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.


J F said...

I read the dan-bob link and was stunned by how much better the comments section was back in ought eight. I guess I suck. You suck too, Larry, for liking the Braves ever.

Larry B said...

I was young and stupid. I'm not proud of it. I'm especially not proud of it because it prevented me from fully enjoying the first two seasons in the history of the Rockies. It wasn't until 1995 that I wised up and said fuck this, the Rockies are my hometown team, I am a Rockies fan. Of course the Braves won the World Series that fall. Classic Larry.

Also, this whole blog used to be way better. Chris W and dan-bob were and always will be better writers than I am. Chris more or less writes for a living and dan-bob probably could if he wanted to. PNoles was always more passionate about this stuff than I was, and his posts reflected an attention to detail that I've never had. I'm pretty much just SIMMONS IS A FUCKASS at this point. I'm keeping the blog alive out of habit, I guess. It's fun for me. I think.

Anonymous said...

He leads off the trade column with exactly what you figure he would lead it off...he's even a fucking homer when it comes to terrorist attacks. "Ow-ah city comes togetha betta in a crisus than yo-ah city! The limeys tried it, the fakkin dahkies tried it, and now tha sand dahkies tried it! Nobawdy keeps Bawstun down! Ow-ah marathawns aw mo-ah sacred than yo-ah marathawns!"

Normally I would totally understand a columnist writing the above after an event like the Marathon bombings, but given that the guy would write the same thing after a bad Celtics loss, it rings totally fucking hollow.

skcussnommis said...

I agree with Anonymous. Also, Larry, you weren't wrong about how he never writes anymore. The "basebrawl" article is a recycled article from 2001 that they added YouTube clips to. Simmons is utterly terrible at writing (and probably at life, too).

Adam said...

ESPN's coverage of the Boston bombings has been insufferable.

What does Curt Schilling think?
What does Teddy Bruschi think?

Let's just ask every athlete who has ever played in Boston, even some guy from the New England Revolution.

Kiki V. said...

I'd like to see someone take on Simmons' trade value 2013 who has some NBA knowledge. I don't know a lot of the players he mentions but am confident that bloated pig of an article is chock full of shit and is designed mostly to let Bill act out his know it all persona.

Larry B said...

You've come to the right place! I'll start on Sunday or Monday.

ivn said...

The trade value column has at least one awful line, where he makes a snide comment about the Bulls being too dumb and cheap to pay Omer Asik. as if Bill wouldn't have ripped the Bulls for paying $24 million for a guy who would likely play about 15 minutes a night. not that Asik isn't good, but he wasn't going to get a ton of playing time. it was a clever move by the Rockets.

it's just like the Rudy Gay trade, where he spent years ripping the guy, then turns around and says that it was a big break for the Heat. really?

ivn said...

and you can't say enough about how awful the "they would figure out how to win" line. is that really any different about Skip Bayless shouting that so-and-so "HAS THE CLUTCH GENE!!!!"

Anonymous said...

Also did anyone else notice that one of the losers was the '08 Rockets? (year might be wrong) He talks about his improbable their run was considering Yao and TMac were out for most of the streak, which is true. He then claims that the Heat doing this takes away from the Rockets streak, which doesn't make any sense. If anything it strengthens their case! The Heat won 27 with arguably the greatest player of all time plus another hall of famer and another very good player. The rockets won 5 less with Luis Scola.