boy" are just a bunch of tards.  They really are.

d) the Eisenhower cabin, built in the 1950s to the exact standards of the Secret Service. I slept there once. It's not much.

No big deal.

A sitting room and six bedrooms with twin beds. There was a rather pedestrian painting on the wall above my bed. I had a hunch. I checked the signature in the corner. Yep. Painted by Eisenhower.


The room on the corner is where the club's patron saint, Clifford Roberts, always stayed during the "toonamint."

Good ol' Cliff!  What a delightful piece of human garbage he surely was.

I slept there once, too.




In the desk drawer, there was a little white pamphlet that listed the entire membership. My eyes bulged, but my host asked me not to publish it, so I didn't. The Masters is nothing if not honorable.

Augusta National is nothing if not interested in not pissing off its members, who enable it to do things like offer free parking.

The first time I met Jack Nicklaus was outside this door on Wednesday in 1986 and I had to ask him if he was broke.

Oh, have you not met Jack Nicklaus?  I have.  I even asked him a "hard-hitting" question that was actually quite a softball.  Then I slept in the Eisenhower cabin for.... I believe it was... yes, it was the seventh time I slept there.

12:50 p.m. -- If you're really daring, try to sneak a peek at: a) one of America's finest wine cellars (I've seen it;


1:05 p.m. -- The waiter writes out the bill on a simple little check pad you could buy at Walgreen's for $1.99.

Isn't that uninteresting factoid proof of the greatness of the Masters?

Leap to get it, but the waiter is going to give you the stink eye if you give him anything but cash. Imagine: Augusta National hosts captains of finance and industry and yet if you're not staying on the property, they're not taking any chances with your Visa card.

Imagine: a place that wants to pretend like it's still 1935!  It'll shock you to find out that it's located in the South.

2:40 p.m. -- See if you can find Bubba Watson on the course. You want to see what his caddie is wearing on the front of his white overalls: The number 1. It goes to the winner's caddie each year. Who says golf doesn't have jersey numbers?

No one?

3:45 p.m. -- Tired yet? Then go sit in your chair on 18. Savor the quaint tradition of a Masters member announcing the names of the players who are about to approach the green, without a microphone. Shake your head at a tournament with no hospitality tents and yet with hospitality coming out of its ears.

What the fuck are you talking about?  Rick Reilly is the worst.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

And this is why I should never credit Simmons for his NBA analysis, part 2

I almost didn't write this post, opting instead to keep pushing it off in favor of an article Reilly just wrote about THE MAJESTIC BEAUTY of AUGUSTA NATIONAL where WOMEN AND DARK SKINNED PEOPLE ARE NOW NOMINALLY ALLOWED, BUT THANKFULLY, STILL RARELY SEEN.  I'll save that for later.


Thanks to March Madness, the NBA's home station had stumbled into a ratings jackpot on Sunday night:

They would have cleaned up on the 5% of the country that gets NBATV.  Imagine the ad dollars!

Miami going for its 30th straight in San Antonio against Pop, Duncan, Manu, Parker 

Pop would probably have sat all three of those players and had an assistant serve as head coach for the night.  I hate the Spurs, but I have to admit, Pop rules at doing shit that makes people like Bill angry.

and everyone else on the league's second-best team. You can't even come up with a basketball parallel for that one — it would have been like the legendary Bears-Dolphins game from 1985, certainly the most anticipated NBA regular-season game ever played. What a bummer.

He goes into this himself later, but MJ's and Magic's comeback games were much more anticipated than that one would have been.  Maybe if they were going for win no. 33 or something I would agree with him, but again, not the case.

Here's how much I wanted to see that game …

We care about this!  We do!  Tell us all about your thought process!

I hate five teams and only five: 

Just kidding, we really don't care about this, or at least I don't.  But you might be wondering what the five teams were though, which is fair.  I'll let you guess them based on the following hints.

1) The only team the Red Sox might play that would cause him to turn on the TV and actually watch the Red Sox, unless the Red Sox were in the World Series
2) The only team the Bruins might play that would cause him to turn on the TV and actually watch the Bruins, unless the Bruins were in the Cup finals
3) The team that has thankfully denied the Patriots two championships in the last five years, and we should all thank them profusely for that, even if their fans are awful
5) Last year's NBA champions, who are NAWT A REAL FRANCHISE and who do NAWT HAVE REAL FANS

After his list, he explained that those are absolutely the only teams he really hates, and that his kids are not allowed to root for.  Given that second part, about the kids, it's fair to assume this is the comprehensive list of his big deal, long term most hated teams (as opposed to being a current list, subject to change).  But of course, given that #3 and #5 are on the list, you can obviously tell that it is in fact a current list and not something based on his entire lifetime's worth of following sports.  Six years ago he wouldn't have had a single fucking opinion on either of those two.  Pretty great.  Even his NAWN-NEGOTIABLE HATE LIST is fairweather.

