Monday, May 27, 2013

Bill's trade value column game me herpes, part 4 (of 4)

Only took me two weeks to finish running through this dreck.  Since then, Bill has written another article (Two in one month!  That's pretty good by his standards!) in which he tells you how Dwight Howard is terrible at basketball.  I might get to that later this week, except I don't particularly enjoy defending Howard in order to mock Bill, because Howard is a zilch, so I will probably post about something else.  Your suggestions are welcome in the comments, or via email.  Actually how about just in the comments.

5. James Harden
4. Russell Westbrook

His love for Harden was vindicated this season, because Harden was awesome.  Harden's strong play this year does not excuse the complete ignorance of pretty much everything displayed by Bill here, however.

You already know how I feel about Westbrook, and Harden's breakout season in Houston was mildly jaw-dropping. The Beard (only 23, by the way) averaged a 26-6-5, with 44-37-85 shooting splits, for a team that didn't have a second All-Star. He's also wholly unique: 

He's mostly somewhat unique!  Of course Bill is that guy who treats unique like it's a spectrum rather than something binary.  And of course I'm the jackass who points that all too common mistake out and complains about it.

a southpaw who's either jacking up 3s (6.2 per game) or getting to the line (10.2 per game, first in the NBA). 

It is pretty nuts that Harden (792 FTA) attempted at least 300 more free throws than every single other player in the NBA this year except for Durant, Howard, Kobe, Westbrook, LeBron and Carmelo (in 7th with 512 FTA).  That's a huge gap, and his three point shooting was impressive too.  At the same time, who gives a fuck about handedness in basketball?

Throwing in the low number of true franchise players in 2013, 

This is, perhaps, a reasonable assessment to make.  Then you read the attached footnote in which he explains his definition and see:   

In my opinion, a franchise player is someone who, at the very least, can drag a mediocre supporting cast to the playoffs. Harden did that, so he's a franchise player.

This is "NFL pregame show talking head" level analysis.  HERP DERP WELL BOOMER TO ME A FRANCHISE GUY IS A GUY WHO LEADS YOUR FRANCHISE SO TOM BRADY, THIS GUY RIGHT HERE IS A FRANCHISE GUY TO ME.  Often times there is at least one guy who misses the playoffs and who would be agreed upon by everyone with a brain to be a franchise player.  This year it was Dirk. In 2011 it was Nash (who was 36, sure, but was still good for 15 and 12 every night; I think that counts).  It happened to Kobe during his age 26 season for crying out loud. 

the lack of crunch-time scorers and the overall dearth of 2-guards — really, it's Harden, then Wade, then Klay Thompson, then Kobe if he ever comes back, then we're suddenly looking at the likes of DeMar DeRozan and J.R. Smith — it's hard to believe Harden was ever on the market.

It's not.  Go read my post from last October.  If you're not Bill, you'll be able to separate "Will the team be better with this player on the roster" from "Does it make business sense to keep him around" and you will understand how it happened.

And look, I've hammered Oklahoma City enough for one of my least favorite NBA trades ever — you can read my thoughts here and here and here. But I don't think the following point can be emphasized strongly enough.

Gratuitous and nonsensical reference to New England-based franchise coming in 5... 4... 3...

You can't just assume in basketball that the window will always stay open for you.

And why can't we assume that?  2... 1...

In football, you can build around a franchise quarterback, draft smartly, protect your cap, repeatedly trade down for more assets and do everything else that Bill Belichick did since 2001. 


That mind-set doesn't work in basketball. You can find/afford three blue-chippers only if you're lucky. You can't "trade down" and assume you'll replace a blue-chipper with multiple pieces; it never really worked. You also can't assume that you're getting 10 more cracks at the Finals, or that your best players will stay healthy year after year after year. The '86 Rockets thought they had a perennial contender. So did the '88 Mavericks, the '91 Blazers, the '92 Cavaliers, the '93 Suns, the '94 Warriors, the '97 Bullets, the '03 Kings, the '05 Suns … but the truth is, you never know.

Bill's analysis: sometimes, teams think they are set for the future when in fact they are not set for the future.  Again, the nuance argument against this is in my post from October, but needless to say Bill is not being even 10% as smart as he thinks he's being.

The Thunder easily could have kept together three of the top six guys on this list for one more year, then decided on their future this summer. 

And Harden would have been pissed all season if they shopped him beforehand, or even if they didn't, he probably would have walked at the end of the season.  I agree with him that they didn't get enough in return for him, and that they most certainly wish that they could have a do over on Serge Ibaka's extension and instead find a way to keep Harden, but that ship had sailed by October 2012.  Anyways, "Harden to the Rockets" has become Bill's new "I saw Greg Oden walk awkwardly at an awards show, and from that moment on I knew he was doomed," so now I have to root against the Rockets for the next several years.  Such is life as a hater like me.

