Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm sorry I've said many times that Bill knows the NBA, I was completely wrong (part 3)

I blacked out for a minute there.  What happened?  Did I miss anything?  Better get back to it, because this is one of Bill's worst articles since Grantland started.

So could Carmelo morph into 2011 Dirk if you gave him the right situation? We don’t know because he’s never been in the right situation

Emphasis Bill's.  Holy shit, this man has the logical powers of a goldfish.  Having done an absolutely piss poor job of convincing anyone with a brain that the 2011 Mavericks had a way better supporting cast than the 2009 Nuggets, and conveniently ignoring Melo's many many playoff failures, he is doubling down.  Why wouldn't he?  He gets six emails a day from people in Wisconsin who want him to GM their team!

Why do you think his agents frantically tried to shoehorn him into Chicago’s cap these last few weeks? 

Because people in New York are starting to realize he's a ball stopping shoot first do nothing else later volume scorer, and you're not going to sniff a championship while he's your best player?

The money couldn’t work unless the Knicks agreed to a sign-and-trade with Carlos Boozer’s expiring deal (no thanks!) and some future picks (thanks anyway!). As a last gasp, they used the Lakers as negotiating leverage (you better sign-and-trade Melo to Chicago or you’ll lose him for nothing!), only Jackson smartly sniffed it out. That left Carmelo with three choices:


Choice No. 1: Grab $122 million over five years from New York, play with another inferior team, miss the Finals for his 12th straight season, 

Excellent framing there--Bill may be auditioning to be Melo's agent/spokesman.  Miss the Finals for the 12th straight season?  Oh, that's a given.  The real question is if he'll miss the second round for the tenth time in twelve seasons, or if he'll miss the playoffs in a pathetically terrible conference for the second straight season?

and pin the rest of his prime — which he’s never getting back, by the way — 

Wait, you're telling me there's no way to reverse the aging process?  How smugly witty of you.  

on Jackson’s promise that “We’ll Have Gobs of Cap Space in the Summer of 2015!!!”

Which they will.  And they probably won't be able to spend it on anyone better than Rajon Rondo or Al Jefferson.  But still.

Choice No. 2: Grab $97 million over four years from the Lakers, become the new face of the second-greatest NBA franchise ever, 


move to Southern California, dabble in the whole Hollywood thing (yes, his wife is an actress), 

"Actress."  Not the most robust resume.

pick his own head coach, convince Pau Gasol to re-sign there, 


hope Kobe spent the summer training with Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and A-Rod, 

Nice setup here.  If Kobe is bad in 2014-15, HAW HAW FACK YOU KOBE.  If he's good, AWBVIOUSLY STAHHHHROIDS!  BOOOOO!

hope they can flip Nash’s expiring contract into one more asset, make some noise next spring and hope the Kevins join him in 2015 and 2016. That’s a lot of hoping, by the way.

Just like the Knicks are doing a lot of hoping that they can build a championship team around Melo.

Choice No. 3: Sign a four-year deal in Chicago for less money (starting around $14-15 million), become the crunch-time guy for an absolutely loaded Bulls team, and answer every question anyone ever asked about him.

Except for the one about whether he can win a title on his own, which is still asked by dunces like Bill Simmons.  However, I do agree with what Bill is about to say--it would have been fun to have Melo go to Chicago, have Rose get hurt again, then watch the Bulls limp to the 8th seed as Melo scores 27 a game on 25 FG attempts.

I wanted him to sign with Chicago for less money — a wildly unrealistic outcome that was never going to happen. 

Even typing the sentence “For God’s sake, Carmelo, you’ve made over $135 million in salary already, not counting endorsements and whatever this next deal pays you, so it’s not like you’re a candidate for Broke II — 

Awesome reference!  If you're a fucking loser who thinks bad movies are good!

why wasn’t it worth giving up some dough to play for the right team???” looks dumb and naive. I don’t blame him for grabbing the money. He can always force a trade if he’s not happy, right?

Oh, indeed he can.  Indeed he can.  He can do it if his wife is unhappy too.

At the same time, I wanted to know once and for all. I wanted to know how good Carmelo Anthony is. Because, right now, I believe the following things:
1. He’s one of the best natural scorers I’ve ever seen.

And Bill has seen every natural scorer who's ever played for the Celtics!

2. He’s one of the NBA’s eight or nine best players and has been for some time.

LeBron Durant Davis Aldridge Dirk Westbrook Cousins Noah Griffin Curry.  Nope.

3. He could win you a title on his version of the 2011 Mavs.

Good try.

Again, those are just opinions. But what am I about to present to you? All facts.

You only have to wait until fact #1 to find something that's not a fact.