WINNER: The Cavs

LeBron's old franchise gave Miami two of its toughest streak battles — including win no. 24, when the undermanned Cavs led by 27 points before LeBron flicked on his Dom Toretto honorary NOS switch. Even better, one Cleveland fan benevolently jogged onto the court during a key moment while wearing a "LEBRON 2014" T-shirt, planting the seeds for his eventual comeback, which has to happen if LeBron has anything resembling a heart beating inside that superhuman body. 

SPORTS EXIST TO FOLLOW AND IMITATE THE CLICHED NARRATIVES I HAVE SEEN REPEATEDLY IN MOVIES AND ON TV!  NO ONE DENIES THIS!  I hope LeBron goes to play for the Lakers when his current deal with the Heat is up.

WINNER: Ray Allen

That filthy traitor The former UConn star 


jumped from Boston's semi-sinking ship to Miami's fighter jet, reinventing himself yet again in his quest to be remembered as the greatest long-range shooter who ever lived. (Side note: Even if he already pulled it off by any statistical metric you want to use, it's amazing how many people automatically assume Reggie Miller holds that belt.) 

Allen holds an edge in 3P% (.402 to .395) and total 3P (2847 to 2560, in fewer minutes played), but Miller has a big edge in overall FG% (.471 to .452) and was probably better at creating his own shot (long range or otherwise).  Allen is probably the better pure long range shooter, but the title is certainly up for debate.  Working against Miller, with regards to Bill's opinion: Miller never played for the Celtics.  

One more ring and a few clutch playoff shots should do it, but Allen's extended cameo in the second-greatest streak ever certainly helped. 

His ability to knock down wide open 3s while the greatest player since Jordan draws everyone to the paint certainly doesn't hurt his resume.  But I'm not sure it helps the resume as much as Bill thinks it does.

Of course, I keep flicking through my cable guide and expecting to see the following movie description on HBO2:

He Got Game II: South Beach
8:30-11:45 p.m.
502 HBO2HD
HD, Ray Allen, Michael Douglas (2013) — After stabbing his old teammates from Boston in the back with a 15-inch butcher's knife, 

Boston fans react to players leaving their teams in free agency about as well as 15 year old girls react to being dumped.  Makes sense when you think about it, though.

Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) finds redemption as a clutch 3-point specialist on a loaded Miami team that's talented enough to cover up his shitty defense. Directed 70 minutes too long by Spike Lee.

Better or worse than one of Gregggggggggggg's fake movie scripts or cheerleader cheers?  You decide.

[Long paragraph about what a genius Erik Spoelstra is, which, sure, good for Spoelstra for managing to guide a team with the best player in the league and two other guys in the top forty to a good record.  Bully for him.]

And that's how this played out. Eschewing shot blockers and rebounders, 

Which is why they had to pull Chris Andersen out of semi-retirement halfway through the season, they were getting murdered on the glass.

asking Shane Battier to defend bigger players, 

Something he's been doing for his entire career--A BOLD MOVE.

giving LeBron an inhumane two-way responsibility and hoping he never broke down, 

What was Spoelstra's alternative, tell LeBron to only play half-assed on defense?

appealing to their competitiveness and sense of history … 

A motivational tactic that has never worked on professional athletes before!

these were all calculated risks, and nobody knew better than Spoelstra that he'd get the credit if it worked.

You're a fucking idiot.

LOSER: Kevin Durant

With 10 games remaining in the season, he's averaging 28.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game (borderline Bird territory). He's headed for his fourth straight scoring title, something only Wilt and MJ have pulled off. He's shooting 50.2 percent from the field, 41 percent on 3s and 90.7 percent from the charity stripe, giving him a phenomenal chance to become just the sixth player ever to make the 50-40-90 Club. (The others: Bird, Nash, Dirk, Reggie and Price.) Oh, and he's the best player on a 60-win team.

Bill is about to discuss Durant's unfortunately doomed MVP candidacy.  It's all well and good to point out that he's the best player on a 60 win team, until you consider that the guy who is going to win is also the best player on a 60 win team.

How efficient is Kevin Durant? He's going to lead the league in scoring without leading his own team in field goal attempts. 

Don't stop being you, Russell.  May you doom the Thunder to a much earlier playoff exit this year than last.

Can we get an old-school ECW-style "HO-LY SHIT! HO-LY SHIT!" chant going please? 

ECW!  That was a thing that was on TV!

Here's the point: Poor Durant's MVP campaign wasn't just overshadowed by LeBron and this Miami streak, it was steamrolled and left for dead. Too bad. 

Anyone who was going to vote for Durant until this streak, and then switched to LeBron because of it, is probably not someone who should have an MVP vote.

As Whitlock would say, keep doing the damn thang, KD.

You too, Westbrook.  You keep doing that other damn thang.  

/non-sequitur editoral

WINNER: The concept of NBA adulthood

You know the biggest reason the Heat won 27 games? 

Because they're the best team in the league, and have the league's best player?

You know, other than the part where the greatest player in 20 years suits up for them? 


Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Rashard Lewis, Juwan Howard, even LeBron and Wade and Bosh … these guys are all professionals in the truest sense. 

Lulz.  Cue up some diptard baseball analyst like Kruk raving about "professional hitters," as if there are guys at the MLB level who are not, whether you use the literal definition of professional or the faux-nuanced one that Kruk and his ilk mean.

