Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 5 of 5)

As the whole world of sports loses its damn mind over PEDS IN BASEBALL ZOMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN, blissfully ignoring the fact that at least half the NFL is on horse steroids, I lurch towards the end of this pathetic Simmons article so as to free up the rest of the week to laugh at idiotic articles about how Fish Fillet-Rod should be thrown in jail for life.  Simmons wrote a new godfrigginawful article as well, so I'll get around to that eventually too.  Eventually.  We're right in the long, slow lazy days of summer here at FireJay, when I post just as infrequently as I do during any other time of the year.

9. Delay Kobe's return for as long as possible.

I'm not gonna lie — this is the shakiest part of my rehab plan. 

Such self-awareness!  This is like someone telling you their plan to rob Fort Knox, and then admitting that the part where their escape depends on the use of a magic teleporter that hasn't yet been invented is pretty shaky.

Too many people have said publicly that (a) Kobe can't return in less than 10 months from that torn Achilles, and (b) even if he DOES come back, he'll never be the same. He's one of the 10 most competitive people alive. He's not going down like this. He's just not.

I like how over the years Bill has been forced to admit that Kobe is actually good at basketball.  He even begrudgingly says things like "He's very competitive" and "I suppose he's a top 50 all time player" and "If I played him one on one, he'd beat me like 11-4."

I'd believe anything about Kobe's summer rehab process. He's sleeping in a hyperbaric healing chamber underneath a pile of broken deer antlers? 


Absolutely. He's on a beach right now running wind sprints against Carl Weathers? Sure. He figured out a way to steal hemoglobin from his daughters, then have that hemoglobin injected right into his healing Achilles, but this procedure is only legal in Austria so he's been flying there twice a week? You can't rule it out.

Seems like a good time to remind MLB sample collectors across the country that my promise to donate $1,000 to the Red Cross if Jeter fails a steroid test by October is still on the table.

Kobe cares about two things right now: Ring No. 6, and Kareem's record. In that order. 

More very reluctant praise: "I SUPPOSE it's possible that he puts his team's accomplishments ahead of his selfish desire to hold an important individual record.  MAYBE."

We could talk him into playing for a historically lousy Lakers team for one season if Ring No. 6 (and maybe LeBron) was the carrot dangling on the other end. But giving up a chance at Kareem's record? That's a tougher ask. 

What the fuck?  "A sixth ring is the most important goal to him, ahead of breaking the scoring record.  He just might be persuaded to not rush back if staying out helped ensure that he gets that ring.  However, asking him to sit out and miss all those games is going to be very hard, because it's going to be really tough to convince him that a shot at the sixth ring is more important than the scoring title."

Our all-time scoring leaders right now …

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 38,387 points
Karl Malone: 36,928 points
Michael Jordan: 32,292 points
Kobe Bryant: 31,617 points

Fun trivia: who is number 5 on that list?  Trick question, there is no fifth all time leading scorer in NBA history, that spot in the record books is forever reserved for Len Bias.  NEVER FORGET

So he's 6,770 points away. To put that in perspective, he scored 2,133 points in 78 games last season before his Achilles ripped. This is doable … you know, assuming he recovers from that devastating leg injury. I bet we see him sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Noted.

Please stop having conversations with yourself, negotiating trades against yourself and writing fake mailbag letters to yourself.

10. When Kobe comes back, allow him to hog the ball to alarming degrees.


Wait until he's fully healed. And when he comes back (to what you're hoping will be a 0-12 team), here's what you tell him …

Kobe, remember your ball-hogging binge in 2006 when you averaged 27.2 field goal attempts and 10.2 free throws a game because we didn't have anything else? Now we REALLY don't have anything else. We just gutted our team. Other than watching Bieber lapse in and out of consciousness in Jack's seat, Sasha and Jordan high-fiving, and Big Shot Rob cramming himself into a Lakers jersey, your scoring binges will be the only thing that keeps this godforsaken season even remotely interesting. Go for the scoring title. Play 70 games to qualify for the scoring title, then try to average 37 a game. Only Wilt and MJ have ever done it. More importantly, that's about 2,200 points in the bank. You'll pass MJ and move within 4,600 of Kareem. Shoot every time. We don't care.

You know what?  I don't have any snark for that.  If the Lakers actually did trade Gasol and Nash, Kobe would probably demand a trade of his own.  But if they refused to give it to him and he eventually backed down and agreed to play out the season, you could tell him that and that's probably exactly what he'd do.  It actually makes sense.  And hopefully he would fail miserably and embarrass himself on a regular basis throughout the season, because let's face it, as much as I like the idea of Kobe pissing off Bill, fuck Kobe Bryant, he's an asshole.

