Tuesday, June 18, 2013

7 comments Bill Simmons Thinks Tim Duncan is a Television Show Part 2

Here is Part 2 of Bill Simmons believing that sports and television are the same thing. Bill started off Part 1 with a comparison of Tim Duncan to "South Park" because they are so very much the same thing. Then he quickly dropped that comparison and started breaking Tim Duncan's career into seasons of a television show. Again, sports are not like television no matter how hard Bill tries to make it seem that way. Here's Part 2 of Bill's column about the "Duncan Show." 


Most Enjoyable In-Season Story Line for My Wife: That's right, it's the Tony Parker–Eva Longoria romance! Suddenly the "boring" Spurs were landing in Us Weekly every week, employing a crossover celebrity and having their nationally televised games get hijacked by shots of Longoria cheering in the stands. 

And yet, even this romance was sort of boring in its own way. What got exciting was when there were the accusations of Parker exchanging texts with Brent Barry's wife.

By the way, this was the season when Bowen turned into a bona fide villain, feuding with Kobe and Ray Allen, tripping guys left and right, and even inspiring me to call him "Blackjack Bowen" (so he sounded more like a WWE heel). Can you really be boring if you have Blackjack Bowen, Big Shot Rob, Ginobili, Parker and the best power forward ever on your team? I say no.

I say whether a team is boring or not is completely relative and cutesy nicknames you give to each of the players isn't going to make a team more or less boring.

That reminds me, Duncan finished in the top five of the league's MVP voting for the eighth straight season (from 1998 through 2005, he finished fifth, third, fifth, second, first, first, second and fourth). Throw in three titles, two MVPs, the Rookie of the Year, eight straight first-team All-NBAs and three Finals MVPs, and Duncan would have made the Hall of Fame off of those first eight seasons alone.

This was the same postseason when Duncan earned Best Power Forward Ever plaudits from me.

Screw the two MVP awards and eight straight All-NBA teams, getting plaudits from Bill Simmons as the best power forward ever tops all of those previous honors. I pointed out in Part 1 of this post that Bill was trying to exhibit some modesty when discussing how wrong some of his predictions have been. I stated I believe it to be false modesty given the fact he seems to be very impressed with his own NBA knowledge and the fact he names Duncan the best power forward ever as a footnote to go along with actual NBA awards Duncan received only reinforces my opinion of Bill's modesty level.

Best Game You Definitely Remember: The last-ever Big Shot Rob game! After four straight Finals clunkers, the Spurs were trailing in Game 5 in Detroit when … BOOM! Big Shot Rob scored 21 points (including five 3s), unleashed maybe the best in-game lefty playoff dunk ever, drained the game-winning shot in OT, relegated Rasheed Wallace to "How Could You Do That?" basketball infamy (for hopping off Horry to double Ginobili, and by the way, "HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?????"),

Bill has spent most of the first part of this column extolling the virtues of Manu Ginobili and he has continued to do so in the second part of the column. He just wrote:

"Here Comes Ginobili!" In the span of 11 months, Manu led Argentina to a 2004 gold medal, made the 2005 All-Star team, earned his own SI feature, caused me to write, "If I could be any NBA player, I would probably choose Manu if it wasn't for the whole 'There's a 90 percent chance my parents would get kidnapped' thing," bastardized the sport with his serial flopping (he's Patient X of the Flop Era), matured into a legitimate playoff force (20.8 PPG, 51-44-80 splits, 24.8 PER in 23 playoff games) and won over TNT's Charles Barkley for life.

Sure, Horry has a fun nickname ("Big Shot Bob") but if given the choice to double a 27 year old scorer like Ginobili or stay on a 33 year old who averages 6 points per game I may end up doubling Ginobili. Obviously this move didn't work out for Wallace, but there is a reason Horry took a lot of big shots and that's because he wasn't the most prolific scorer. He was left open to hit a few of these big shots and now he has a nickname reflecting this. If Wallace had not doubled Manu and Ginobili tied the game up then Bill would be talking about how Horry had a bad year and you can't allow a guy like Ginobili to try and win the game if you are the Pistons.

A gimpy Duncan won his third Finals MVP by default (20.6 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 42% FG, 67% FT), missing 22 of 32 shots in Games 3 and 4, missing six of seven free throws down the stretch of Game 5 (as well as what should been an easy game-winning putback), then gutting out a 10-for-27 in Game 7 that was just good enough.

Oh, I see how it is. Kobe goes 6 for 24, with 10 points in the fourth quarter of a Lakers comeback effort and Bill gets (going on) three years of jokes out of it. Tim Duncan goes 10 for 27 after having poor performances in Games 3-5 and his performance is just good enough for Bill. There's not a double standard there, not at all. It's not like Bill picks and chooses who he criticizes or doesn't criticize based on the point he wants to prove or anything.

The 2005 Finals could have cemented his "Best Player of His Generation" claim, but physically he couldn't pull it off (leaving the door juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust open enough for Kobe). Even Duncan admitted afterward, "We can play a lot better, and that's something horrible to say up here right now as we're sitting up here NBA champs."

In that summer's Trade Value piece, I ranked Duncan first and Kobe 11th.

Few people are as impressed with his own opinion as Bill Simmons is with his. Bill's own opinion is always perfect evidence to cite when he is trying to prove a point.