1. His best team ever was the 2009 Nuggets. (Covered above.)

Perhaps true, but I like that this college-educated man does not know what a fact is.  Anyways, I'll stop splitting hairs on this since most of the rest of these are also not actual facts.  What's important is that the 2009 Nuggets minus Melo are more or less equal to the 2011 Mavs without Dirk, and meanwhile, let's not forget that the 2010 Nuggets were essentially the same team as the 2009 Nuggets, and that 2010 version didn't get out of the first round.

2. His best teammates ever: Chauncey Billups (post-Detroit version), Allen Iverson (post-Philly version), Andre Miller, Marcus Camby, Amar’e Stoudemire (post-Phoenix version, right as his knees were going), Tyson Chandler (post-Dallas version), Kenyon Martin (post-Nets version), Nene (never an All-Star — not once) and the one and only J.R. Smith.

Love the recognition for Camby here (assuming these are in order), who was always underrated.  Anyways, this is true, so good for Bill.  Doesn't change Melo's career long string of playoff failures, or his inexcusable failure to get the Knicks into the playoffs last season.

3. He never played with anyone who made an All-NBA team except for Billups (third team, 2009), Chandler (third team, 2012) and Amar’e (second team, 2011).

Hey look!  A fact fact!

4. He had only four teammates make an All-Star Game: Iverson (2007, 2008), Billups (2009, 2010), Amar’e (2011) and Chandler (2013).


5. He had five head coaches in 11 years: Jeff Bzdelik (never coached again), Michael Cooper (became a WNBA coach), George Karl (coached 1,887 games, only won two Finals games), 

HAHAHAHAHAHA.  Go fuck yourself, you fucking asshole.  

Mike D’Antoni (sadly, he coached again) and Mike Woodson (now a career assistant). Meanwhile, Dirk had three coaches in 15 years: Don Nelson (Hall of Famer), Avery Johnson (made a Finals and also won 67 games in a season) 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Yes, that was all Avery!  Definitely not him inheriting a loaded team at just the right time!  That's why he's currently very very available to any NBA team that wants to hire him.

and Rick Carlisle (future Hall of Famer).

If Carlisle is a HOFer, so is Karl.  We covered this already.  But let me reiterate, just to be crystal clear: for saying George Karl "coached 1,887 games, only won two Finals games," he can go die in a fire.

6. Dirk has spent his entire career with the same owner — the lovable and influential Mark Cuban, who didn’t always make the right moves, but built a state-of-the-art organization and spent as much money as anyone. Carmelo spent seven years in Denver enduring multiple front-office power struggles, 

Source?  Citation?  Where is one of those cheeky little Grantland footnotes when you really need one?  The reason there isn't one here (I usually delete them, btw, but I didn't do that here) is because this is patently false.  But don't let facts get in the way of your narrative, asshole.  Full speed ahead.

then had multiple Knicks GMs in four years (not counting CAA’s brief takeover last season). Oh, and he had James Dolan calling the shots.

And he had the chance to get away from Dolan... and didn't take it.  

(The real irony here: Carmelo had only one truly competent front-office mind in 11 years. Who was it? Masai Ujiri … who traded Carmelo to New York in 2011 once Carmelo made it clear he was signing there anyway. Carmelo = not blameless. By any means.)

That's not irony.  Ujiri trading him to New York and him now playing in New York because he wanted to be traded there so he could play there is... pretty unironic.

7. He suffered bad luck two different times — when an already loaded Pistons team unbelievably picked Darko over him in 2003, 

Yeah, had he played on that 2003-2004 Pistons team that knocked off the Lakers in the Finals, the question would finally have been answered: can you win an NBA title if Carmelo Anthony is your 8th man, playing 12 minutes a game?


Yes you can.

and when his agent didn’t follow LeBron’s and Wade’s lead by putting a three-year out into Melo’s first contract extension (with Denver). 

That's because Melo signed his extension almost a week before LeBron and Wade did, you fucking fuckhole.  Try doing some fucking research you horsefucker.

In the summer of 2010, Melo could have stolen Bosh’s spot in Miami or jumped to the up-and-coming Bulls, only he couldn’t get out of his deal for another year. Those were his two best chances to find a true contender. 0-for-2.

One inconsequential to the current argument, the other never actually existed.

8. Here’s how much Carmelo’s teams have relied on him since 2003 — right now, he owns the fifth-highest career usage rate ever (31.7 percent), 

Chicken/egg--yes, his teams have relied on him, and yes, he's a ball stopper who loves to take long twos and other ill-advised shots.

trailing only Jordan (33.2 percent), Wade (31.9 percent), Iverson (31.8 percent) and Kobe (31.8 percent). In the playoffs, he has the fourth-highest career usage rate ever (32.6 percent), trailing only Jordan (35.6 percent), Iverson 34.3 percent and T-Mac (33.5 percent). 

And nearly a .350 winning percentage!

