Monday, July 4, 2011

9 comments Bill Simmons Still Under the Impression We Care About the Jokes His Friends Say

Bill Simmons has completed his 15th draft diary, or as he wrote it, this was Draft Diary XV. The roman numerals make it seem more like an event. Unfortunately, this year Bill's friends Jacoby and some other guys tagged along in the diary and said things Bill perceived to be funny. So he shares this with us based on his continuously misguided thinking that because we like his writing, we give a shit about his life and what jokes his friends say.

On a side note, Bill's friend and alleged comedian, Adam Carolla was on "The Real Housewives of California (I think) aftershow the other night. (My wife watches that crap, so that's how I know this, in case anyone was wondering) Anyway, that's the joke. Adam Carolla was on the aftershow of a reality television program featuring wealthy Botoxed women who primarily drink and fight with other for no particular reason and he took part in a $10,000 Pyramid rip-off game show featuring the housewives of the various Bravo "Real Housewives" shows. That's what it has come to for Adam. I knew there was a reason Bill had quit name-dropping Carolla lately and had mostly named dropped Jimmy Kimmel. Adam may not be famous enough for Bill anymore.

Anyway, here's a draft diary. I warn you, there are jokes by Bill's friends in this diary, but I will skip over most of them because nothing is less funny than to tell your audience jokes you and your friends were saying to each other at a particular moment...ok, maybe something is less funny, but it doesn't feel that way right now. Second-hand jokes between friends aren't normally funny to the audience having to hear them.

Here's all you need to know about the 2011 NBA draft: it was held in Newark, N.J.; its consensus first pick played 303 total minutes of college basketball;

Utterly irrelevant. The NBA used to draft players who had played 0 minutes of college basketball. So trying to say Kyrie Irving is unproven or we don't know much about him because he played so little (due to injury) in college is stupid for two reasons:

1. Players used to be drafted #1 overall with zero games of college experience. Most of the best players in the NBA had very little college experience.

2. Even players with four years of college experience still aren't sure things and have question marks about their game. So it doesn't really matter how many minutes a player may play in college, the NBA is still projecting that player's ability to play in the NBA.

its most exciting player projects to be a rich man's JJ Barea;

Otherwise known as "an NBA starter," especially since Jimmer Fredette is much bigger than JJ Barea. Extra non-credit points go to Bill Simmons for comparing two players that are built completely differently.

and my father (normally a draft junkie) was left so uninspired by this year's draft pool that he skipped the first 90 minutes of the telecast to have dinner with his wife.

Oh well, you buried the lede Bill! I didn't know your father didn't watch the draft. Well then clearly if your father, a widely-known and well-respected professional NBA scout, didn't watch the draft, then this 2011 draft wasn't for shit.

Footnote alert coming! Yes, on Grantland, Bill Simmons has footnotes. I have no idea how to note this, so I will put them in parenthesis.

My dad after telling me that: "Wait, you can't put that in your column!" OK.

Even as a 40 year old, Bill Simmons is rebelling against his father! If Bill had done this type of thing as a child, I am sure his father would have punished him by sending him to a lower class private school.

7:30 p.m. ET -- We're coming to you live from the New and Improved Man Cave! I'm joined by some pretzels, some lukewarm Bud Lights and my buddies Wildes and Jacoby,

I've already forgotten the names of Bill's friends. You will want to forget their names too, because somewhere in his exceptional writing career Bill Simmons didn't get the memo that nobody wants a run-down of all the funny things you and your friends said. It's funny to you because you know these people and had the conversation. We don't know them, therefore we don't care. Shut up and write something clever.

and a parlay with Jimmer Fredette being picked in the lottery and two or fewer Kansas guys being drafted (+110 odds).

There's no way in hell two or fewer Kansas guys were going to be drafted. Someone was taking Josh Selby.

When you're gambling on an NBA draft, you know it needs some help.

I've always hated how Bill defines something based on his personal behavior towards that something. Bill Simmons has a complete selfish and tunnel point of view of the world. Bill tends to defines an event, or pretty much anything, based on how it affected him and how he reacted to it. We all tend to judge an event based on our own perception of said event, but I feel like Bill is more dedicated to it than most. So because Bill is gambling on the draft, that means the draft needs help.