When you're grinding out win after win after win for almost two solid months — with the media spotlight shining brighter and brighter, with every opponent playing you like it's a playoff game, with the stakes swelling just a little more every game — 

I know where you're going with this: to succeed in that situation, you just keep working hard and using your talent advantage to win game after game.  

the professional routine becomes more crucial than anything. You need adults. 

Lolz.  Ok, sorry, my guess was way off.  The key is "having adults."  Now I'm not saying there are zero players in the NBA (or elsewhere in pro sports) who are immature or often act "unadulty."  At the same time, pretending that "the professional routine" is not something that a) like 90% of guys in the league follow every single night, and b) like 75% of coaches in the league know how to instill in their teams, is idiotic.  This idiocy is no different than the mouthpoop spouted by baseball analysts who insist the key to success is HAVING GUYS WHO PLAY THE GAME THE RIGHT WAY.  Kevin Towers, looking at you.  Both sentiments--what Bill is expressing here, and the ridiculous baseball cliche we all know and love--are double wrong.  First, by their very nature, they (very, very incorrectly) assume that there are lots of guys in their respective leagues that don't play the game the right way/don't follow "the professional routine."  Second, they also imply that you could build a successful team out of guys who DO play the game the right way/follow "the professional routine" but do not have much talent.  It's dumb.  The reason the Heat have a great record is 98% because they have great players and a competent coach.  The other 2% is tiny details around the edges.  If the Heat decided to be unprofessional goofballs at practice and while studying film, they wouldn't have won 27 in a row, but you can bet they'd still be the top team in the East.  If you have a brain, you already knew this.

You need guys who can stay focused, keep grinding out those workdays and say things like, "It's 3:30 a.m., we have a game tomorrow, you need to go home." The 2013 Heat have an overload of adults. Don't think it was an accident.

Also: don't think it's something that pretty much every team in the league (other than any with J.R Smith on the roster) also has.

In 2010, I wrote that Miami couldn't win the title without quality role players, that every lesson from NBA history told us three guys wasn't enough, that it absolutely HAD to be a team effort (at least eight guys). 


Think of all the different ways that Battier, Allen, Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Chris Andersen slid into their roles, 

The 2010-2011 Heat, with none of those guys except Haslem (hurt almost all season anyways) and Chalmers, and worse players in the roles that Battier et al ended up filling the following year, won 58 games and came within two games of winning a title.  They were the better team than Dallas in that Finals (and lost only three games total in the first three rounds of the playoffs) but couldn't quite get the bounces and key baskets they needed in the Finals.  They were 99% of the way to winning that title.  Of course, the counterargument to me making excuses for that 2010-2011 team is "Well that's the point: no title with crappy role players like Carlos Arroyo, Eddie House, 35 year old Zydrunas Ilgauskas and 35 year old Erick Dampier; yes title with better role players!"  That's fine, I'm just saying, the distinction between the 2010-2011 Heat and the 2011-2012 Heat is razor thin.  And I'm sure Bill would agree with me when I note that the 2011-2012 Heat were thiiiiiiiis close to being bounced in the ECF by the Celtics.  With just a few possessions coming out differently in those two postseasons, the 2010-2011 Heat win it all and the 2011-2012 Heat don't even go to the Finals.  Bill's little narrative is great, but let's maybe not get our dicks all hard about how Norris Cole has supposedly made all the difference.

chipped in and affected that streak. That's just the way the NBA works. You can't stack the deck without building something around it, too. And by the way, the fact that Battier and Allen signed for major discounts to play in Miami absolutely has to be considered part of LeBron's 2013 MVP candidacy.


WINNER: Dwyane Wade

He was already the fourth-best shooting guard of all time (trailing only MJ, Kobe and West), 

I like how confidently he announces shit like this.  I AM THE KNOWER, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DEBATE, BUY THE BOOK OF BASKETBALL NOW IF YOU WANT TO BE AS SMART AS ME.  There is ample room for debate that George Gervin and Clyde Drexler were better.  Gervin played in a different era, of course, but his rate stats are pretty much better across the board (only notable advantage for Wade is in assists).  Wade has a long, long ways to go to try to catch him in total points, too, and Gervin only played until he was 33.  Drexler wasn't the scorer either of those guys were, but he was just as good as Wade at sharing with teammates and was a great defender and rebounder.

but the streak and a second straight title probably nudges him into the top 25 players of all time. Would the streak have ended in Chicago if Wade wasn't banged up? We'll never know. 

Number of people who were worried about this any longer that 24 hours following the Bulls victory, other than Bill: zero.

But after people wondered in November if Wade's prime had come and gone (well, I was wondering, anyway), 

He's still a very good player, but given that he averaged 30 ppg, 7.5 apg and 5 rpg back in 2008-2009 while shooting 49%, I think it's safe to say he's not really in his prime anymore.

