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!


Angelo said...

I had to look up to see that drexler is listed as shooting guard/small forward, but he is a small forward to me. Bill's a bit pretentious but I think 4th best shooting guard sounds reasonable. The bigger issue is that the successful streak and title make him top 25.

Pop is awesome, and so are the spurs.

Spo is a great coach, even if he has three of the twenty best players in the league. Jackson isn't discredited for having jordan+pippen or oneal+bryant.

Westbrook is awesome, even after you recognize his sometimes egregious shot selection. If you think he doomed the Thunder in the playoffs you're crazy. NBArank has him at #5, which is a bit too high, but he's ridiculous.

And since I'm shitting all over your post, the rockies are going to crash and burn and finish 30 games below 500. Four fingers.

Anonymous said...

"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." You have distilled much of Simmons' schtick in all caps. The manifestation of your hatred of Bill in the LeBron to the Lakers remark is inspired.

The only thing that Simmons seems to know about the NBA is contracts. For all I know he may be full of shit there too but who gives enough of a fuck about contracts to check his spewage.

Guido from Hoboken said...

Angelo, you suck.

Angelo said...

since when does anonymous/Anonymous support the content?

Guido, care to elaborate?

Larry B said...

Unfortunately I think a lot of commenters who were here when the Anonymous/anonymous thing was going on have left. Too bad, that was a good bit.

Pop and the Spurs can lick my balls.

I think it's a little early to say Spoelsta is a "great coach." We'll see where he is in ten years. For now, I will certainly call him competent, as I did in the post. And yes, in fact, some people (like me) DO think Jackson is massively overrated. However, his best skill appears to have been ego management, something that many many coaches fail spectacularly at, so I have to give him credit for that. Anyone could have won six titles with Jordan, but not anyone could have lasted twelve years (or whatever it was) as Jordan's coach without being driven completely insane or being run out of town by the players.

Westbrook is definitely awesome, but it is undeniable that there are moments every game (a disproportionate number of them, relative to his skill set) where he hurts the Thunder more than he helps them. I didn't mean in the post that I thought he doomed them in the playoffs last year (or 2011, for that matter). I just meant I hope he DOES doom them with a bunch of boneheaded plays this year. He's a little bitch, perhaps even moreso than Chris Paul.

You think the Rockies will finish 66-96? Care to put some Euros on that?

Larry B said...

Also: if you want to throw Drexler out of the conversation, I'm going to bring up Iverson, who was really more of a 2 than a 1, and is in the discussion with Wade. Absolutely did more with less (size); not saying that automatically makes him better, but it's part of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Screw that 5th ninja turtle Westbrook. Master Splinter would not be happy.

Anonymous said...

larry is just jelly of bill becuz bill has a hot wife and a beautiful kid and a legion of fans who love him because of ralph macho

Anonymous said...

i bet u probably like the lakers and colby brian. haha loser they didnt' even win the basketball games last year

Chris W said...

Anonymous is pretty clearly Larry B trying to drum up page hits.

Anonymous said...

Euros bet a knee slapper.

Anonymous said...

This post is so true. Did you know you can make a million dollars from your home in just a half hour? My girlfriend has the checks to prove it if you don't believe me

Also, Larry B sucks