How does he go about evaluating these prospects? (Other than hindsight in his evaluations of previous players of course) Using a two-week sample size of the NCAA Tournament of course. Now that Bill has paid attention to college basketball for two weeks he knows everything he needs to know about these players and he doesn't need to know anymore. If there is something else he may need to know, but doesn't, then clearly because he doesn't know it, that something else has no importance. Most people need to watch an entire season, but most people aren't as smart as Bill Simmons is. Ask him, he will tell you how smart he is.
So he writes an entire article, in list form with theories of course, on how to properly evaluate college basketball players in regard to their NBA prospects. Caution: The use of hindsight and the use of standards set by Bill to meet criteria Bill wants these standards to meet may cause your blood pressure to rise. If Bill is right about a college basketball prospect in this column, expect to hear about it, but the ones he was wrong about we won't ever hear about again. Remember how bad he said the NBA Draft was last summer? Yeah, he doesn't bring that comment back up.
I didn't want to right this article because I am afraid I come off as a college basketball know-it-all (this is a continual fear I have), but I promise I am not. Bill just tries to talk like an expert when he only watches a couple weeks of college basketball per year (or at least it seems that way).
I always like riling Chad up because he's a conflict-resolution professor. Ticking him off is like getting Tim Tebow to swear. Anyway, he tweeted that tournament performance affects evaluations by NBA teams, for better and worse, although he didn't think it was necessarily fair. I responded that it was fair.
There is nothing more fair than evaluating a prospect over a two week period as compared to evaluating him using the other 30+ games that player participated in during that season...or using his previous college seasons as well to evaluate this player. This two week period is much more important because it is a smaller sample size. New "statistics crazy" Bill Simmons knows this better than anyone.
What better time to determine someone's intestinal/testicular/mental fortitude than March Madness?
Agreed, this is a good time to test this player's fortitude. It is not the best time to determine a player's actual talent though. A player can have a bad postseason one season and that doesn't mean he is a bad player. This is so obvious I feel dumb even having to say it.
Here's my case in a nutshell:
His "case" isn't words but an example of what Bill is trying to say. As usual, he can't just say what he thinks, he has to compare what he thinks to something else.
Let's say I owned Marquis Jet and wanted to find new pilots to fly my 12-seat airplanes. Let's say I narrowed it down to 30 candidates and had a chance to fly cross-country with them in inclement weather. Let's say 20 of them did fine, five were amazing and five completely melted down, to the degree that I had to grab the controls or we would have crashed.
Should this matter?
Absolutely it should. What if...of the 20 candidates who did fine 7 of those had poor flight records prior to that day, of the 5 that did amazing 1 person had done terribly in bad weather until that day, and of the 5 that melted down 2 of those people had a great record in bad weather until that day?
Shouldn't this matter as well?
OF COURSE! OF COURSE IT MATTERS! I just looked into their souls. I just tested them in the most intense way possible. That doesn't matter?
Of course it does matter, but this is also a small sample size of this player's career so the results of this small sample size can't always be trusted. I am going to go ahead and skip ahead a bit for what Bill wrote later in this column to see how he contradicts himself in the exact same column.
But let's travel back to one of the lamest college seasons ever: 2002, when high schoolers and one-and-done guys were flooding the NBA draft, and the talent dipped so dramatically that our 2002 All-Tournament Team was …
(Hold on, you're not gonna believe this …)
Wilcox. Juan Dixon. Dane Fife. Lonny Baxter. And the one, the only, Kyle Hornsby.So Bill's theory is that it matters what happens in the NCAA Tournament, unless it doesn't matter of course. The difference can be seen the best in hindsight, which is pretty much what this analysis relies on.
So Bill would choose these five players to pilot his ship during inclement weather, at least based on what he just wrote about the best players performing well in the NCAA Tournament. In case you were wondering, the leading scorers in this tournament were Juan Dixon and Jared Jefferies...both whom were/are in the NBA. So anyone who reads Bill's column twice can see this immediate semi-contradiction.