Hey, is it a bad sign that Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams both have a "Crap, I think I'm a good player, but even I'm not sure I should be the first pick in a draft" look on their faces?

Bashing the draft every year seems to be a Bill Simmons tradition. I can't wait until next year when he watches college basketball for three weeks in March and then pretends he has all of the prospects pegged. I'm never forgetting his "Cole Aldrich is better than Ed Davis and should be a lottery pick" comment from last year on Twitter. Never.

Yes, I am a college basketball snob. I hate it when people like Bill Simmons watch three weeks of the NCAA Tournament and think that's all the information they need. I can't decide if Bill will rave about next year's draft or not. Part of me thinks he will because it will be a good draft and the other part of me thinks he won't in case he is wrong about some of the prospects.

7:39 -- Our no. 1 pick? Yup … Kyrie Irving. You know, because any time you can grab a freshman point guard who missed two-thirds of the season when you have $20 million of point guards on your roster, you have to do it.

Because it makes a ton of sense to pass over Irving because you already have Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions? Is this really the logic Bill is trying to use?

We'll see how this goes: I see him settling somewhere between an extremely poor man's Chris Paul and a rich man's Mike Conley.

These parameters are very, very thin. Actually, I think this would be the same player. A rich man's Mike Conley IS an extremely poor man's Chris Paul.

One thing I don't understand: Why does everyone keep saying this month that you "need" a good point guard to win?

Yeah, I don't get why people create fake arguments about how "people" are saying you need a great point guard to win just to refute it in a column. Why do sportswriters make up fake arguments in an effort to disagree with the fake argument?

No one said the Cavs "need" a good point guard to win, it has been said they need to take what they consider to be the best player available. They think they did that by drafting Kyrie Irving.

A quick recap of Kahn's 24 months in charge: his Timberwolves lost 132 of 164 games; he used the fifth and sixth picks in the 2009 draft to take a Spanish guard who couldn't come over for two years and a point guard who bombed so badly that he's probably getting traded tonight;

Later in this very same draft diary, in typical Bill Simmons "I will hedge so that way I don't make a prediction that is wrong because I absolutely refuse to be wrong about anything or else my ego may finally realize I am not 100% right about every little thing" fashion, Bill will say he can see Jonny Flynn breaking out in Houston or benefiting from being away from the Timberwolves. Then Bill refers to Chauncey Billups as a young point guard who needed a change of scenery to flourish.

See, Bill never actually says anything, but he says enough to where he can take credit for one thing or the other. We will see this again. Bill can say, "I said Jonny Flynn bombed" and then mock David Kahn for drafting a player who bombed. AND he can say "I didn't say Jonny Flynn was a bad player" because he can see Flynn breaking out in Houston after leaving Minnesota. So there's no way he was wrong about anything. If Flynn plays well, then Bill could see that coming, if Flynn continues to bomb, then David Kahn is an idiot. I know it isn't the purpose of Bill Simmons' writing to make predictions, but he often makes statements in a way he can't be wrong in making that statement and I believe this is because he can not fathom the idea of being wrong because it won't make him seem as smart as he seems to believe he is.

So then Bill goes on about how bad David Kahn is...but then he hedges in a footnote in case Kahn ever turns his shit around. In a non-coincidence, guess who appeared on Bill's podcast on Monday? David Kahn.

If you're defending Kahn, it should go like this: he's willing to admit when he's wrong and fix it (like firing Rambis or trading Flynn); he DID land Rubio; he DID bottom out (which is what every noncontender should do, it's the only way to get better); and he DID build a decent core of Love, Rubio, Williams and Johnson. His big "vision" wasn't much different than what Sam Presti did with Seattle/OKC … it was just a little rockier.

Notice how Bill says Kahn fixed Minnesota by trading Flynn. I really hope everyone gets what I'm trying to say. Bill spends inordinate amounts of time bashing David Kahn. He continues bashing David Kahn in this draft diary, but then sets up a scenario where Kahn is turning the Wolves around in some ways. This is just a simple case of playing the middle. Bill wants to be able to continue bashing Kahn, but he doesn't want his loyal subordin---fans to think he was wrong about something. So either way the Kahn Era goes, Bill is ready.

