Monday, February 11, 2013

9 comments Bill Simmons Does a Retro-Photo Diary In a Desperate Attempt to Avoid Jumping the Shark by Just Letting the Shark Eat Him

It's bad you know. I have suggested in the past that Bill Simmons either has writer's block or has completely run out of column ideas. I have said this because I believe it is true. I don't even know how to really cover this "column" by Bill. It's bad. Sometimes a writer or artist puts out something you know he will look back on in a few years and probably regret. I think this may be one of those times for Bill. It's sad to see a once-talented writer now resorting to a retro-photo diary of a regular season NBA game. That's where Bill Simmons is at and what he has done though. This isn't even a "photo" diary, it is screencaps of a Celtics-Knicks game taken from Bill's television with clever comments below them. This is probably going to be less of a takedown of Bill than it is a public mourning of what has become of him and what talent he once had.

I firmly believe Bill Simmons is out of column ideas. He's bone-dry at this point. He is forced to run mailbags and conversations he has with other Grantland writers in order to fulfill his one column per week allotment. If I didn't know better, I would feel bad for him. So this week Bill took an idea that probably sounded good on paper, a retro-photo diary of an NBA game, and does the absolute best he can with this idea. I read it and looked at the pretty pictures and I kept hearing this column screaming at me, "THIS IS ALL I'VE GOT RIGHT NOW! YEAH, THIS IS IT! IF YOU HAVE ANY BETTER IDEAS FOR A COLUMN, PLEASE PRESENT THEM IMMEDIATELY!" The execution isn't bad necessarily. It's not worse than the mailbags Bill has done over the past year, but it is a shining example of how Bill Simmons simply (a) doesn't have time to think of column ideas or (b) simply can't think of any new column ideas. He's tapped out. At this point, Bill is coasting on his previous columns and his reader's unwavering support that he is the funniest, most clever writer in the world.

I have very few rules in life, but here's one of them: Anytime a Knicks-Celtics grudge match causes Carmelo Anthony to hire a bodyguard, Boston fans to wave Honey Nut Cheerios boxes, the NBA to assign Dick Bavetta AND Joey Crawford, and my dad to say the words, "I feel like the entire season is on the line tonight," I have to create a totally new gimmick for a column.

Bigger lies have rarely been told. Bill doesn't have "very few" rules in life. He has a shitload of rules in life. Nearly every column or mailbag he is creating new rules for some sort of new list that he has created. It's never-ending. And Bill's acknowledgement this is a "gimmick" only serves to highlight it is a gimmick and doesn't come off as self-effacing.

Introducing the Retro-Photo Diary! Let's get it on.

Actually, can we get it off? Like get this Retro-photo diary off the Grantland site?

Bill (obviously, since it is a photo-diary) has a lot of pictures that I don't care to link here. Mostly I want to focus on Bill's bad jokes and the idea he is taking pictures of his television and presenting them in his column with jokes below them and this is his column idea for the week. I almost feel bad for him. I really do. Almost.

Right when KG and Carmelo approached each other last night for their inevitably awkward fist-bump, TNT's director inexplicably switched to a close-up of KG and blew the fist-bump. (You can only see Carmelo's hand right there.) I can't wait to see where this ranks in Bleacher Report's "The 25 Biggest Blown Fist-Pump Shots" feature this weekend.

Now that's a pretty good joke. Actually, it isn't even a joke because this sounds like something Bleacher Report would do. Well, it is a joke, but a joke so far grounded in reality I actually did a search for "Bleacher Report Fist Bumps."

You know within about five minutes which Rajon Rondo showed up: Either it's Local Cable Rondo (the guy who settles for jump shots, refuses to drive to the basket and only cares about padding his assist count), or National TV Rondo (the guy who attacks the basket, plays aggressively, flirts with a triple-double and generally makes you feel like he gives a shit).