Sink or swim. That's March Madness. Should opinions on pro potential (or, as reader Shaun Fagan cleverly calls it, "protential") be formed entirely on tournament performance? Of course not. That's ridiculous.
It is ridiculous except Bill just used an example of choosing a pilot based completely on how he did in one flight during inclement weather and said the NCAA Tournament (not March Madness, that term annoys the shit out of me...it is a CBS marketing term, but Bill uses it freely like it is the name of the fucking tournament) is the best way to determine a player's intestinal fortitude. So he does give the NCAA Tournament a lot of sway...since he bases his entire article on the NCAA Tournament tells us whether a player will be a good pro or not.
What are those things? I narrowed them down to 10 questions. I don't need all of them answered, or even most of them … but if I can get three or four protential answers, I am delighted.
Oh yes...a list.
Question No. 1: Does Player X pass the Foxhole Test?
In other words, would you want him as a teammate if you were playing a pickup game to 11 with the following stakes: Losers spend the weekend in a movie theater watching a 48-hour marathon of "The Backup Plan"?
Haha...that's a relevant movie reference! Hilarious. I am not sure which is worse, the plot of the movie or a reference to the movie acknowledging the movie exists...probably the actual plot, but not by much.
Kansas State's Jacob Pullen passed this test Saturday: gamer, warrior, tough as nails, totally unafraid, bounces off bigger guys, carried KSU all game (eight 3s). Scouts are dubious because, basically, he's a 6-foot-tall 2-guard. Or so they think. Because I see him evolving into a goofy hybrid of Kyle Lowry and Aaron Brooks: a shoot-first point guard with 3-point range who battles on every play. You could do worse in the second round, that's for sure. At least we know he's a fighter.
Do you know how I know Jacob Pullen is a fighter? I watched the other games that he played this season that were on national television and noticed the exact same thing in those games. I didn't need the NCAA Tournament or a passing interest in college basketball to come to this conclusion.
I do a lot of Simmons-whining about his college basketball comments and I think I have a good reason for that. Bill has a lot of passing interest in college basketball at this time of year. He writes about the NBA intelligently so he knows basketball, but I don't think he knows college basketball. Unfortunately his readers will do ANYTHING he asks of them and they believe every word out of his mouth, so they believe he knows something what he is talking about in nearly every case, but he doesn't.
He watches the conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament and ignores college basketball in his columns other than that. Then he jumps on a bandwagon come tournament time and tells everyone how great players are in college basketball, like everyone ignores the sport simply because he does. He is so self-involved in this way. I don't need the fucking NCAA Tournament to tell me Jacob Pullen is a fighter, I have watched him all year and know this. Thanks for showing up late to the party, grab some finger food, and sit in the corner and shut the hell up.
(One thing I won't let Simmons ruin for me, he tweeted something about Jason Heyward and being excited to watch him play. Stay off this bandwagon. I have followed this kid since he got drafted by the Braves and I won't let him jump on the bandwagon before Heyward busts out. I am very protective of baseball prospects.)
(Important note: I swear on my son's life that I first wrote the previous paragraph Wednesday afternoon, a day and a half before Pullen donned the hero's cape in Thursday night's epic double-overtime victory over Xavier. See? The Foxhole Test never fails!!!!)
I do not believe that. One thing Bill forgets here (but does mention later, but only to prove a point...he forgets this here when it doesn't prove his point) is that Denis Clemente played the hero while Pullen was ice cold earlier in that game. Pullen had 10 of his 28 points in the two overtimes. Clemente had 11 of Kansas State's last 23 points in the 2nd half and Curtis Kelly was a beast inside. I am not taking anything away from Pullen, but if it wasn't for Kelly and Clemente, overtime may never have happened.
One other Foxhole guy I love: John Wall.
Oh my God! No way! I love John Wall too! No one has ever heard of this kid. I wonder if anyone has heard of this Evan Turner guy? You know, he is a guy I want in my foxhole also.
During the SEC title game, with Kentucky trailing by two and needing to rebound an intentional free throw-miss, I watched him as the free throw was in the air, thinking "I bet John Wall finds a way to get this rebound."