On the other hand, he has played with only two 20-point scorers (Iverson in 2007 and 2008, Amar’e in 2011) and three guys who averaged more than 15 points (Billups in 2009 and 2010, Amar’e in 2012, and J.R. in 2013). I mean, didn’t someone have to shoot?

You know nothing about basketball.  Fucking... nothing.


Unknown said...

I'm going to defend Melo, and I know you have personal reasons for disliking him, but he's underrated at this point. He's around the tenth best player in the world. While Bill has to obnoxiously rank everything with no debate possible (exactly 8th or 9th!), it's easy to disagree with your list. Anyway, you missed Paul and Love, so it's not to say he is in the top 10, just that after Lebron and Durant, the separation between 3 and 15 isn't so large. I'm a huge Aldridge fan, and I don't think he gets his deserved respect, but he's just not as good as Melo, who had an amazing year; his efficiency stats were improved even with high usage (which is a tough thing to accomplish) and his defense is not great, but not as bad as the reputation. And most high usage players take time off on the defensive end, because there's only so much effort that one can expend during a game.

This whole argument about whether you can win with X as your best player is stupid and revisionist. People said it about Garnett in Minnesota, about Lebron in Cleveland, about Dirk before 2011, hell even about Jordan before he went on to win 6 championships in his 6 consecutive full seasons. You can win with Melo as your best player, but it doesn't mean you will. For sure, you won't win with Melo as your best player if you surround him with terrible pieces, or if you have Miami's 2012-13 team to beat.

I'm not defending the article, which seems to be typical Bill, but let's have a little more respect for great players who don't win NBA championships. I'll even grant that Melo has underperformed in the playoffs, but he's not incapable of performing. His 2009 postseason was incredible, and that WC finals against LA was one of the most exciting series I've seen. He fell short, but not because he wasn't incredible. That LA team was stacked.


Carmelo is not a top 10 player because he's never gotten it done in the playoffs, but DMC who's only had one really good year and never made the playoffs or been on a team that won more than 28 games in a season...YOU COULD ABSOLUTELY WIN A TITLE WITH HIM AS YOUR BEST PLAYER.

Anonymous said...

A "writer" at Deadspin said, in a piece about Simmons' new Grantland basketball show (gag), that this Simmons article was the best thing he's written in months.

Larry B said...

Yeesh, this is the reception I get when I come back after two weeks off? Fair enough.

VP, it was dumb of me to put Cousins on that list and leave off Love and Paul, but I still would take Cousins over Melo for this coming season. I get that Melo's not in an ideal situation in NY, but Sacramento is so toxic that I'm not even sure LeBron or Durant could drag that team to 45 wins in the West right now. (OK, maybe those guys, but definitely not anyone else.) Anyways, at least Cousins appears to make his teammates better (when he's not pouting on the bench) with his great passing, and plays on both ends of the floor.

As for Anon's argument, I respectfully disagree on many points. First of all, this isn't just about Melo's inability to win a title. It's about his repeated first round failures. As I laid out in the previous post, he's had some bad draws in terms of facing off with eventual WC or NBA champs, but he's also laid complete eggs against super average teams many, many times. Specifically 2006 against the Clippers, 2010 against the Jazz, and 2013-2014 against every team in the putrid East that he couldn't get the Knicks past which eventually cost them a playoff berth the could have secured by winning like 44% of their games. Holy smokes, that's horrendous.

Yes, people said the same things about Dirk, LeBron and MJ. But Dirk made a Finals and a conference finals (and got out of the first round two other times) in his first eight seasons. LeBron did take three seasons to make the playoffs, but then he got to the Finals in his 4th (dragging a terribly average team with him) and still has never lost in the first round. MJ won a title in his 7th season. We're on year 12 for Melo. When do you think he's going to break out? I respect your argument about his individual efficiency, but it says a lot about his overall ability to support a title contending team that he could score as well as he did in 2013-2014 and STILL miss the playoffs in THAT division in THAT conference. Simply put, I stand by what I've said. Carmelo Anthony deserves a lot of praise for being a great scorer. He's not underrated as an all around player though. Not in the slightest.

Anyways, thanks all for commenting.

Dork from Ork said...

Quit sniffling, I still love you.


I am a big fan of Cousins, and think he'll be better than Love and Griffin once he hits his prime. But he’s not quite there yet. If he makes another big stride forward this year, which I grant is very possible, then put him in the top 10.

As for Melo, Simmons’ position is illogical and poorly argued, but I think still more accurate than the people who say that he’s nawt a tru winnah because of flaws deep within his soul that are only noticeable to uniquely perceptive Gahhhden-ites who know greatness when they see it. Melo is a second-tier star, and would need a ton of help and luck to win a title, but it’s not like LeBrons grow on trees. Better to go to war with him than go back to square one, no?