3. Stephen Curry
I already shot my wad on Curry

A Tobias Funke moment for Bill.  He must be an AD fan.

in last Friday's column (the extended March Madness analogy), so let's defend what seems like an overreaction of a ranking. 

It probably is, because at all times, Bill has the objective analysis skills of a drunk guy watching his favorite team play its most bitter rival in the most important game of the year. He likes Curry; therefore, the Warriors would turn down a Curry for Westbrook deal if the Thunder offered it.

I love Curry, you love Curry, everyone loves Curry … but third? Really? Third out of anyone???? When he was no. 16 just five weeks ago? The top seven reasons why Curry snared the no. 3 spot, in no particular order:

Reason No. 1: Along with Kevin Durant, he's 2013's co-winner of the Derrick Rose Award for "Guy Whose City Would Riot If He Were Traded." Right now, the Golden Gate Bridge has a better chance of being traded than Steph Curry.

He must have emailed Berman for that "local geography" reference.  That's comedy gold.  THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING HAS A BETTER CHANCE OF BEING TRADED THAN DEREK JETER.  THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL HAS A BETTER CHANCE OF BEING TRADED THAN ROBERT GRIFFIN III.  My god, someone punch me in the face.

Reason No. 2: Here's what it looks like when a 25-year-old guy is making The Leap.

Post All-Star (30 games): 26.0 PPG, 7.4 APG, 48% FG, 89% FT, 46% 3FG, 8.9 3FGA.
2013 Playoffs (8 games): 26.5 PPG, 8.9 APG, 46% FG, 91% FT, 43% 3FG, 9.0 3FGA

And it goes beyond stats — the Warriors are winning with a team that is built around Curry's offense and personality. 

It is not built around his personality, or anyone else's.  We're back to the NFL pregame show analysis.  DURRR SEE THIS IS JUST GOOD HARD PITTSBURGH STEELER FOOTBALL, COACH.  THEY TACKLE THE OTHER TEAM'S RUNNING BACK WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY.

You're always looking for teams with identities in May, and here's Golden State's identity: Opponents can't leave Curry or Thompson open for a 3-pointer for 48 solid minutes. 

That is not an identity.  That's just a good offensive gameplan.  The Spurs' identity is not "running most possessions through Duncan in the post and doing a great job on the boards."  That is just their gameplan.  Please stop trying to construct personality-driven narratives for non-living things.

They aren't just stretching the floor, they're bending it into something else. 

That's incredibly shitty writing.

Reason No. 4: Mark Jackson is technically right — Golden State has the best shooting backcourt ever, although it's really the best long-range shooting backcourt ever. Check out the only 13 players (their best seasons only) who made at least 2.5 3s a game while (a) shooting at least 40 percent or higher, and (b) averaging at least 16.5 points per game (sorry, Damon Jones, Raja Bell and Kyle Korver).

This list I'm about to show you proves my point perfectly!  I just had to mess with the parameters to exclude players who are awesome shooters but who would not serve as good examples for my pre-selected point.

Reason No. 5: "Turn on the game, Steph Curry is heating up" is the single most exciting sports-related text you can send or receive right now. 


Reason No. 6: You can't come up with a better NBA match of "performer and crowd" than Curry and Oakland right now. They were meant for each other. It was destiny.

You're fucking stupid.  Every crowd in the league would react to Curry the way Golden State's does if he were leading their team into the second round of the playoffs.  Fuck, Bobcats fans would be going nuts.  Nice to see him acknowledge the idea that fans other than those from Boston can be special and unique though.  It makes him more wrong than usual but also less annoying than usual.

GROUP A: "Completely and Utterly Untouchable"

2. Kevin Durant
Producer A: "So how are we gonna spruce up this Kevin Durant movie? It's so boring right now. I mean, I get it — he's a role model, he's incredibly efficient, there's nobody like him, yada yada yada. I'm bored just talking about it. What's the hook?"

Producer B: "I have a few ideas."

Producer A: "Let's hear 'em."

Producer B: "We keep everything up through when they lose in the 2012 Finals. Right before the next season, his team trades James Harden because they're afraid to pay him."

Producer A: "What do they get for him?"

Producer B: "I was thinking something pretty bad — like, Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and two future picks."

Producer A: "What????? That's ridiculous! That trade would never happen in real life!"

Producer B: "Just stay with me. So now it's just Durant and Westbrook — now they're playing pissed off because everyone thinks the Harden trade ruined their title chances. Durant's even getting technicals and stuff."

Producer A: "I like it. Yelling at the refs! That's good!"

Producer B: 

I cut this short by about 800 words.  Needless to say: douchechills.