I am sure that is exactly what Bill thought. Of course we can't prove it, but that's fine. What I find interesting is Bill leaves out the part where Wall had alligator arms in regulation because this doesn't fit his point. Who said John Wall had alligator arms?
Bill Simmons himself.
Question No. 2: If he's an elite guy, can he have at least one "By the way, in case you didn't know, I AM AN ELITE GUY!" game?
Circumstances may intervene if Player X's teammates and/or coach aren't up to the challenge (see: Kevin Durant's 2007 Longhorns).
1. Which game was it that Kevin Durant didn't have an "I AM AN ELITE GUY" game?
Was it his 29 point 10 rebound performance against St. John's?
The 34 point 13 rebound performance against Missouri?
The 37 point 16 rebound performance against Colorado?
37 points and 12 rebounds against Oklahoma State?
37 points and 23 rebounds against Texas Tech?
Or 37 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas?
Or was it the fact he was named National Player of the Year as a freshman? If anyone needs more proof that Bill only pays attention to the NCAA Tournament, the fact he ignored Durant's 37-23 game against Texas Tech should be proof of that.
2. It can't be Durant's teammates that hurt him because that was a monster recruiting class and that Texas team had AJ Abrams, Damion James, D.J. Augustin, and Dexter Pittman on it. So it obviously had to be Rick Barnes that hurt him. I think Barnes is a bad coach, but to be fair, Michael Jordan didn't put up insane numbers in college either so a college player's college statistics aren't always a great measure of his skill.
All of this goes back to my point that Bill doesn't watch that much college basketball. He accuses Durant of not having an "elite guy" game at Texas, when this did occur several times. Bill has a massive crush on Durant, shouldn't he remember these games if he watched Durant during the regular season?
Again, we're all about accentuating previously conceived feelings.
What he means by this is, "reinforcing the idea the best players in the country are really the best players in the country by acting like a 2-3 game sample size means more than the entire season." I am not saying the NCAA Tournament doesn't mean anything, but it doesn't take a genius to look at Wes Johnson and John Wall and say they are elite guys. You just watch the games they play in.
Question No. 4: If there are personality "concerns" about the player, can you see those concerns manifesting themselves during games?
It's the "Blink" test. Trust your first instinct. If you don't like the look on someone's face, the way they carry themselves and/or the way they interact with teammates and coaches, then trust that initial red flag.
All of these "tests" and rules Bill has get very tiresome at a certain point. On Question No. 4, I am already tired of what few there have been.
I remember seeing Eddy Curry in person for the first time (Bulls-Celtics in 2001), watching him in warm-ups and checking out of the Eddy Curry Era right then and there. Hated the look on his face. Part entitled, part angry, part crazy, part "I hate warming up, I wish we were eating right now." I was done with Eddy in three seconds.
I like how a lot of Bill's opinions are based on hindsight like this. If only Bill had a national column where he could have put this prediction in there and not have some stupid blogger like me disbelieve him. Wait, he did have a national column and didn't say this at the time...at least that I could find. Of course he hates on Curry in retrospect...
What's the difference between being a fixable head case and an unfixable head case? It's simple, actually. You can't become un-lazy. You can't go from being clueless to having a clue.
Zach Randolph hasn't seemed to have a problem making this transition this year. I am sure Bill would say it was only temporary.
You can't go from crazy to sane. You can't go from selfish to selfless. You can't go from soft to tough. You can't go from being a knucklehead to being savvy. You can't go from ADD to totally zoned in. You can't go from being a DEFCON 1 hothead to a soothing presence.
You absolutely can go from being ADD to totally zoned in and you can go from being a hothead to a soothing presence. In fact, I think athletes could go from one of these to the other during their career. I don't know how Bill thinks he can get away with saying you can't do this. Michael Jordan went from being selfish early in his career to being selfless once he got better teammates around him...or at least it seemed that way because the statistics of his assists don't bear this out. Maybe he just trusted his teammates more. Either way, my point is I believe players can progress from one side of this spectrum to the other. Many players may not, but it is possible.