Kudos to Kahn for not overthinking things and grabbing Williams, who just inspired Wildes, Jacoby and me to figure out the hierarchy of congratulatory hugs right after someone gets picked.

Just for reference, again, I will be skipping most of the jokes these guys make. I really don't care what they said.

7:55 -- Bilas mentions that Fran Fraschilla has likened Jonas Valanciunas to a "poor man's Pau Gasol" and adds, "That's pretty high praise." It is?

Yeah, it sort of is.

Since when is calling someone a "poor man's" anything praise?

Says the guy who just said Kyrie Irving could be a poor man's Chris Paul and make two All-Star teams. If that doesn't sound like some sort of faint praise then I don't know what to say at this point. Making an All-Star team is good, right?

And isn't that insulting to Marc Gasol, the original Poor Man's Pau Gasol? Or did he vacate that title after his sterling 2010 playoffs?

I'm pretty sure Bill means the 2011 playoffs.

7:56 -- Curveball from the Cavs at no. 4: They take Tristan Thompson..."He just needs to learn how to play and how to score," Bilas says. I think I need more from my fourth pick than that sentence.

Thompson is 20 years old. Bilas meant Thompson had to learn to play and score in the NBA. It was a poor choice of words probably, but I don't know if Bill should completely judge Thompson based on what Jay Bilas thinks of Tristan Thompson. Of course, Bill will still make complete judgments based on one man's opinion since it helps to prove his own opinion.

Weird choice. Or, this draft is horrible.

Because a draft is automatically horrible if a "weird" choice is made or if a team makes a bad choice. That's why the 2003 draft was so bad, because Darko was chosen over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Inexplicable or weird choices never happen in a good draft.

Actually, Bill is the one who labeled the Thompson choice as "weird" and then uses his own opinion as evidence of his opinion this draft is terrible. Bill Simmons is consistently good at making up criteria based on his own opinion in order to support a conclusion he wants to come to.

Wildes thought Valanciunas was right on the Interpreter Cusp — he knew just enough English that he didn't need one, but he probably should have gotten one, anyway.

"The interpreter never hurts," Wildes says sagely. "You're always gonna sound smart talking in your own language." Unless you're Brett Favre.

Wildes did say that "sagely." Also, what a weird and out of left field Brett Favre reference. It just feels out of place...and we all know I love a good Brett Favre joke, so I am not opposed to any form of Brett Favre mocking.

He starts his career with a memorable highlight: Right after the pick, he just about open-mouth kisses his smoking hot European girlfriend as the crowd cheers lustily. That leads to this exchange:

Wildes: "I hope that's not his sister."
Me: "No, that was his girlfriend, there was practically tongue."
Jacoby: "Yeah, I think she was marking her territory. Like a dog marking a tree!"


I can't imagine a scenario where this exchange was worthy of inclusion in Bill's draft diary.

8:13 -- That reminds me … our past five picks were Enes, Tristan, Jonas, Jan and Bismack. What the hell is happening right now?

Foreigners! They have such crazy names!

8:18 -- The Pistons just lucked out: Brandon Knight at no. 8? Really?

Yes, Seth Meyers...really!

I like this pick: smart kid, good character, good pedigree, talented …

These attributes also perfectly describe Kyrie Irving, which means Bill will immediately say...

he might end up being better than Irving for all we know.

For all we know this could happen. For all we know, Brandon Knight could also be worse than Kyrie Irving. Knight could also never play another game of basketball due to a new religion he has converted to that doesn't allow him to get near any round objects. WE DON'T KNOW! That's Bill's sense after this draft. We just don't know what will happen. Was that really Jan Vesely or just a guy who looked like Jan Vesely? There's no way to say. Is David Stern a robot? We can't tell. Brandon Knight may end up being the best player in this draft. Who knows?

I'm glad Bill is here to tell us we don't know what will happen in the future with these players.

8:20 -- Random question: What would happen if Detroit re-signed Rodney Stuckey, then started Knight and Stuckey together?

Then the Pistons would have two combo guards on the roster. Oh wait, this was the beginning of a supposedly funny riff, wasn't it? Let's see how that would go...