You know what the best part of that plan is? Kobe's quest to score 40 every night will inadvertently become one of the more entertaining subplots of the 2013-14 season. 

You obviously don't know what "inadvertently" means.  You also obviously don't have a brain, if you think "Kobe trying to score 40 every night" is something that would be an under-the-radar story.  ESPN would flip its shit, they'd buy broadcast rights to every single Lakers game from Time Warner or whoever has them now.

I'd flip over to every Lakers game just to see how many points he had. So would you.


And after the regular season ended and Kobe won another scoring title, Lakers fans could spend May and June rooting against Miami, sweating out the lottery and watching DraftExpress YouTube clips. Of course, they'd still be hoping that Jimmy Buss hired the right coach, made the right lottery pick, lured LeBron, kept Kobe and spent $60 million in cap space in the best possible way … while deep down fearing that this moment might be coming.

[Tommy Boy clip goes here, because it's hilarious to compare sports executives from 2013 with movie characters from 1995]

Removing all the hypotheticals, what will the Lakers ACTUALLY do? Nothing I just laid out — that's why I didn't mind laying it out.


See, you need a strong owner or a front-office voice to execute a long-term plan — like what Miami had with Pat Riley and Micky Arison four years ago. These Lakers don't have that voice. Kobe will convince them to compete next season because he's nearing the end of his career, and he wants to shove it in Dwight Howard's face, and he probably believes that he and Pau can still battle anyone on any given night. That's what makes him Kobe. And that's why I didn't mind trying to "save" the Lakers. I know they won't do the right thing.

Oh Jesus Lord in heaven, he's still talking about it like this is a real plan that could actually be used by a real life NBA team.

You know who they SHOULD be emulating, actually? 

I teased this more than a week ago, so no apology needed if you forgot, but what do you think he's going to say?





My beloved Celtics. 

Yeah, I didn't need to put in those line breaks.  You already knew what was coming.  And may they never win another game so long as they exist.  May their fans all catch hepatitis.

In the span of five weeks, Boston mortally wounded next year's team by dealing Garnett and Pierce (improving their Riggin' for Wiggins chances); 

Any time you have the chance to get 25% odds of drafting a guy who might be the next LeBron or might be the next Kwame Brown, you have to take it.

turned the roster over to Brad Stevens (the perfect guy for a rebuild); 

After losing one of the best coaches in the NBA, just turn your team over to a young NCAA coach, then plan the parade route.

stockpiled nine first-rounders over the next five years (along with the right to swap first-rounders with Brooklyn in 2017); 

Next year they have the Hawks' (maybe near the end of the lottery) and Nets' (somewhere in the 20s) picks.  In 2015 they have the Clippers' pick (somewhere in the 20s).  In 2016 and 2018 they again have the Nets' pick (the Nets might actually suck by then, so yeah, they could have a shot at a kid who is currently a sophomore in high school).  GET EXCITED, C'S FANS.

and set themselves up to flagrantly stink (with the inevitable Rondo trade being the final piece). 

Rondo is a piece of shit--whatever he could do that would give the Celtics the least return on him, I hope he does it.

That's a team that knows who it is, and where it is, and where it needs to be.


Can you say the same about the Lakers? My gut feeling is no … and that in April, we'll be watching Kobe and Pau fighting for a no. 8 seed. Just know that this sounds great to me.

What an asshole.  I'll start on his latest some time over the weekend.


Anonymous said...

How can you mock the greatness of Len Bias?

Simmons has whined about the rigidity of NBA Countdown and the editing of his uberstale going to Germany jokes from Sportscenter. I can only hope that he ego continues to metastasize and he winds up fired from the leader in sports television.

Larry B said...

That is a fun and reasonable thing to hope for, but I kind of think they deserve each other.

sulker said...

I just looked up Simmons on Celebrity Net Worth and they estimate he is worth 15 M and earns 3 M per. For some reason both are higher than I thought. I bet he doesn't even care that I truly hate him.

Anonymous said...

This article was published a few years ago and is a must read: http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=4011.

I don't mean to post it to disparage Bias, but after living in Boston for a few years, there are so many people who agree with Bill about Len and how he was such a sure thing.

Try showing this to a Boston fan without getting punched. Also try showing this to a Boston fan who understands and appreciates sabermetrics without their head exploding.

Larry B said...

Thank you for that link. Very interesting stuff. If there's an afterlife, I'm sure Bias, Jim Morrison and James Dean get drinks together every so often to celebrate the fact that they are still relevant (or at least known) in 2013 when they have no business being so.

Adam said...

So Simmons acts like the petulant entitled Boston fan that he is when Doc Rivers leaves "HE QUIT AWN USSSS" and complains about Brad Stevens hiring on Twitter, but now Stevens is the "perfect guy".... ok then.