Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bill fixes the Lakers, tests my patience (part 2)

Remember, everyone.  It is a FACT: that things are really bleak for the FACT: Lakers.

Right now, these Lakers have three, and only three, inherent advantages. 

Haven't seen this trope in a while: the I KNOW THE EXACT NUMBER OF THINGS THAT FALL WITHIN THIS ILL-DEFINED AND ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE CATEGORY.  When Bill does this, it's like he's trying to emulate Bleacher Report, only he's not as clever as they are.  Wow, that's sad.

First, they have a terrific owner. Jimmy Buss has proven over the last year that … oh, wait a second, he's been an atrocity! 


I totally forgot! Last week, an L.A. reader named Jake B. even compared him to Tommy Boy, 

An idea so boring and unclever I can't believe Simmons didn't steal it and pass it off as his own!

followed by me being unable to figure out if that was a bigger insult to Jimmy Buss or to Tommy Boy. (The answer: Tommy Boy. At least he eventually turned Callahan Auto Parts around.) 

In that movie!

If anyone needs my hypothetical help, it's Tommy Boy Buss.

Sick burn.  Buss, you are like a beloved character from a sort of popular movie that came out 20 years ago.

OK, so they have two 


inherent advantages. First, the Lakers have only one contract on their books for the 2014-15 season: Steve Nash for $9.7 million. They might be $50 million under the cap next summer — perfect timing for an all-you-can-eat buffet of free-agent stars headlined by LeBron, 

This sentence should stop here, because it's perfectly obvious to everyone why (a) the Lakers would want LeBron, (b) why LeBron could conceivably want to play for the Lakers, and (c) LeBron + free agency = unpredictability.  But no, it won't, because Bill is a basketball NERD.  As in, guy who knows everything about the NBA, not that it's a big deal or anything.

who's only (a) the best player since Michael Jordan, (b) someone who wants to be a "global icon," and (c) someone with an established track record of treating free agency like he's organizing a bank heist with his buddies.

Insight: shared.  Readers: nodding silently.

Second, the Lakers have a six-decade history of luring available basketball stars (ranging from all-timers like Wilt, Kareem and Shaq to in-demand-at-the-time free agents like Sam Perkins, Steve Nash and Mitch Kupchak) and keeping their stars nearly 100 percent of the time, with two notable exceptions: a celibate A.C. Green and a decidedly uncelibate Dwight Howard. Famous basketball players gravitate to the Lakers because of their storied history, and because Los Angeles remains the easiest American city for any wealthy celebrity to live in.

Wealthy celebrities, like successful TV writer Bill Simmons!  Here's a paragraph full of worthless bullshit to back up his questionable position on this very uninteresting topic.

See, people rarely bother celebrities in Los Angeles. 

I doubt it.

They can eat dinner or hit a nightclub without half the room staring at them like they're aliens. 

I doubt it. 

They can live on the ocean, or they can live in some souped-up mansion in Bel Air or the Hollywood Hills. 

The equivalent of this can be done in many cities, including Miami.

The weather is consistently fantastic. 

Same for Miami.

The women are relentlessly beautiful. 

Same for Miami.

Celebrities in L.A. can be around other celebrities all the time, and if there's one thing celebrities love, it's being around other celebrities. 

Same for Miami.

If they want to dabble in music or movies or any other ego-fueled creative project, or meet just about any heavy hitter business dude on the planet, they have those options here. 

Perhaps these opportunities are more limited in Miami, but I'm sure they still exist.  Also, take away the beach living and add a crappy winter, and New York is in play too.  New York might be better than LA in a lot of these categories.

If they want to fly to Vegas, it's 50 minutes away. 

There are casinos fucking everywhere these days.  I know that Atlantic City or awful bumfuck central Florida aren't as EPIC as VEGAS BABY is for EPIC BACHELOR PARTIES WITH YOUR BROS, but still.

If they want to fly to Cabo, that's just over two hours away. 

What?  Who picks a place to live because it's close to Cabo?

It's the ultimate American city for famous people.

You're a vapid piece of cat shit.

As recently as three years ago, had you told any fan of the other 29 teams, "In 2014, the Lakers will have $50 million in cap space during a loaded summer for free agents," their reaction would have been, "We're all screwed." 