Notice how "Local Cable" Rondo only cares about padding his assist count. Don't you just hate it when your team's point guard only cares about padding his assist count? These are the things Bill Simmons bitches about. He bitches Rondo gets too many assists sometimes, meanwhile the Lakers have been trotting out Chris Duhon at point guard for part of the season.

It's one of my favorite winter traditions, right up there with Christmas and the NFL playoffs … that's right, it's Danny Ainge's annual "I swear, we're not trying to blow this team up!" denial. It always seems to come right as he's juggling about 244 possible deals with 17 different teams. Playing for the Celtics in January and February is like being on The Bachelor — it's just a good idea to pack your suitcase before every Rose Ceremony no matter how safe you're feeling.

Check out Danny Ainge's transaction history. He's made five in-season trades since the 07-08 season. Three of those were on one day, February 24, 2010 and only two of those trades could in any way be deemed consequential in that they had an impact on the Celtics rotation. Sooooooooooooooooooo, basically Bill is full of shit. Danny Ainge doesn't make a lot of trades in January and February. Kendrick Perkins is the most consequential player that has gotten traded in six seasons by Danny Ainge. As usual, reality doesn't match up with what Bill believes to be true.

Spike Lee needs to make a movie about two die-hard Knicks fans who get so tired of Spike Lee that they kidnap him during the 2013 playoffs. That would be the best Spike Lee Joint since Inside Man.

This is where Bill Simmons is at in the year 2013. If we don't hold a funeral for his writing career very soon then we should never do it.

Wait, is Bullet to the Head Sly Stallone's new movie or the upcoming 30 for 30 about the 2012-13 Lakers? I can't remember.

"What are we, Vikings?"

I know Bill doesn't like Jay Leno because he considers himself a part of the "Jimmy Kimmel against Leno" gang, but this Stallone-Lakers joke is tailor-made for a Jay Leno monologue.

Then Bill shows us a picture he took of his television where the sideline reporter is interviewing Mike Woodson:

"Coach, I know Bernie Mac isn't with us anymore, but do you still keep in touch with Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley?"

Steve Harvey and Mike Woodson look alike to Bill because they are both black, have facial hair, and have bald heads.

Serious question: Why didn't Honey Nut Cheerios offer $3 million apiece to KG and Melo to film a surprise commercial that could have debuted during this game? How great would that have been? There's still time, Honey Nut Cheerios! Do it for All-Star Weekend!

They probably didn't do this because they didn't want to spend $6 million to advertise for a brand that people already know and like. If this is a "serious question" I would hate to read a non-serious question Bill has.

Check out Dick Bavetta making a traveling call in front of a totally horrified Doc Rivers. For the record, Dick Bavetta is three years older than David Stern, five years younger than Bud Selig and 101 years younger than John Wilkes Booth.

The best part about this picture that Bill showed is that you can see where he stopped the television at 5:52pm PST because the DirectTV progress bar is at the bottom of the screen. I can imagine Bill rewinding the Celtics game to get to the perfect part of the game and then trying to pause it at the exact moment so he can take a picture of his television with his smartphone. So I wasn't joking when I said Bill was taking pictures with his smartphone and then uploading them into this column and writing jokes about the pictures. He's really doing this and isn't embarrassed at all about it.

Boston's crowd was surprisingly cordial to Carmelo. I thought they'd be chanting "Honey Nut" and prancing around dressed in giant Cheerios boxes. Nope. It's hard to overstate how bummed out everyone is about last Sunday's Ravens game, as well as the real possibility that Bernard Karmell Pollard is the Boston Sports Antichrist.

So Celtics fans can't cheer loudly for their team because they are so bummed about the Patriots losing to the Ravens? The lack of noise has nothing to do with the Celtics just being an average team at this point in the season? Not at all. Celtics fans would make more noise but they are so tortured and saddened by the Patriots loss in the AFC Championship Game they just can't make noise. The lack of enthusiasm is purely a side effect of the Patriots torturing Celtics fans with being one of the best teams in the NFL and having the audacity to lose in the playoffs that they just can't be overly mean to Carmelo Anthony. Bill can't state enough how the fact the Celtics aren't a great team has nothing to do with the enthusiasm level of Celtics fans.