If you start two combo guards, does that equal one point guard and one shooting guard? I say it does; Jacoby thinks it cancels each other out; Wildes solves it by saying, "If you have two Arnold Palmers, that doesn't mean you have one iced tea and one lemonade, it means you have two Arnold Palmers."

What does Hench think? I refuse to read anymore of this diary until I know what Hench thinks. I would ask what Bill's dad thinks about this, but he isn't watching the draft this year, which is Clue #1 this draft sucks. Clue #2? All the damn foreigners getting picked.

I'm feel confident in saying the weak set up for this weak conversation that was supposed to be intriguing was all a failure.

8:29 -- Ladies and gentleman, it's Jimmer Time! Sacramento just grabbed him with the 10th pick. I see him becoming a more consistently explosive version of JJ Barea, only with deeper range.

I'm not sure I have heard the Jimmer-JJ Barea comparison. Let's compare.

JJ Barea: 6 feet tall, 175 pounds, undrafted out of college, natural point guard.

Jimmer Fredette: 6 feet 2 inches tall, 195 pounds, 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, decorated college player, not a natural point guard.

Of course they are both white, so maybe that counts for something. Otherwise, I'm not sure I see the comparison.

Although teaming Jimmer (a black hole in college) with Tyreke Evans (a black hole in the pros) makes me a little nervous. Can the usage rate of two guys add up to higher than 100 percent?

Inside joke for the stat nerds.

See, Bill Simmons is a stat nerd...unless it doesn't fit what he is trying to prove, in which case the stats don't prove what he wants to be proven, so then the stats are misleading. Look no further for proof of this in the post I linked. Bill says Derrick Rose has to be seen to be believed and the stats don't do him justice, but he uses those same misleading stats to put Wade on 1st team All-NBA over Kobe Bryant.

Wildes: "I'd watch a 24/7 on the making of a 24/7."
Jacoby: "I'd watch any 24/7. Anything. ANYTHING."
Me: "You'd watch a 24/7 on a WNBA team?"
Jacoby (after a pause): "Almost anything."

Haha! Women's basketball sucks! If anyone is looking for why Bill's gig writing for Jimmy Kimmel may have been short, look no further than what Bill believes is a funny exchange.

How has Kawhi Leonard not been taken yet? What am I missing?

Well Bill, you're missing the ability to self-evaluate, original material that made your early career such a joy, a coherent direction where you want your career to go (is Bill an author, columnist, executive producer, editor, or does he want to move over into just being a celebrity?), and the humility/lack of ego where your writing used to be about the subject not how clever you can be. You used to have all this, which made your writing exceptional.

Maybe I misunderstood the question's context...

8:48 -- Wildes thinks there's a poster of Danny DeVito in Twins in Phoenix's front office.

Bill felt the need to share this with us. Someone is very impressed with how clever their friends are.

Stu's running out of Stidbits, he just told the guys that Smith has a tattoo of his father's face on his arm. We might have to start drinking a little more heavily soon.

This is relevant because Smith's father, Derek Smith played in the NBA, and is now dead. See, this is the NBA Draft and Nolan Smith's father played in the NBA...and Nolan Smith just got drafted to play in the NBA. It may not be interesting, but it certainly relevant without drinking needing to be involved.

Did Kahn just give up on Flynn after two years? You bet he did. For the record, if you're stuck in the triangle with a revolving door of bad teammates and a bad coach for two years, how do we know if you're a good point guard?

So now Bill has the perspective Kahn gave up on Jonny Flynn and we don't really know if he is a good point guard or not. I think that's the moral of this draft diary. We don't know. That's the other moral of this draft diary. What I do know is earlier in this draft diary Bill said Kahn "fixed" the Timberwolves by trading Flynn.

Here is the second part of Bill hedging on Jonny Flynn. In the second part of his draft diary we don't have a clue if Flynn is a good point guard or not, but earlier in the diary Bill said the following two things:

he used the fifth and sixth picks in the 2009 draft to take a Spanish guard who couldn't come over for two years and a point guard who bombed so badly that he's probably getting traded tonight;

That point guard who bombed is Flynn.

Then, Bill said Kahn may have gotten things right by saying...