Question No. 5: Does Player X have a meal ticket?
Saint Mary's Omar Samhan intrigues me for one reason: If you feed him the ball within seven feet of the basket, he's scoring unless Dwight Howard is defending him.
Or he may not score if he has a high caliber defensive player guarding him, like Epke Udoh. I think we all overreacted a little bit to Samhan doing well against Villanova and Richmond, both of whom didn't have a impact low post defensive or offensive guy.
He has to be one of the best 30-35 guys in this draft. Has to. You can count the number of effective low-post scorers in the NBA on two hands. Still, we needed to see him do it on national TV with the Madness lights shining on him. And he did.
We didn't need to see him in "March Madness" because we saw his statistics through the season. If anything the NCAA Tournament reinforced the idea that Samhan was a great low post scorer but he would struggle against a team that had an effective big man...otherwise known as the same guys he will be facing in the NBA.
Also, let's not pretend Bill knew who Samhan was before this past 2 weeks. I barely had heard of him and I follow college basketball pretty thoroughly...even the experts hadn't heard much of him. Bill just needed to see Samhan actually play, not see him during March.
That brings me to something I call the Gerald Green Corollary: You can't make it in the NBA unless you can do at least one thing exceedingly well.
This is also known as "common fucking sense." But hey, let's Bill pretend he invented this idea, because he probably believes he did.
Green was an incredible athlete, but he wasn't good at anything.
Of course this may have had something to do with the fact he never really got coaching because he skipped college completely and the NBA sure isn't going to help a young player try to get better. It is nice to think Gerald Green wasn't good at anything, but we also can't ignore the fact he never got the proper coaching that would allow him work on his strengths and make them something he did exceedingly well. This is partly what going to the NBA right after high school had done to him.
Throw in a Gump-like basketball IQ and he never had a chance. Meanwhile, Ty Lawson was lightning-fast in college; nobody could stay in front of him. Guess what? He's lightning-fast in the pros.
Of course Bill says this in retrospect and never said anything like this last year before the draft...during the time he was completely taking a dump on the quality of this draft.
J.J. Redick shot the living crap out of the basketball in college. Guess what? He's making 39 percent of his 3s on a contender.
It took him like three years to even get to the point where he could contribute though. This was from a guy who attended all four years of college. I feel like this needs to be pointed out.
My favorite example: In college, Brandon Roy felt like a lottery pick to me just because of his tricky hesitation move. Everyone fell for it.
Well of course Brandon Roy felt like a lottery pick to Bill. I mean, don't you remember all those times he said this about Roy?
Bill's "thing" he does exceedingly well is that he looks back in hindsight and is able to be absolutely right about everything. It's a gift he has to be able to tell you in 2010 exactly what he thought about a player in the draft from 3-4 years ago...and get this, he was always right about that guy. Amazing!
He was going to score 20 points a game in the pros. Minimum. Still, I wanted to see it from him in the tournament. He dropped 28 points in 32 minutes on Utah State. Good sign. In Round 2, he brought Washington back from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat Illinois. Our big-stage questions were answered. He became a can't-miss for me.
I think Bill Simmons is the only major columnist I can think of that actively had these thoughts and didn't share them with anyone. Despite the fact he has a national column and can say whatever he wants. Bill is the only guy who brags about shit he absolutely can not prove he actually thought.
Same for Ben Gordon two years earlier, an electric scorer who couldn't be stopped when he got going. In the regional finals, he destroyed Alabama: 36 points in 39 minutes, 11-of-19 shooting, four 3s, 10-of-11 from the line. Done. He had to be a top-five pick after that. Always look for that meal ticket.
It could have also had something to do with the fact Gordon was awesome in many, many other games as well during his time at UConn, but those were games were Bill wasn't convinced. It was this small sample size game against a team in the NCAA Tournament that convinced him. Who needs 35 games where Ben Gordon played well when you have that one game in the NCAA Tournament he played well.