Check it out — if Carmelo goes two for his next eight, he's going to win tonight's MVP award.

It's a 6-24 joke! These types of jokes were old the very minute Bill Simmons made the first one. Let's review Bill's hypocrisy once again. Paul Pierce won the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, though an Oscar for Best Actor in an Injury Situation probably would have been more suitable. Regardless, Pierce shot 4-13 in Game 6 of that series. That's a 30.8% shooting night for those of you counting at home. Kobe shot 6-24 which is a 25% shooting night. So maybe Lakers fans should start hitting Bill back with terrible "4-13" jokes.

Did Rondo stupidly pass the ball here over just taking the easy layup and/or getting fouled and going to the line? Of course he did. Did it lead to a turnover and a basket on the other end? Of course it did.


By the way, Bill stated "National TV" Rondo showed up for this game, but Bill said "Local Cable" Rondo is described as:

(the guy who settles for jump shots, refuses to drive to the basket and only cares about padding his assist count)

"National TV" Rondo is:

(the guy who attacks the basket, plays aggressively, flirts with a triple-double and generally makes you feel like he gives a shit)

Doesn't passing the ball rather than attacking the basket sound like "Local Cable" Rondo, yet Bill has already stated "National TV" Rondo showed up for this game. So either Rondo had a sudden inspiration to be "Local Cable" Rondo or Bill makes shit up as he goes along and hopes no one catches it. What does it really matter if Bill makes things up anyway? It's not like anyone could point it out in the non-existent comments.

Uh-oh … Melo is heating up. Just made four of his last six. There are seven "Uh-oh, he's heating up" scorers in the NBA right now: Durant, LeBron, Kobe, Melo, Harden, Kyrie Irving and Jamal Crawford.

There are only seven of these kind of scorers. You may have thought there were six, eight or nine, but you are wrong because Bill Simmons says there are seven and only seven.

This was a sneaky-big play — Smith bricked this 3, but Prigioni grabbed the rebound and found Carmelo for a 3, followed by every Boston fan saying, "Who the hell is Pablo Prigioni? Wasn't he one of the bad guys in Man on Fire?"

I find it hard to believe the most knowledgeable fan base in the history of sports doesn't know who Pablo Prigioni is. This reminds me...don't forget we are two months away from Bill Simmons watching the NCAA Tournament and then acting like he is an expert on college basketball. Forget Christmas, this is my favorite time of the year. Bill is an NBA expert who watches three weeks of college basketball and then figures he is an expert on college basketball as well, except he isn't at all.

Then Bill includes a picture of Doc Rivers talking to Ty Lue and writes a fake conversation that goes this way:

"I mean, Danny spends just over $35 million combined on Bass and Terry, then he spends another $36 million on Jeff Green. How can you splurge on three untradable guys in the same summer? Even Prokhorov won't take those guys in a trade! We couldn't be more screwed. I told Danny, 'I don't care how badly my son is playing in New Orleans — if you don't trade for him within the next six weeks, I'm quitting after the season and doing TV.' 

This kind of clever, but still doesn't take away the fact this is a column that is based on screenshots of a television screen. Also, why would even Doc Rivers want a combo guard who shoots 33% from the field, scores 6 points per game, shoots 31% from three point range and averages two free throws per game? Even if it is his son, I'm not sure Doc wants that kind of player on his team. There was commentary by the Big Lead that the Duke offense was holding Rivers back (you know, much like it didn't hold Irving back in the few games he played for Duke when he was consistently the best player on the floor...The Big Lead argues the Duke offense held Irving back, which is ridiculous, but I better move on now), but maybe the Duke offense made Rivers look better than he actually is. I say this because Rivers has been terrible so far in the NBA.

Carmelo's best talent other than challenging opponents to fights near the team bus as long as 10 people are standing between them:

Says the guy who cheers for Kevin Garnett, who only picks fights with small children and the occasional foreign-born center. This is a rich statement coming from Bill.