Because the idea of the Lakers having no players under contract is terrifying to other teams, somehow?  And boy, remember how he was just lecturing us as to what we learned about from the way the 2010 free agent market played out?  I don't know what the rest of you learned, but given that LeBron spurned the Knicks and Bulls, both of whom were the focus of most of the attention leading up to The Decision, all I learned is that no team should ever count on signing any given free agent.

But when they're being run by someone who can successfully be compared to Tommy Boy? That's a different story.

No way LeBron theoretically signs there now!

Making matters worse, the Lakers lost their L.A. basketball monopoly. Lately, the lowly Clippers — a team 

that Bill Simmons pretended to follow, then renounced because they didn't win enough for him, then decided to follow again because they landed Chris Paul and started winning again,

that threw away the last three decades despite having the same inherent advantages as the Lakers — finally kinda sorta maybe figured out what they were doing. They've been spending money in the most anti–Donald Sterling ways possible, building around the league's most expensive coach (Doc Rivers), 

Doc: Bill's a fucking idiot who knows nothing about anything.

You know, I hate the Celtics and don't care for the Clippers, but this Doc character, he seems cool to me.

a $107 million point guard (Chris Paul), a $95 million, high-flying power forward (Blake Griffin) 

The Donald Sterling way to spend money on players is to just not do it.  I don't think there's anything "bizzarro Sterling" about paying a PG and (overpaying) a PF.

and a slew of quality role players. It's almost like the Lakers and Clippers switched bodies. And actually, we can't rule this out.

Haha, we sure can!  

So if we ever needed a "Save the Lakers" plan, it's right now. Here's how Wolf Pope Simmons would hypothetically save the Lakers in 10 hypothetical steps.


1. Don't be afraid to suck all kinds of suck for one season.

Tips for writing for Jimmy Kimmel's show, by Bill Simmons.

Hey, Jimmy? 

Baby!  Boobie!  Let's get together and make a picture!

You already have everyone's 2013-14 season ticket money! They're helpless. They're stuck at your Thanksgiving table of basketball hell 

Worst metaphor ever.

for six solid months — just keep force-feeding oily turkey 

Oh man, totally makes sense!

and runny cranberry sauce down their throats. 

Don't write while hungry is the lesson, I guess.

Why? Because you don't want to be the West Coast Bucks, and because one of the greatest NBA drafts in 30 years is coming.

Take it from a guy who interviewed like 10 draft prospects in advance of this year's draft, and failed to interview the guy who went 1st overall!

Two facts about the 2014 draft. First, if you were ranking the Can't-Miss NBA Prospects of the 21st Century, Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins would rank behind LeBron, but would probably land right on that second tier with Durant, Oden and Carmelo. 

I'm picking nits, but let's not put Wiggins on their level just yet, not until he has a successful freshman year like they all did (minus the fact that Oden walked like an old man, obviously).

He's T-Mac 2.0 by all accounts. Seriously, check him out. There's a reason the Tankapalooza committee (I'm the chairman) is thinking about changing the name of Tankapalooza 2014 to Riggin' for Wiggins.

So clever!  Also a great idea, what with the worst team in the NBA getting a 25% shot at winning the lottery.

Second, it's the rare NBA draft that's deep AND top-heavy. On Tuesday's B.S. Report, ESPN draft guru and former The O.C. star Chad Ford pointed out that, in 2013, he broke the draft down by tiers — with Tier 1 being "potential franchise players," Tier 2 being "potential All-Stars," Tier 3 being "potential starters," and so on — and there wasn't a single 2013 draft prospect in Tier 1 or Tier 2. In 2014? Right now, we have eight guys in those top two tiers, and that's without factoring in the possibility of one or two more breakout stars. There's also a chance that Kentucky power forward Julius Randle might turn "Wiggins vs. Randle" into a "Durant vs. Oden"–type debate, and that Duke's Jabari Parker might be looming as a Carmelo-like sleeper.

Carmelo was not a sleeper.  He won a national championship after being a McDonald's All-American.  He would have been #1 in, like, any other draft in the 2000s.  But yeah, I don't have too much snark here.  That draft actually does sound pretty awesome.