If you're defending Kahn, it should go like this: he's willing to admit when he's wrong and fix it (like firing Rambis or trading Flynn);

So what we have learned, other than nothing, is David Kahn screwed up by drafting Jonny Flynn, made a good move by trading Jonny Flynn, but screwed up because he didn't put enough good players around Jonny Flynn, yet somehow Kahn managed to put a good core together,

and he DID build a decent core of Love, Rubio, Williams and Johnson.

which is a core Flynn played with this past year (or 1/2 of these players...I guess we are just assming Rubio and Williams are going to be part of a good core). So basically Bill is pretty much just full of shit. He's played this Flynn issue nearly every single way. Flynn sucks as a point guard, Kahn did a smart thing in trading him, there weren't enough good players around Flynn, the Wolves had a decent core (or 1/2 of a core) this past year, Flynn may just need a change of scenery, and Kahn screwed up by trading him. I think every angle is covered at this point. The bottom line, at some point Bill will be right in his opinion on Jonny Flynn.

"I like the concept of picking for other teams," Jacoby says. "It's like buying a lap dance for one of your buddies." Wildes and I immediately greet that joke with Van Gundy-esque "I'm not selling that crap" death stares.

Yeah, right. They both laughed hysterically. We know they did. I guess Bill couldn't end this article without at least one strip club/pornstar reference.

Last thought: Whenever NBA TV runs old drafts in the week leading up to the latest one, I see the year in the TV Guide listing and a memory trigger comes to mind: something like, "Oh yeah, 1998, that's the year everyone kept passing on Dirk and Pierce,"

I know Dirk and Pierce outperformed the players in front of them, but it is a bit of an exaggeration to say players that went 9th and 10th in the draft (and Dallas picked Robert Traylor at #6 and then traded for Dirk, so it may be fair to see if the trade didn't happen Dallas would have taken Dirk at #6) got passed over by "everyone." I'm nitpicking, but this is an exaggeration.

or "Crap, that's the Bias draft, I'm changing the channel immediately."

Because Len Bias died before he could begin his Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics. This was bound to happen. The Celtics would have 37 NBA Titles right now if they just weren't so cursed. In case anyone forgot, Len Bias died before he played a game for Boston and he was going to be a Top 50 NBA player of all-time. Every Celtics fan is glad to remind you of this every single year when the NBA Draft comes along.

I have a feeling we'll remember the 2011 draft as the Foreigner Draft. And I have a feeling I will change the channel.

This is the last sentence in a paragraph that is supposed to have some sort of sentimentality or deep thought behind it. Like Bill was putting this draft in some sort of perspective it doesn't quite deserve yet.

I haven't hated Simmons' work recently, but when doing the draft diary it may be best to leave off the jokes and he and his friends make. Bill seems to mistake our interest in his writing in our interest in him as a person.


rich said...

my buddies Wildes and Jacoby

I'm sorry, but just based on those names I know they're incredible douchebags. Wildes? Jacoby? Fuck me...

When you're gambling on an NBA draft, you know it needs some help.

I don't get this. People gamble on the Super Bowl, does it need help too?

They have such crazy names!

Like Wildes and Jacoby...

Although teaming Jimmer (a black hole in college) with Tyreke Evans (a black hole in the pros) makes me a little nervous.

Tyreke Evans is a blackhole because he has no one in Sacremento worth a shit to pass it to. Jimmer was a black hole in college because he was on a team full of dogshit and was the only effective offensive player.

So what we have learned, other than nothing, is David Kahn screwed up by drafting Jonny Flynn, made a good move by trading Jonny Flynn, but screwed up because he didn't put enough good players around Jonny Flynn, yet somehow Kahn managed to put a good core together,

I don't always hedge my bets, but when I do, I sound like a fucking idiot.

Anonymous said...

I've read two articles from Grantland.

Some terrible crap by Klosterman about a Led Zeppelin concert on Youtube.

And Simmons even more terrible article on Will Smith. At least with Klosterman, you get the impression that he knows he is full of shit. I think Simmons takes himself seriously as an oracle of culture. Of all the terrible crap he said in the Smith article, the easiest to overlook, imo, is his cast off line about how Will Smith's cannily calculated effort and strategy to manage his career is something Kobe Bryant would do. Layers of dumb there, and I hate to play the race card, but there is some of that too, imo.