Wade reinvented himself as LeBron's sidekick, became a more efficient scorer (54 percent shooting during the streak), started crashing the offensive boards in big moments again (like he did back in the day),

Pre-streak: 1.1 orpg/game, 3.6 drpg/game.  During streak: 1.6 orpg/game, 4.0 drpg/game.  During the ten games of the streak that the Heat won by single digits: 1.7 orpg/game.  Really just sounds like he decided to start crashing all of the boards again, regardless of the size of the moment.  But you'd have to agree that it makes Bill sound smarter when he says it his way.

protected his body by not barreling recklessly to the hole (he's on pace to shoot nearly half as many free throws as he did in 2006), and generally seemed like an older, wiser version of Dwyane Wade.

If he seemed that way, it's probably because he is 31, and not 24.  I'm not saying what Bill is saying is untrue, I'm saying that a chimp could have provided it.

I never thought Miami would truly embrace its basketball destiny

Barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf

until Wade gave the car keys to LeBron (or vice versa), and that's what happened here. You have to give Wade credit. How many great basketball players would have been able to suck it up and say,That guy's better than me, he gives us a better chance to win.

Pretty much anyone who was given the chance to play with LeBron?  How many guys would be like "sure, he's pretty good, but fuck that, I'm not passing to him."

It's been beautiful to watch. And since I'm a Celtics fan who just spent the past two paragraphs praising Dwyane Wade, lemme just add that he's delivered more sneaky/dirty/cheap bullshit plays over the years than any Hall of Famer since John Stockton (just so I can fall asleep tonight).

You know what, that's something Bill and I can agree on.  Unfortunately I'm sure he'd never admit that Rajon Rondo is right up there with Wade on any list of the league's current dirtiest players.

PS- Rondo/Ewing Theory update: the Celtics have lost 9 of 13, and despite the fact that Rondo has now been out for almost exactly half the season, giving other players plenty of time to step up and try to fill the role of distributor, there is exactly one healthy player on the team averaging more than 3 apg (Pierce, with 4.8; he was averaging 3.8 at the time of the Rondo injury).  THE THEORY IS REAL!  CAWLL UP MALCOLM GLADWELL!  HIS NEXT BOOK IS PRACTICALLY WRITING ITSFACKINSELF!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bill's mailbag will give you herpes

Much like I interrupted the series of Simmons FREE JIM RICE article posts to cover Rick Reilly's attempt to serve as a lobbyist for the Ricketts family, I'm interrupting my breakdown of Simmons's breakdown of the Heat/Bulls game to cover a mailbag he put out last Friday.  Trying to be topical.  The Heat/Bulls game is already old news regardless of whether I continue to post about it tonight or Wednesday; this mailbag contains a bunch of stuff that deserves to be called out as stupid RIGHT THIS SECOND.

So Nino from Queens sent me the following e-mail: "I saw you on TV the other night and told my 3yr old son that Bill Simmons is so big headed that he cant do a little old mailbag anymore. 

Nino is a zilch--obviously mailbag columns are Bill's favorite thing to write, because 1) the readers do half the writing for him and 2) the questions/emails he chooses to print validate every dumb idea he's already ever had.

My son asked what is big headed daddy? And I replied thats when you forgot where your came from. My son replied by saying 'silly.' He says everything is 'silly' these days but it was perfect timing on his part. 

This story is already substantially more interesting that any story Simmons has ever told about his kids.

Come on, Nino, couldn't you have just written, "I'd love for you to write another mailbag soon, I really enjoy them"?  But thanks for the wakeup call. I can't disappoint Nino or little Nino Jr. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.

A truly captivating introduction.  Guy sent an email in which he very, very gingerly insulted Bill.  Bill asked that guy to not insult him and instead be polite.  AND WE'RE OFF TO A FLYING START.

Q: Where does Worm go when he leaves Binghamton?
—Jeff, OKC

Rounders is a perfectly acceptable movie.  It's a solid B.  It's not really worth getting excited about.  There are dozens and dozens of other good gambling movies out there.

[Bill publishes an email from the writers of Rounders, in which they claim (dubiously) that there is a script for Rounders 2, and that Norton/Damon/Turturro/whoever are totally ready to begin shooting]

Wait … what?????? Matt, Edward, John and the rest of us are all set to go. It's that easy? What are we waiting for? Who's not going to see Rounders 2? Can't somebody fund this already? What the hell is happening? How am I supposed to finish the mailbag now?

Of course Bill is infatuated with Rounders, which is maybe one of the top 500 movies of the 90s.  Of course.

Q: I have a new idea for a reality TV show. It's called "Jeer Factor." Basically, it's a contest to find out which situation causes the highest volume of boos: parading Fidel Castro through Little Havana, LeBron James through Cleveland, Kim Jong Sun through Seoul, and Bernard Pollard through Boston. What do you think?
—Colin, Jacksonville


SG: Here's a more realistic idea: Is there a way to figure out which opposing athlete's jersey would go over the worst in a local sports bar? 

No, there is not, and you're a fucking dunce for even having that thought.

Q: You mentioned in your LeBron column that you hate only five teams, and I was shocked to see the Jets not on the list. As a Pats fan, how do they not make your blood boil? They might be my least favorite team in all of sports other than the evil Iceland team from the second Mighty Ducks movie and Kentucky from Glory Road.
—Chris, Perth

Yes, these are Bill's readers, who cannot talk about sports without talking about movies or TV, because who has the attention span to just pay attention to (and discuss) sports?  WHICH SOPRANOS CHARACTER IS EACH MEMBER OF THE 2007-2008 CELTICS?  WHO SAYS NO?