(A great example from last year's draft that I blew at the time: Memphis' Tyreke Evans could get to any spot he wanted. This was obvious in college, and it's painfully obvious now. I got caught up in dueling issues with him -- "Is he a point guard or a shooting guard?" and "Why was he the driver in the getaway car of a shooting?" -- and missed the basic reality of the Tyreke Evans Era. Namely, that none of the other crap mattered. The dude gets to the rim whenever he wants. I am still kicking myself.)
You can't go from crazy to sane. You can't go from selfish to selfless. You can't go from soft to tough. You can't go from being a knucklehead to being savvy. You can't go from ADD to totally zoned in. You can't go from being a DEFCON 1 hothead to a soothing presence.
Apparently in select situations (in hindsight of course), players can have the fact you may have a bad feeling about them overridden by the fact they are great basketball players. You may ask, but "Bengoodfella, how do I tell the difference?"
Here's how you tell the difference. Wait for a player to be in the NBA for a few years and then make up a new rule about that player and how he doesn't fit the old rule...namely, because he proved the old rule wrong. So it's fine to have a bad feeling about a player, but don't mention it and then make up a new rule so your old rule doesn't look wrong. See, it's easy!
So if Tyreke Evans looked like a turd to Bill he should have trusted his first instinct, according to Question #4, then he should have trusted that instinct. Except in the case of Evans this instinct was proven incorrect, so he makes up another rule about a "meal ticket" which means his arbitrary rules aren't wrong, there are just exceptions sometimes, and most of those exceptions are realized a year or two down the road.
Question No. 6: Should we overreact because Prospect X missed the tournament or was quickly eliminated?
No! I'm convinced that this was why everyone (including me) blew Darren Collison's situation last spring.
I don't think everyone blew that situation really. He was drafted in the 1st round and he had a good college career. I gave the pick a "C" because they already had Chris Paul and didn't need Darren Collison. I didn't say how great Collison was, but I think it was apparent to some that Collison was a good point guard. Whatever, because Bill missed on Collison, everyone else did too.
Egads! How did we overlook him? Like it was his fault that he went from playing with two 2008 top-five lottery picks (Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook) and another guy starting right now (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) to a crew of nobodies.
These "nobodies" included a high 1st round pick, Jrue Holliday, and a top 5 recruiting class that included the 3rd ranked point guard, the 3rd ranked center, and the 7th ranked shooting guard. Yes, they were all freshmen, but they weren't a crew of nobodies, just a crew of young players and role players. They also had Michael Roll on the team as well, so they were really a team of underachievers rather than a team of nobodies.
Question No. 7: How much are Player X's teammates making/breaking his success in the tournament?
Five years ago, Deron Williams jumped Chris Paul on some lists (and ended up getting drafted ahead of him) because Illinois made the title game and Wake Forest got bounced in Round 2. I never thought this was fair. Paul was so superior to his teammates that I remember feeling bad for him; they just weren't on the same plane.
This is retarded reasoning. How many college teams can have a player like Chris Paul and other players on the same plane as Chris Paul? He's an incredible point guard so you aren't going to find many players with his same skill level on one college basketball team. Wake Forest had a good team that year with Eric Williams, Justin Gray, Taron Downey, and Kyle Visser. Did they win the National Championship? No, but they weren't a bad team. The fact they didn't have another player on the level of Chris Paul really means nothing.
(Can you name one player Paul played with that season? I bet you can't.)
I just did, without looking it up. Bill is such an egomaniac. He believes simply because he can't name players from the team, no one else has the knowledge to do so either.
I thought Paul would thrive as a pro with better teammates … and in this case, I was right.
He is taking credit for saying Chris Paul would improve in the NBA. The fact Paul will improve in the NBA, where yes, he has better teammates is pure common sense. It's not a revelation or anything. I can't believe Bill just wrote this sentence. It's the NBA, the teams are always better than the college teams.
Of course he is going to improve in the NBA! Any good player is going to end up with better teammates in the NBA than in college, this is almost a universal truth for a player when he moves from college to the NBA. Great players ALWAYS get better than they were in college, so if the player is worth a shit, he will get better with these better teammates. This proves nothing about Chris Paul or his Wake Forest team because this could nearly go for any player on any college team.