1. LeBron James
Let's break into a mini-LeBronbag …


Q: Last year you memorably wrote

Like I said.

that the NBA MVP trophy should vary in size based on the level of performance by that year's MVP. 

Whoever thought of that idea should be punched in the throat.  Fortunately, it was not nearly as memorable as Steven from Los Angeles wants to believe that it was.

So wouldn't this season qualify LeBron for a 40-pounder? Especially considering what he has done for his fourth trophy compared to what he did for the first 3. After this season we are firmly in the LeBron James era.
—Steven Feister, Los Angeles

Among all the other awful things about that email, the most awful is probably the idea that Steven thought it was worth anyone's time to point out that yes, finally, in 2012-2013, we are DEFINITELY in the LeBron era.  GOOD NEWS GUYS, AS OF THIS YEAR I FEEL COMFORTABLE SAYING THAT WE'RE IN THE SIDNEY CROSBY ERA.

SG: I thought it was a 40-pounder. 

I DO still like my idea that you also like!  Thanks, Steven!

Q: I propose renaming the Coach of the Year award for Mike D'Antoni. Why can't we call it the "Not Mike D'Antoni" award? 

Why, that's nearly unclever enough to be an idea Bill came up with himself!

What better way to honor someone who somehow made a team with four future Hall of Famers unwatchable all year. Here's how it works: This year's Not Mike D'Antoni Award goes to Erik Spoelstra. He brilliantly built a unique offense around his best player and took his team to near historic levels. In other words, he's not Mike D'Antoni.
—Jason, Virginia

SG: (Standing and applauding.)

Of course you are.  And while I certainly have to respect his eleven rings, I've always loved the fact that Phil Jackson and the four first ballot HOFer-having 2003-2004 Lakers couldn't get past the no superstar-having Pistons in the Finals that year.  That series (Detroit in 5, including wins by 12, 13 and 20) is one of the best pieces of evidence as to why Larry Brown rules all shit.

Q: Neo coming back to life in The Matrix and becoming The One is exactly what happened to LeBron game six in Boston last year. I guess we're in Matrix Reloaded now where LeBron can win as many games as he wants in a row like Neo defeating a million Agent Smiths. I guess next year LeBron will be reunited with the Source or something.
—Marc Feffer, New York

SG: I've never seen The Matrix … but sure! Sounds good.


Q: LeBron now looks like the only Queen on an NBA chessboard 

Ah, another Tobias moment, this time from a reader.  Nice.  Also, as you're about to see, it's a horrid analogy.

(and I mean that as a true compliment). He now understands it all. Angles, spacing, etc. … He is blessed with such physical skills that he can impose his will, at will, regardless of the other nine paid professionals on the court. When he decides to take over a game it is unlike anything I have ever witnessed. He bends the entire game, all action on the court, towards him, at both ends. I have never seen anything like it.
—Matt Robinson, Edmonton, Alberta

If you watch LeBron play basketball and you're like "You know what he's like?  He's like the queen on a chessboard" then you are a fucking moron.

SG: It's the perfect analogy. Matt Robinson couldn't be more correct … LeBron is the queen on the chessboard. 

Of course.


Jack M said...

That queen analogy is the downward dog of analogies...because it's a painful stretch!

jacktotherack said...

I love Curry, you love Curry, everyone loves Curry … but third? Really? Third out of anyone???? When he was no. 16 just five weeks ago? The top seven reasons why Curry snared the no. 3 spot, in no particular order:

There's a lot of irritating shit from Bill in this piece, but this one takes the cake. The fact he just assume that anyone gives 2 fucks about Bill's arbitrary ranking of Curry on some completely arbitrary list is insulting. But then he has to go on and list not 3, not 4, but 7 fucking reasons for why he moved Curry 13 spots on his arbitrary list.

Fuck Bill Simmons.

Biggus Rickus said...

Gah, I hate it when people talk about great players "figuring it out" after they win a championship. Yes, when Lebron was dragging otherwise horrible Cleveland teams deep into the playoffs every year he had no concept of angles, spacing, etc.

jacktotherack said...

Im guessing by now some of you have seen Drew Magary's takedown of Bill's latest podcast. Bill says and writes a lot of stupid shit, but this takes the cake.

I didn’t realize the effect [the MLK shooting] had on that city…I think from people we talk to and stuff we’ve read, the shooting kind of set the tone with how the city thinks about stuff. We were at Game 3. Great crowd, they fall behind, and the whole crowd got tense. It was like, 'Oh no, something bad's gonna happen.' And I think it starts from that shooting.

I mean really, that is 5th Level of the Out-of-Touch Dipshit Hall of Fame Pyramid quality. It is quintessential Simmons. Sports=culture/culture=sports, casual racism, complete fucking idiocy, desperate attempt to build some asinine narrative...It's all there.