If there was ever a season for hopeless or semi-hopeless NBA teams to throw away like a half-eaten banana, it's this one. Going 42-40 makes no sense. Why not take your lumps, Jimmy? Your fan base is more sophisticated than anyone realizes. 

SECRETLY UNDERRATEDLY OVERSOPHISTICATED.  Only a basketball NERD would realize this.

They've had four generations of success. They're even savvy enough to realize that it wasn't the worst thing in the world that a wishy-washy, oversensitive, possibly breaking-down-and-maybe-even-past-his-prime Dwight fled for Texas. They get it. 

From earlier in this same article, covered in my last post:

And they need to sell the illusion of hope to their fans,

What an asshole.

They'd be fine with throwing away ONE season. Just not two.


2. Clear every dollar off your 2014-15 cap. Get to zero, or close.


The goal: replicating what Pat Riley achieved four seasons ago, when he talked Dwyane Wade into playing with expiring contracts just so Miami could become a free-agent player in the summer of 2010 (with South Beach as the carrot).

When I did that "Hey anonymous commenter, shut your fucking mouth" research about the Heat's level of success a few weeks ago, I was surprised to see how good they were in 2009-2010.  I remember it being a story that they were playing with a bunch of expiring contract guys to clear cap space for the summer of LeBron, but wow.  They still won 47 games, even with Michael Beasley and Quentin Richardson combining for 58 minutes per game.  That Spoelstra is kind of good.  (I think I might have said otherwise in the past.  I take it back.)

Whether that was a calculated risk or a nefarious plan hatched during the summer of 2008 — you know, when LeBron, Wade and Bosh played on Team USA and befriended team ball boy Nick Arison (son of Miami owner Micky Arison), 

Yes, if we are to assume that such a plan really did exist, then CLEARLY it was the ball boy who caused it, and not, you know, those dudes getting together and saying "Hey we should play together and win championships while paying no state income tax, that would be fun."

then won Olympic gold in China, followed by two years of whispers that those three players had made a pact to play together, and then it actually happened while David Stern and Adam Silver twiddled their thumbs and repeatedly yelled "Nothing to see here!" at each other — we'll never know the real truth. 


But look how that gamble played out. Three Finals trips, two titles … and we're still going.

On paper, the 2013-14 Lakers could take the 2009-10 Heat's game plan to another level by jettisoning every contract while also landing a top-five lottery pick. But they have to worsen this year's roster. Which means ...

You're going to have to wait to find out.  Oops, hold on, that means a couple of you who are curious might actually go to Grantland to read the column.  We don't want that.  Let me spoil it for you: he says they should trade Nash to Toronto WHO SAYS NO????

More later. 


JC said...

Jabari Parker is no way a "Carmelo-like sleeper." Parker was the #1 player in the nation for his senior year, his decision for college was all the hype (is that a phrase)?, and he's going to be the main guy at Duke next year. Calling him a sleeper is just one of the many reasons why Bill has no knowledge about basketball not about the NATIONAL BASKETBALL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION.

Chris W said...

Jimmy! Bubbie! I'm your white knight!

Anonymous said...

I must have missed 60 minutes

Snarf said...

Looking forward to Bill's suggestion of how the Lakers should force Toronto into a trade for Steve Nash.

Anonymous said...

I hate to stick up for Simmons, but, I think he was trying to say Parker will be a sleeper who ends up being like Carmelo, not that Carmelo himself was a sleeper.

But yeah, Simmons still sucks. I like how his entire column could be reduced to "My advice to the Lakers is: Try to sign LeBron!"

Larry B said...

Fair enough. In that case, sub in JC's analysis for my own.

Anonymous said...

I love how he says Carmelo was on the 2nd tier of top draft prospects over the last decade and one of the 4 best overall and 2 'graphs later completely contradicts himself and says he was a sleeper.

For fucks sake he was this close to being chosen #2 overall before Joe Dumars noticed the sweet shooting stroke and luscious blonde hair of Darko.

CHart said...

Can't believe you missed the "food metaphors" tag.

dan-bob said...

It would really be more of a "liberal use of food metaphors" tag, I think.

Larry B said...

Added both. Let's live life on the wild side, shall we?