This month's ultimate "better than his teammates" example: Georgia Tech's Derrick Favors. For all we know, he might be the next Kevin Garnett. (Not saying he is; just saying that there's no way of knowing.) His guards were gawd-awful and couldn't get him the ball. His coach seemed uninterested in running plays through him (although to be fair, Paul Hewitt might just be in a coma). And if that wasn't enough, his only good teammate played the exact same position and had his own first-round ideas.
Wow, actual good analysis from Bill on the Derrick Favors issue. Apparently Paul Hewitt just realized it doesn't make sense to recruit players who play the exact same position and want to occupy the exact same space on the court. Gani Lawal should have transferred.
For instance, Kansas' Xavier Henry disappeared in the Northern Iowa loss when -- if you were thinking about him as a sleeper for the top 10 -- that would have been an ideal time for him to announce, "Hey guys, I got this, get on my back." He didn't. Did it mean anything?
Under Question #2 and #3, this should have absolutely meant something. If Tyreke Evans could do it, why couldn't Xavier Henry?
In my opinion, not really.
Of course not.
Sherron Collins had such a stranglehold on the 2010 Jayhawks -- they deferred to him constantly, especially in big moments -- that it was like watching a cocksure 12th-grader playing with wide-eyed ninth- and 10th-graders. Get out of my way, I got this. If Henry disappeared in a similarly big game as Kansas' best player next year, I would hold it against him. Not this year.
I can buy this. I will say if Henry really was an elite player he would have stepped up when he saw his team struggling, which is something he did not do against Northern Iowa. He only shot the ball 6 times the entire game. So while I will agree with Bill that Collins had a stranglehold on that team an elite player, even a freshman, wouldn't let the game get away without trying to take over.
A different example: Cole Aldrich in that same game. He had been playing with Collins for the past three years. He's a lottery pick. He should have been able to dominate Northern Iowa down low, Samhan-style. But it wasn't in him. Not his style...I didn't hold it against him. In the words of Denny Green, Cole Aldrich was who we thought he was: a complementary center who challenges shots, rebounds and scores if he gets good position. He's Joel Przybilla 2.0.
Would you pick Joel Przybilla in the Top 5 in the NBA Draft? I wouldn't. It's funny that Bill compares him to Przybilla and then he said this on Twitter:
I'm just getting acclimated into college hoops. But still... no way Cole Aldrich should go lower than No. 5 in June's draft.
Wow, so either Bill saw one game Aldrich played and overreacted to him or he is taking his love of Cole Aldrich back from what he felt in late January.
My question: "You never write about Cole Aldrich, why don't you like white people?" RT @chadfordinsider: I'm chatting at 1 p.m. ET today.
Still, Bill was pretty high on Aldrich the next day. We can take him being drunk out of the equation for why he wrote what he did the day before.
Ed Davis over Aldrich? BAD CHAD! BAD! Go to your room! RT @chadfordinsider: My latest Top 100 Big Board: http://tinyurl.com/espnbigboard
I would personally take Ed Davis over Cole Aldrich in a heartbeat. I am not saying Bill's opinion should be set in stone or anything, he has a right to change his mind. I just want to ask everyone if they really should trust his opinion on college basketball players when just one and a half months ago, he was all about Cole Aldrich in the lottery and now he thinks Aldrich is a complementary player? What's the difference? He started watching more college basketball games. It is just something to think about when determining how smart Bill is and if he knows what he is talking about in this column.
And you wouldn't want Joel Przybilla trying to save you from the biggest upset in 16 years … right?
Absolutely not. Which means Bill was wrong about Aldrich back in late January/early February, though you won't find him mention that in this column because he has to be right. Any evidence he thought differently of Aldrich may not paint him as the sports genius he believes himself to be.
Along those same lines: UNC's Marvin Williams couldn't start for the 2005 national champs, but some experts wrote it off as "That's all right, those guys were loaded!" and maintained that he was a top-three talent. Really? HE COULDN'T START FOR HIS COLLEGE TEAM!