SG: I know they had a nice little mini-run of relevance and hate-ability, but please, let's not forget the DNA of the New York Jets: one great playoff moment that happened 44 years ago, followed by Joe Namath quickly becoming the most overrated QB who ever lived (look up the stats, it's true); Ken O'Brien over Dan Marino; 

And then he goes on and on.  I have to agree with him, though.  The Jets really are historically pathetic.

Q: In a 2009 mailbag (scroll down to end) you compared Tiger Woods to Don Draper. With Tiger regaining his No. 1 ranking and dating Lindsey Vonn, is this now the equivalent of when Draper married Megan and seemingly regained his mojo in Season 5?
—Kyle, Cambridge, MA

Dear Bill, I like sports a lot.  I like them so much that I have an important question to ask you about Mad Men.

Q: Do you have any idea how lucky you are to watch Jackie Bradley Jr on a daily basis?
—Pete Shahid, Charleston, SC

SG: Yes! I'm well aware! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Jay-Bee-Jay! Sorry, I interrupted you … keep going.

Let's see Red Sox fans stay giddy with excitement over their new superprospect the first time he goes through a 2-for-20 slump.  HE'S NOTHING BUT ANOTHAH CAWRL CRAHHHHFAHD!  FACK HIM!

This e-mail gave me flashbacks to those NC State and Wisconsin alums gushing about Russell Wilson in my inbox last summer. Could JBJ become baseball's Russell Wilson — one of those absurdly likable athletes who transcends stats, says things like "I don't get nervous to tell you the truth" (an actual JBJ quote), gets better when it matters, and almost seems too good to be true? 

They're both undersized fast black guys.  Gotta be the same person, right?  

Here's the point: The Red Sox took heat for starting Bradley on Opening Day over sending him down for two weeks, then bringing up him in mid-April so they could delay his free agency for a year. And if they were Tampa Bay or Pittsburgh, I get it — small-market teams should always protect themselves against potential stars fleeing for big bucks as long as they can. But the Red Sox have gobs of money to spend every season, as well as a much bigger immediate dilemma: Their fan base had turned on the owners and couldn't have been less excited about this year's team. 

As Chris W explained it: March 2013--Red Sox not in first place, fans not sure whether to be excited about the team.  April 2013--Red Sox in first place, fans confident that it's OK to be excited about the team.

That left the Red Sox with two choices.

Choice A: Send Bradley down for two weeks, look like cheapskates, weaken this year's team for the first two weeks, derail his momentum after a sparkling spring training.

Yeah, look where it got the Nationals with Bryce Harper last year!

Choice B: Reward Bradley by bringing him up right away, get the fans excited, hope he helps the team get off to a monster start, then ride the ensuing momentum to a "NOBODY BELIEVED IN US!" season

No one believed we could field a competitive team with a $160MM payroll, but here we are!

Q: A friend of mine and I have been following you since 1999. We were trying to figure out how many words you have printed since that time. Rules: no Twitter/Instant Media, and no support (you get credit for the comments in the mailbag, but not the mailbag itself). The Over/Under is 2.5 million words. I took the over; hoping that the books cover the slow slide in weekly production. As there is a case of Johnnie Walker Blue resting on it, maybe you can settle the answer. 

SWEET STAKES, BRO!  I can't think of anything that would sooner disqualify a person from being someone I would like to be in the same room with than betting on Bill Simmons.

Still a fan.
—John, Houston

SG: Way way way way way over. Let's say I averaged 5,000 words per week since 1999, which feels super low to me. 

You write like five columns a year at this point.  Let's tap the brakes with regards to that estimate.

Q: In light of Washington's recent play (beating the Lakers, Grizzles and seemingly everyone else) would they not be considered one of the best proponents for your 'Entertaining as Hell Tournament'? 

Ah, a callback to one of Bill's worst ever WHO SAYS NO??? ideas.  In this case, the answer is: the players' union, the owners, and every team that makes the playoffs as a top eight seed and is eager to get them underway.

SG: For a quick refresher, check this footnote. Why wouldn't we reward late bloomers, discourage tanking, tighten the playoff race, create more win-or-go-home games and basically do everything that that EAH Tournament allows? 

That's what the NBA needs--more teams eligible for the postseason!

And by the way, how could you enjoy what happened to Florida Gulf Coast this month and NOT like this idea?

If you're not a fucking idiot?

Q: In Boogie Nights, 

It is 2013.  No one cares.

Q: Do you get a boner every time you type Lebron James?
—Joseph Watley III

SG: Not every time.

(Nodding silently.)

Q: You know there's an ex-college linebacker named Marlon on the Real World this season, right? He started for three seasons and was an honorable mention all Big 12 at Texas Tech. A former college athlete who wasn't able to make money as a professional has now turned his attention to getting on the challenge and dominating in order to make a living? This is the next step in making The Challenge America's fifth major sport! 