If you have not read the article, read it. For awhile now, i think people have speculated that Simmons was mailing in his ESPN articles because he had nothing left to do with the subject matter, that he just needed to be able to stretch his wings some and he would soar again. Well, we can put that to rest. Its clear that he is actually trying at Grantland, and I think his honest efforts are even worse than his mail in jobs.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I don't like it when makes up fake reasons why something stinks. He's just not very good at it. He indicates Irving is a weak #1 pick based solely on the fact he didn't play much college ball, forgetting all the players who got drafted in the NBA from HS. Then he says if you gamble on the draft, you know it sucks, while not seeing ppl will gamble on anything.

He was completely hedging on Kahn. Nice, rip off of the commercial.

Anon, I didn't like the Led Zeppelin article too much. It actually bored me so I quit reading pretty quickly. I have read the Will Smith article. I don't like Will Smith, so forgetting that, I thought it was weak how he tied it into Kobe Bryant. I'm surprised he didn't put a 6 for 24 comment in the article.

I haven't hated some of Bill's Grantland stuff. It's weird because I wanted him to try again and now he is, and I remember other things I didn't like about his writing. It's clear he was coasting for the past couple of months though. The Grantland stuff is different from the stuff.

Martin F. said...

I thought the Grantland stuff on The National was great. I enjoyed Klosterman's article about Zeppelin, but it read like a not quite finished draft. Almost as if Pt. 2 where he then contrasts it to a Kings of Leon show is missing.

What Bill forgets in his Will Smith article is that stars stop playing parts, and they start playing themselves as parts in movies. John Wayne, Sean Connery, Al Pacino. My neighbor worked with Will Smith on tv and in a couple movies, and has always said Will is a fantastic guy. Super nice, and crazily enough, makes movies to be in that he'd want to see himself. There isn't a grand plan, other then "This is cool, I'd love to see it, so hell yeah, sign me up."

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, I had not read that article on the National. I thought you meant they were talking about the band, not the newspapers. I didn't like the Zeppelin piece really. I like Zeppelin, but sometimes part of what Klosterman does in the dissecting of stuff I like irritates me for some reason. Just let certain things exist.

I hate it when an actor ends up playing himself in a part, instead of acting, but I guess that's the way it goes when you become really famous. I'm not a huge Will Smith fan and I am actually surprised your friend says he's cool. I would expect him to be a huge egomaniac, and I think his involvement with Scientology is weird as hell. Of course, I don't know him so that may be all wrong. Having said that, I don't dislike his movies, but he isn't probably one of my favorite actors. It's interesting he is a nice guy though.

Martin F. said...

Yeah, living in LA, one usually has a couple friends in the industry. Hanks and Smith are generally thought of as really good guys. Lucas is a tool. Ron Howard is a nice guy but his production company is cheap, so extras on his sets get the required food and drink, but don't be surprised if it's ham sandwiches and fruit punch. Cruise isn't all that bright and Pitt is about as dumb as a box of rocks.

That's today's Hollywood Report. :)

But yeah, The National came out right when I started college, and you could see from the beginning that this was something cool. It was kinda like a .com sports site without the internet. Some great writers and articles in the small period of time it was around, and totally changed how a lot of papers ran their box scores after that. Grantland did a nice job with it's pieces about it.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, I know zero Hollywood people, so thanks for the update! It isn't that shocking Cruise or Pitt aren't very smart. I actually nearly refuse to see Tom Cruise movies. He just seems so insane and fake to me. I do watch the M:I movies though, probably because two of the three have been great so far.

It doesn't shock me Tom Hanks seems nice, but the fact Smith seems nice did surprise me a bit.

I will read the National piece. It sounds pretty good and I think pieces like that are what will make Grantland be a worthwhile site. I have high hopes for it still, simply because it is still finding its voice I think.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahaha sucks you'll never reach Simmons level. Enjoy eating off his scraps. You all are pathetic. And watching Insider doesn't count as Hollywood friends.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, what? You are an anonymous person who rips me? That never happens. Being an anonymous person rips into other people isn't pathetic at all.

If it wasn't clear enough, I don't care to reach Simmons level. I'm not sure anyone wants Hollywood friends either. Maybe if you defend him long enough Bill Simmons will be your friend.