First, this shows exactly how little Bill knows about college basketball. Certain coaches won't start a freshman over a senior or a junior no matter the reason. That team had 5 McDonald's All-Americans on the roster (one of which was Marvin Williams), they were loaded, but skill isn't the reason Williams didn't start. Roy Williams isn't known for starting some freshmen if there is a talented junior/senior in front of him. For example, Ed Davis didn't start last year, it doesn't mean he sucks it just means Roy Williams didn't start him over Deon Thompson.
Marvin Williams had David Noel, Jawad Williams, and Jackie Manuel ahead of him because they were a junior, a senior and a senior respectively. The reason was their seniority and had very little to do with actual skill. If Bill watched college basketball more than he does, he would recognize things like this tend to happen for various reasons. So Bill's reasoning for being outraged at Williams not starting is actually not very knowledgeable in my mind.
When we watched him play six straight games at the highest level, never -- not at any point -- did I feel like I was watching the No. 2 pick in the 2005 draft. I thought I was watching a complementary player.
Really? Even when he dropped 20 points and 15 rebounds in only 26 minutes on Iowa State in the second round? Are we sure this isn't revisionist history or someone needs to do a little research first? Yes, Williams should not have gone before Chris Paul, but he seemed to be a talented guy regardless if he came off the bench or not.
See, this is all knowledge we have in retrospect.
Behind Door No. 2: Sherron Collins' stink bomb in the Northern Iowa game. Collins wasn't the only reason Kansas lost -- I still blame Bill Self for allowing an underdog to control the tempo and not pressuring them with a superior crew of athletes --
Bill still blames Self for this. He in no way is just repeating what EVERY SINGLE analyst and columnist has said about the Kansas-Northern Iowa...even though they are all saying the same thing as Bill. I think it is universal that Bill Self was an idiot for not controlling the tempo better. This wasn't an original Bill Simmons thought. I have to mention this.
but his "I live for the big moments!" résumé was basically tossed in the garbage.
Again, Bill has a lack of college basketball knowledge. Kansas has crapped out in the NCAA Tournament under Self on quite a few occasions. He really isn't widely considered a big game coach in all honesty.
Behind Door No. 4: Wes Johnson's "disappearance" during the Butler upset. If you studied the play-by-play sheet only, you'd say to yourself, "Wow, Johnson went MIA! No shots in the last six minutes? What a choke job!" Not exactly. He was playing for a coach who made a career out of burying his No. 1 scoring option in big games (note: Syracuse fans are nodding grimly right now),
Bill has no idea what he is talking about. In 2003, Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points in the Final Four against Texas and in the championship game followed it up with 20 points and 10 rebounds. I am sure there are Syracuse players who don't do well in big games, but it isn't because Boeheim buries them.
and with skittish guards who lost their minds down the stretch (Andy Rautins and Scoop Jardine combined for eight shots and three turnovers in the final six minutes).
So Boeheim has made his career out of playing skittish guards that lose their mind down the stretch? Does this statement have any proof other than the one game against Butler? Does Bill have any proof other than that?
Question No. 10: Is Player X thriving during a talent-heavy season or a talent-light season?
Should we name this the Chris Wilcox Corollary or the Jared Jeffries Corollary? You decide. I don't care. But let's travel back to one of the lamest college seasons ever: 2002,
This is the point where Bill ignores the overall theme of the article that the best players prove themselves during the NCAA Tournament. The following guys didn't make it too much in the NBA after playing well in the NCAA Tournament, but there is always a reason one of Bill's other rules just don't work.
the talent dipped so dramatically that our 2002 All-Tournament Team was …
(Hold on, you're not gonna believe this …)
Wilcox. Juan Dixon. Dane Fife. Lonny Baxter. And the one, the only, Kyle Hornsby.Yeah, a lot of those guys stunk. It wasn't the greatest year for college basketball, but we only know this in retrospect, which makes this rule pretty pointless for the present or future. Basically there is no way this should be a rule since we can't really measure the strength of college basketball teams in a season compared to other teams in other seasons incredibly accurately in real time.