Unlike Boogie Nights, not only is The Challenge irrelevant now, it has also always been irrelevant.

Q: You wrote: "LeBron allowing Hinrich to keep driving past him so he could block the ensuing layup. I've been watching basketball forever … I have NEVER seen that before." In fairness, Lucas did that to his half-brother Nathan in the deciding point of the epic one on one playground battle on the River Court on One Tree Hill.

God dammit.

Q: Why wouldn't Oscar Pistorius blame a jealous one-armed man for the murder of his girlfriend? There's clearly motive: the one-armed man could have been jealous of Pistorius's fame because he couldn't achieve the same Olympic fame. Why can't Lifetime show, The Fugitive: South Africa? Think of Pistorius's on the edge of a waterfall diving 100 feet with specialized flippers after screaming "You find that man!" to Jack Bauer or something.
—Alex Futter, West Lafayette, IN

That guy is almost funny enough to be a commenter on Deadspin.

SG: These are all fantastic questions and I don't have answers. 

This is what happens in the echo chamber of stupid that is a Simmons mailbag.

Q: So when did Brady and Belichick officially morph into Jim Kelly and Marv Levy?
—Jeff Ruder, Victoria, BC

SG: Too. Soon.

That one is actually a keeper.  Good for Jeff.

Q: Is it just me or is the Amendola for Welker swap eerily similar to the Celtics downgrading from Ray to Jet.
—Ben R., Philadelphia

SG:  The bigger point: Why would the NFL stick with a salary cap that effectively prevents ANY signature guy from finishing with the team that made him a signature guy? 

Yeah!  Why wasn't the #1 goal of both sides during the CBA negotiations last year to make sure OW-UH GRITTY WHITE GUYS are able to retire as OW-UH GRITTY WHITE GUYS?  Putting aside the fact that the Patriots were in no way unable to sign Welker due to salary cap reasons (which is a monstrous boulder of a thing to put aside, but let's do it anyways), I think we can all agree that ensuring that guys like Welker be able to finish their careers with the teams that made them "signature guys" was definitely more important than the 100 other extremely important issues that needed to be hammered out.

Q: Wouldn't the sport of hockey be infinitely more entertaining if the penalty box was converted into a sensory deprivation chamber? 

Holy fuckballs, no, no it wouldn't!  It would be exactly like hockey is now, but with a stupider penalty enforcement mechanism!

I'm talking no light, no sound, no nothing. When players take a penalty they have to spend a whole two minutes in the dark and silence while they feel shame. Not only that, this would mean that when the penalty is over, players get to fall out of the chamber and onto the ice with the same look of disorientation of a newborn baby. Granted, players would end up taking less penalties as the penalty box would now be as scary as the "Boo Box" in the movie "Hook" albeit with less scorpions. What say you Sports Czar? Are less power plays worth the added entertainment value?
—Eric T., Montreal

Eric T. from Montreal, I'm going to say this as nicely as I can: you're an unfunny, unclever, worthless sack of shit.

SG: Let's at least try this in the KHL or OHL to see if this works. But I'm glad you brought it up. 

Of course he is.

Here's the crucial point about Junior: He's the only home run hitter from the 1990s and 2000s who makes everyone definitively say, "Well, at least we know HE wasn't cheating." 

If you think Jim Thome, Adam Dunn or Frank Thomas are/were juicing, you know nothing about baseball.  Oh, right, almost forgot, Bill knows nothing about baseball.

What's weird is that Frank Thomas was defiantly anti-PEDs even during his playing career, and never gave anyone any reason to think he might have been cheating … but somehow Griffey grabbed the "Well, at least we know HE wasn't cheating torch." Sorry, Big Hurt.

Please reconsider your use of "only" in the previous sentence.

Q: What would be the most devastating PED story ever? 

I don't know, but I'm sure Rick Reilly's coverage of it would be much worse than any grief anyone felt as a direct result of learning about the story itself.

Q: okay, so you are on my "list", you know, the "list" i have w/ my husband that if i were ever to meet you i could hook up w/ you and he wouldn't divorce me. 

It's funny how Bill thinks that simply not using capital letters is a good way to disguise an obviously fabricated email.

(Remember my "De Niro or Pacino?" argument from a 2002 mailbag?)

I certainly don't, and hopefully no one else does either.  Remembering that takes up valuable brain space that could be instead used for anyfuckingthing else.

Q: What does it say about your NBA team when they have been in an arena for 25 years, only this was voted as the biggest moment of the arena by a local radio show?
—Andy Diehl, Madison, WI

The link led to a story about a WWE event that took place where the Bucks play.

SG: It says, "If Seattle doesn't get the Kings, it's getting the Bucks." I'm only half-joking, by the way.

I include this only to serve as a teaser: I am at the end of my fucking rope with the self-pity that Supersonics fans have been publicly drowning themselves in for FIVE FUCKING YEARS NOW.  I'm going to write a long-ass post about it sometime in the next couple of months.  Their team relocated, something that has only happened like twenty other times in NBA history and dozens and dozens more in the other "big four" sports, and they've turned it into their own little 9/11.  Meanwhile, they still have an NFL team and an MLB team to cheer for.  I know Hartford and Quebec City are not as populous as Seattle, but both of those cities lost their only profesional sports team in the last twenty years.  You don't hear the constant wailing of a thousand tortured souls coming out of those places, do you?  That's probably because the fans of those teams got over it and learned that life goes on, something which Seattle sports fans seem completely incapable of.