I don't think the Knicks can make the Finals (it's just too easy for good defensive teams to lock them down, and they're not good enough on the other end), but could they make some 3s for two weeks and ride a red-hot Carmelo past anyone in the NBA except for Oklahoma City? Absolutely.

So Bill doesn't think the Knicks can make the NBA Finals, but they can beat every team except for Oklahoma City, which is a Western Conference team. Doesn't this mean Bill believes the Knicks can make the NBA Finals or is this an example of Bill talking out of both sides of his mouth in an effort to later claim that he was right? If the Knicks can get past any NBA team except for Oklahoma City, this means they could make the NBA Finals. I think Bill is simply hedging here so he can eventually say he was right about the Knicks either way.

Rondo! I've written this before, but having Rondo on your favorite team is like having a cat: He's moody, he's unfriendly, he disappears, you can't count on him, you can't figure him out … and then, out of nowhere, he'll jump on your lap or start playing with a ball of string. And you're like, "I love having a cat! This is great!" That's the Rondo Experience.

All of Bill's bitching about having Rondo as the Celtics point guard certainly isn't getting old fast at all. Only Bill could bitch about a Top 5 point guard and expect to garner any sympathy.

This fourth quarter was really the 2013 Celtics in a nutshell: no second-chance points, no easy baskets, missed 3s, mediocre defense, crucial offensive rebounds allowed at the worst possible times, and if Pierce isn't making shots, then it's up to Rondo to create every single basket or we're screwed. There's a reason this team fell under .500, with a first-round massacre against Miami looming. I'm depressed. I might pour myself a stiff cocktail before we finish this column.

Apparently Bill lives in the world of the 1960's as depicted on "Mad Men." 

By the way, we are getting shakier and less focused pictures of Bill's television at this point in the column. He has one photo of the Celtics huddle at the end of the game where it looks like an accidental picture that ends up slightly double exposed. It also looks like Paul Pierce has suffered nuclear radiation and his face is slowing melting. It appears Bill is starting to mail in the retro-diary by not taking good pictures of the game on his television. So this is a mailed in column based on an idea that shows me he is out of column ideas.

That face is telling me, "Hey, Simmons, you should go on and start familiarizing yourself with the 2013 lottery picks."

There's no need for that! Bill is going to watch the NCAA Tournament for three weeks and he will be smarter than everyone else when it comes to the talent of certain college basketball players. I can't wait for comments like:

"Patric Young is a slightly smaller version of Dwight Howard with most post moves." Then Bill will insert a pop culture reference in there.

"Mason Plumlee is a slightly more athletic Spencer Hawes." Then Bill will follow it with a low hanging fruit joke about Duke basketball.

"Shabazz Muhammad is going to be great in the NBA. Did you see the players surrounding him at UCLA? He reminds me of Kevin Durant at Texas." Because it's not like UCLA was ranked earlier in the year, had a great recruiting class or Muhammad came into the season looking 10 pounds overweight.

I am sure Bill will have a few comments about Ben McLemore as well. You just never know how much of an expert he will become after watching three weeks of college basketball and getting debriefed by Mark Titus, who because he warmed the bench for Ohio State is now a college basketball expert.

Don't worry, we can still turn this season around.

Bill ends this column with a screenshot of his computer (not just the television now, but his computer...taking pictures of technology is Bill's forte apparently, so I can't wait for pictures of his recent vacation that are pictures of pictures taken on his camera) showing the Celtics trading for Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Serge Ibaka.

I know there were some who enjoyed this column, so I imagine his SimmonsClones love for him will make Bill think this column was a successful idea. For me, this is the result of Bill having absolutely no clue what to talk about when his Celtics are struggling, the Red Sox aren't playing, and the Patriots are not in the Super Bowl. His voice as "the fan" seems to becoming more of the voice of "the guy who can read email and then copy and paste this email into a column."


waffleboy said...