And not to film a second episode of "Hindsight is 20/20 With Bill Simmons," but maybe it wasn't a great idea to overrate those title-game guys in what was clearly a septic tank of a tournament?
See? Even Bill admits it.
He ended up jumping Roy and getting picked fourth. Even better, Portland swapped his rights for No. 2 pick LaMarcus Aldridge, that year's version of Favors (a textbook "his teammates suck, so we have no idea how good he is" guy).
LaMarcus Aldridge's teammates sucked? The 2005-2006 Texas Longhorns made the Elite 8 and had P.J. Tucker, AJ Abrams, Daniel Gibson, Kenton Paulino, and Brad Buckman on the team. They weren't the best team Rick Barnes had at Texas, but Aldridge's teammates didn't suck.
One thing we definitely know: There isn't an algebra formula that applies across the board. There will always be can't-miss heroes who thrive in the pros (Carmelo Anthony, Mike Bibby, Rip Hamilton, Dwyane Wade, Ben Gordon, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Shane Battier), just like there will be heroes who never match that success (Trajan Langdon, Ed O'Bannon, Mateen Cleaves, Miles Simon) or find the right NBA team (Christian Laettner).
Even though there isn't a formula, Bill feels comfortable enough to throw together 10 "Questions" that also serve as rules as to whether a player will succeed in the NBA after using the NCAA Tournament to have more people see their game. So while there is no formula, Bill thinks if there is one, he is the one that should be providing it. Why a person would say there is no set formula for something that can be used, but then try to seriously make one up (especially based mostly on the NCAA Tournament), I don't know.
Regardless, there is such thing as a "good college player" that doesn't have skills that translate to the pros or that player was only successful in the college system his school ran.
You know, like with Thursday night's Kansas State/Xavier game. I already believed in Crawford and Pullen. I already thought their protential was severely undervalued.
This may very well be true, but my entire point is this comment is made in retrospect and we have no proof Bill is telling the truth about this. I hate to say, I really do, but given the fact he seems to enjoy being right, I can't say I 100% believe he thought this...or didn't think this then as strongly as he seems to now.
Forget about swimming … those dudes were doing the breaststroke and the butterfly. I saw everything I needed to see.
Weak, weak "funny" comment about swimming..or whatever it was.
I like how Bill didn't watch these players all year and has no idea if these are players who were good for the entire year or not, he just needed to see them play in 4 games and that is all he needs to know.
I hate to break it to Bill, but this may not be a strong year for college basketball. It's not the strongest year in terms of the best teams being great, great teams, so Pullen and Crawford could fall under his Question #10 heading. It wasn't a terrible year for teams, but there wasn't a 2009 UNC team or even a 2008 Kansas team in the country really. Maybe Kansas and Kentucky came the closest, but there is a possibility this isn't the strongest year for college basketball teams. Of course a person would have had to watch more than 2 weeks of basketball to know this could be true and we won't really know until 2-3 years down the road anyway.
Jordan Crawford is an NBA player. So is Jacob Pullen. You will never convince me otherwise. March Madness, baby.
That "March Madness baby" ending was ever so corny. It just screams "casual fan" to me. Whatever, it doesn't really matter. Bill tried to make rules for something he admits there are no rules for, bases his observations on 2 weeks of sample sizes, and just generally seems to have an incomplete knowledge of the sport he is talking about. He is entitled to his opinion of course. The most annoying part is that his loyal readers are going to eat this shit up. They will think he knows EXACTLY what he is talking about and this column wasn't opinion, but was stone cold fact.
That's actually is what is most annoying about any Bill Simmons column. What may be an opinion article all of a sudden becomes the Gospel According to Bill and his readers will use it as their guide to sports and life. Much of what you can learn about a college basketball player is seen during the regular season rather than a 2 week tournament, regardless of the pressure on the players in the tournament. These 10 Questions aren't the ramblings of a man who is a casual observer of college hoops, but 10 Theses to be posted on the door that should guide how EVERY college basketball player should be evaluated.
This perturbs me.