I can't tell which I would enjoy more: for the Kings to end up staying in Sacramento thanks to a last second deal that was brokered by Clay Bennett, or for Seattle to get the Kings, and then to get to listen to Seattle fans explain why the time their city "stole" (using that term loosely, you know what I mean) a team from another city because of that team's shitty owners is SO DIFFERENT than the time another city stole a team from their city because of their former team's shitty owners.  Fuck you, Sonics fans.  I'm sure some of them are cool and rational, but there are a whole shitload of very uncool and very irrational ones out there polluting the internet with their bitching.  I'm sick of it.

Q: Wasn't losing Wilson the best thing that could have happened to Tom Hanks in Cast Away? 

OK, I'm done.

Friday, April 5, 2013

And this is why I should never credit Simmons for his NBA analysis, part 1

I used the word analysis, not knowledge--he unquestionably has a lot of NBA knowledge.  (Contrast this with the amount of MLB or NFL knowledge he has, which is for all intents and purposes FUCKING NONE.)  So this post isn't going to resemble the ones I just wrote about that tire fire of a Hall of Fame article.  That was mostly "Holy shit, you know absofuckinglutely nothing about any of this."  This will be mostly "It's nice that you know all of this, but you have absofuckinglutely no idea how to present that knowledge."  Also, he's a shitty writer, but we all knew that already.

When I wrote my basketball book four years ago, 

The version published on Grantland contained a link, just in case THIS was the sentence that finally pushed you over the top and made you decide to buy a somewhat outdated book that he references in every damn column.

I included a section about the NBA's 10 most unbreakable records. 

Bill should write for Bleacher Report.

Ranking first: Wilt Chamberlain averaging 50 points per game for an entire season, something we're never seeing again unless (a) some lunatic parent pumps enough HGH into his young son to create an 8-foot-2 basketball player, (b) they make 3-pointers worth six points, 

Joke about North Korea's basketball rules goes here.

or (c) LeBron and Serena Williams decide to start having kids. The rest of my NBA Unbreakables, in order …

2. Wilt's 55-rebound game.
3. Russell's 11 rings.

If the Cavaliers had had the good fortune (and the brains, something their management does not seem to have in abundance) to pair LeBron with another star within the first few seasons of his arrival in 2003-2004, like the kind of good fortune the Celtics stumbled into when they were able to add KG and Allen in the same offseason, he could have four or five rings already.  Look at the rosters he took to the finals in 2006-2007 and to the ECF in 2008-2009.  It's LeBron and no one, unless you think Mo Williams or Zydrunas Ilgauskas are someones, which they are not.  The Cavs were also awesome in 2009-2010, and very good in 2005-2006 and 2007-2008.  Give him two or three rings during that stretch if he has a stronger supporting cast, plus the Heat probably should have beaten the Mavs in 2011.  I'm no LeBron superfan or anything, but just saying, it's not THAT inconceivable that someone could get to 11, even if it is a HALLOWED FACKIN' RECAHD THAT CAN NAWT BE BROKEN.  If Kobe and Shaq could have stayed friends, I bet they'd each have at least two or three more, putting each (especially Kobe) within shouting distance.

4. The '72 Lakers winning 33 straight.
5. George McGinnis's 422 turnovers in one season.

But that's not going to stop Russell Westbrook from trying!

6. Wilt's 100-point game.

Promise you LeBron could do this if he absolutely had to, to save his family from a hostage situation or something.

7. Chicago's 72-win season.
8. Scott Skiles's 30-assist game.
9. Rasheed Wallace earning 41 technicals in one season.

Jermaine O'Neal has 13 this season, while playing just 18 minutes per game.  That's astonishing.  When Sheed got his 41 in 2000-2001, he was averaging 38 mpg.  Rate-wise, O'Neal is within shouting distance.  Good to see he's still got some gas left in the tank.

10. Jose Calderon missing just three free throws in 2009 (for a record 98.1 percentage).

I believed those first five records were unbreakable, while the next five were conceivably breakable (even if it wasn't likely). So yeah, I thought that 33-gamer was lasting for the rest of my life. In nearly seven decades of NBA action, no team had come within two-thirds of approaching it. 

Except that the 2007-2008 Rockets won 22 in a row, which is exactly two thirds of 33.

"That Lakers streak was like Bob Beamon's long jump in Mexico City," I wrote four years ago, "only if he jumped 39 feet instead of 29 feet." Even by falling six victories short of the magical 33, the 2013 Heat made history not just by challenging such hallowed ground, but by making us believe, Wait a second … they might actually DO this.

HOW WILL WE LOOK BACK ON THIS MOMENT?  The question Bill never fails to ask, and which no one who is an interesting sports fan really gives much of a shit about as something awesome is happening.  WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  WHAT WILL IT MEAN?  Bill has the thought patterns of Derek Zoolander.