"Serious question: Why didn't Honey Nut Cheerios offer $3 million apiece to KG and Melo to film a surprise commercial that could have debuted during this game?">
I'm going to go out on a limb and say maybe General Mills didn't think suggesting their cereal tasted like a reality TV star's vagina is the message they're looking for a national ad campaign. I'm not 100% sure, just a guess

ZidaneValor said...

He didn't even attempt a column last week. He pretty clearly either has writer's block or too many other responsibilities. Wouldn't be surprised if he held off his next column until the Red Sox season is about to start. Then again, the Bruins are leading the division and the LA Kings are dead last.

Anonymous said...

At this point, Bill is coasting on his previous columns and his reader's unwavering support that he is the funniest, most clever writer in the world.


Great job and as always I'd rather read your stuff than mine . . . @BigCityJob

Bengoodfella said...

Waffle, you mean "It tastes like a reality television star's vagina!" isn't a good tagline for Honey Nut Cheerios? I love Honey Nut Cheerios so I have had to ignore this story as much as possible to avoid bad mental pictures while eating them.

Zidane, I noticed that. Maybe it was his week off or something. I have a feeling we will get a mailbag this week or a diary about his time at the Super Bowl. In fact, I feel very confident he will write something about the Super Bowl, even though it probably wasn't noteworthy enough since his Pats weren't in it.

Anon, yeah he is coasting at this point. I can't believe he took pictures of his television and then put them in the column. Seems bizarre to me. Kill me if I ever do that.

JJJJShabado said...

It's the half-assed nature of it that gets to me more than the idea itself. The idea itself isn't completely stupid, but if you want to do it, do it right. Tim Burke of Deadspin (@bubbaprog) does all kinds of things with screenshots, but he takes actual screenshot of the television, not smartphone pictures.

I don't read Simmons that much anymore (generally, whatever I read is here. The occasional mailbag, maybe). For whatever reason, I still like Simmons on Facebook and its a few people with our attitudes, and a few trolls, but mostly SimmonsClones. You're all right that he's coasting. He used to write good stuff.

Skip from Dallas said...

I would like to parrot the coasting observations. I must say that to my eye Simmons is a busy boy. He does podcasts, he edits Grantland, he seems to have something to do with those ESPN 30 in 30 shows or whatever they are called, he is on that NBA show that I refuse to watch, he is the self appointed chronicler of that Fast and Furious movie series I have never seen and he writes a column. Obviously, he also needs a fair amount of time to count his money. All in all, he probably doesn't have the time or energy to write high quality extended columns anymore but this isn't new news, is it? Going forward, I would guess this "new" Simmons will be the only Simmons unless he has some sort of spectacular flame out like beating the Sports Gal to a pulp, for instance.

Should I watch Any of the Fast and Furious movies. I thought they were for teenagers when they first came out but maybe I'm being snobbish.

Bengoodfella said...

JJ, I think Bill has wanted to quit writing for a while now. I don't know him, but I think writing was just a way to get his foot in the door to the world of sports. I get the feeling he doesn't want to write anymore.

I feel like his fan base has a fanatical love for him and I can't explain it very well as to why they should feel this way.

Skip, you are right that he doesn't have time to write quality columns anymore. That's part of what I am talking about when I say he wants to get out of writing. He probably should quit writing or dedicate himself to it. Of course he doesn't have to dedicate himself because his SimmonsClones will read anything he writes. I firmly believe he could take a crap on a piece of paper and people would read it. So he just keeps going half-ass because it still works.

I saw the first Fast and the Furious movie. I didn't enjoy it and have missed the rest.

Anonymous said...

Great job as always BGF. Maybe it's about time someone sent him a link to your recent articles on his work. He could probably make a column of it.

Bengoodfella said...

Thanks anon. I have a feeling he avoids any criticism of him. I would imagine he did a search for his name at one point in his career and has just stopped doing it.

Since I believe he goes out of his way to avoid hearing criticism of himself, I have a feeling he wouldn't want to read what was sent to him.