That's the ultimate legacy of their 27-game winning streak, 

You heard it here first: the legacy of the 27 game streak is that the Heat won 27 straight, and could have won more in a row than that (except that they lost that 28th game).  How insightful.

as well as Miami cementing itself as one of the most frightening teams in modern NBA history. Just for the hell of it, let's break down all the streak-related winners and losers.

A good premise for a column I'd like to read is when you admit that you're a shitty writer who recycles his own ideas at a worse rate than Rick Reilly.

WINNER: Wednesday night

Yes, I agree.  One of the winners was the night on which one of the games that could have been part of the streak was played.  Jesus, this guy is a moron.

Just so you know: I doubled up on my anti-hyperbole medication these past two days. I talked to a few hoops junkies whom I trust completely. 

Good to know that despite what I admit to be a lot of NBA knowledge, you have very little confidence in your analytical abilities.  That's exactly how things should be.

I considered the consequences of falling into the whole "ESPN dude takes an in-the-moment sporting event and blows it out of proportion" trap that tends to happen in this 365/24/7 era of covering sports. 

Ooh, an underhanded shot at his employer.  HOW SCANDALOUS.  

I even gave myself an extra day to chew on the following point (and this column as a whole). And here's where I ultimately arrived: Wednesday night's game was the greatest NBA regular-season game ever played.

Repeat: Wednesday night's game was the greatest NBA regular-season game ever played.

No.  Did he even watch it?  No.  It was a very good game.  Relative to all games that could possibly be in the running for greatest regular season game ever, it had a very boring ending.  It was probably one of the ten best games of the 2012-2013 season.  To say more would be really hyperbolic.  But he's assured us that he took his pills or whatever, so... great.

You had the underdog Bulls playing without their two best players against the most famous NBA team since Jordan's Bulls.

Great start.  What made this game so memorable?  Well, the Heat were a part of it, as they have been/will be a part of 81 other games this regular season.

You had the best player in 20 years at the peak of his powers. 

He also played/will play in Miami's other 81 games.

You had a national TV audience

If you include games televised by NBATV, there are like ten nationally televised games every week.

and unparalleled stakes: 

No.  The stakes are much higher when you've got a late season game between two teams fighting for one playoff spot, like, for example, the game between the Lakers and Rockets on 4/17 might end up being.  The stakes don't get much higher than that.  Even if the winner is unlikely to do any damage when they reach the playoffs, getting there is a huge deal to fans and team management.  Coaches get fired/extended and players get cut/re-signed over the difference between making and missing the playoffs.  I would say that if the Heat streak was at 32 when they arrived in Chicago, rather than 27, that would boost Bill's case.

Miami approaching an unapproachable record, the smell of history looming over everything,


real greatness in the air. 


You had an intensely proud Bulls team hoping to turn that game into a street fight (1980s basketball, reincarnated), as well as a genius defensive coach who understood exactly how to beat Miami (or at the very least, make them sweat out no. 28). 

Without Rose, the Bulls are excruciating to watch this year.  Thibodeau is a great coach and all, but he's unlikely to coach any game that makes me say "So glad I saw that!"

And you had Chicago's spectacular crowd, one of the few old-school NBA fan bases left 

The fan bases of every successful team from a large market are pretty much the same.  Chicago's fans were loud and awesome all game, but pretending that they treated the game any differently than Lakers/Knicks/Mavericks/Celtics fans would is dumb.  I've been to Bulls games at United Center.  The crowd is generally very good.  Just like they are anywhere that has a lot of basketball fans and a good team.  If anything, the best crowds are the ones from smaller markets, where 1) you get fewer bandwagon/transplant fans of the visiting teams, and 2) they have a chip on their shoulder because they hate the attention teams like the Heat get.  The smaller market teams' attendance suffers more when they suck, naturally, but when they're good, those crowds are fucking nuts.  You'd better believe Utah or Portland or Milwaukee's fans would have put on a hell of a show if the schedule makers had sent the Heat there last week.

that (a) understood the stakes, 

Pacers and Grizzlies fans just wouldn't have understood the stakes!  They wouldn't have!  Bill's false stratification of things that are relatively uniform is fucking maddening.  I need to point it out more often.

(b) would never sell their tickets on StubHub to Miami fans,

I'm sure that hundreds, and perhaps even a couple thousand of them did this.  It was less noticeable on TV because both teams' apparel are same colors.

and (c) knew from experience exactly how to affect such a game.

Oh my God.  Kill yourself.  Yeah, I'm real sure that a huge chunk of the people at United Center that night were there for many games during the Jordan era, fifteen to twenty-five years ago. Make a list of every single person who attended a Bulls game during the 1997-98 season, Jordan's last.  I bet those people made up less than 10% of the crowd during the Heat game.  Furthermore, say the number was actually 90%--what special fucking knowledge would they have?  Would they say to themselves and everyone else in their section "Hey gang!  Let's cheer when the Bulls do good stuff and boo when the Heat do good stuff!"  Bill Simmons is a fucking idiot of the highest order.

More later.