Record: 63-19

But that's not what killed the Spurs. Phoenix and Dallas were taking advantage of subtle rule changes that favored penetrating guards, small ball and slash-and-kick offenses (I wrote about it that spring), only the Spurs hadn't totally embraced those novelties yet.

Bill is always quick to point out when he is right about something. In that article Bill states that Tyrus Thomas is like Shawn Marion (oh, and he states that Thomas will be the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, which he wasn't), that LaMarcus Aldridge and Adam Morrison would fall out of the Top 3 in the draft (which they didn't), and Marcus Williams would have a better NBA career than "people" think (which he didn't). So Bill links the column to show the part he was correct about, but probably doesn't want us reading too much else of what he wrote.


Meanwhile, Golden State shocked the 67-win Mavs in Round 1; the precociously young Cavs shocked Detroit in the Eastern finals; and the Suns became possessed by an evil spirit in Round 2. Hold on, let's break that last point down via YouTube.

Game 1: Phoenix squanders home-court advantage because Nash butts heads with Parker, then Phoenix's legendary training staff somehow can't stop the bleeding on his nose, causing Nash to miss most of crunch time. So if you're scoring at home, Phoenix's medical staff can save Grant Hill's ruined career, coax multiple All-Star seasons out of Amar'e's ravaged knees, save Steve Nash's bum back and eke an All-Star performance from an overweight Shaq … but they can't figure out how to put some freaking Vaseline on a cut.

Apparently Bill considers himself to be the VP of Common Medical Sense. Two issues that I have with Bill questioning the Suns medical staff.

1. The Suns medical staff had more than five minutes to fix Amar'e's knees, Hill's career, and Nash's back. They had just a few minutes to fix gushing blood coming out of Steve Nash's nose. So there were time constraints involved. This is like saying Dr. James Andrews can fix torn knees and arms to where the player comes back better than he was before, so why can't he stop a player's elbow from bleeding profusely during a game?

2. It's a nose. Anyone who has ever had a bloody nose knows that they (a) aren't predictable as to why bloody noses happen and (b) they aren't always easy to stop. You can have your head tilted back for 10 minutes and still your nose gushes blood. You can have done some light exercise and your nose starts bleeding. Nose bleeds happen and they aren't always easy to stop by just throwing Vaseline at the problem.

By the way, Bill puts 21 YouTube clips in Part 2 of this Tim Duncan post. I found them to be distracting and think he tends to go very much overboard when it comes to posting YouTube clips. Sometimes a video isn't needed when referring to a basketball game that was played. I guess I should be happy this column isn't a running picture diary like Bill wrote earlier this year.

So if you're scoring at home, Duncan is like Trey Parker, Dennis Haysbert, Garry Kasparov, Mr. Spock, and Harrison Ford. Hey, Dos Equis guy, make some room at the Most Interesting Table in the World!

If you're scoring at home, Tim Duncan isn't really like any of these people, but Bill Simmons is incapable of believing he can get his point across about how great Duncan has been over his career by reciting Duncan's statistics, so comparing him to the guy that does the Allstate commercials makes it oh-so-much clearer for the reader.

Enduring Story Line: "Wait a second … did we just come within two plays of probably winning FIVE straight titles?" Actually, yes. You did.

The team that Bill claims came two plays away from probably winning five straight titles isn't a dynasty in Bill's opinion. You figure it out, because I can't. There's no award given for being close to winning an NBA Title, but wouldn't a team that came two plays away from winning five straight NBA Titles be considered a dynasty? I guess not.


Sneakiest Spurs-Related Subplot: Buford's dutiful assistant GM, Sam Presti, jumped to Seattle before the 2007 draft with San Antonio's gushy blessing. From there, he drafted Kevin Durant and proceeded to build the up-and-coming juggernaut that — SPOILER ALERT! — ruined San Antonio's title chances five years later. Was this a Walter White–Gustavo Fring situation? Not really. But it had to be mentioned.

This is what is known as "Bill Simmons shoehorning-in a pop culture reference to let his readers know he has viewed said pop culture." I'm sure there are loyal Bill Simmons readers who live and die on whether Bill has watched "Breaking Bad" so they can email him questions about the show. The idea of having even MORE topics to email Bill about and pray that their patron saint of sports answers these questions is a thrilling proposition for these people. So flood Bill with "Breaking Bad" questions SimmonsClones, he'll answer them in his next mailbag.

You're damned right I finally caught up on Breaking Bad! My TV Drama Pantheon from the past 15 years: (1) The Wire, (2) Breaking Bad, (3) The Sopranos, (4) Mad Men, (5) Friday Night Lights, (6) Game of Thrones, (7) Oz, (8) Homeland, (9) Lost, (10) 24

"Lost" has been and always will be shockingly overrated. It's a good show, but not even close to a Top-10 show in my opinion. Also, "Oz"? It's like Bill is completely plagiarizing Alan Sepinwall's "The Revolution was Televised" book. It would easier just to provide a link to the book rather than pretend this list is an original thought.

Also, good job catching up on "Breaking Bad." No one cares you caught up, and no, we don't want a summary of the NBA season based on "Breaking Bad" quotes. We are caught up and don't care that you are caught up now. Bill Simmons was the kid who went around bragging he had a Super Nintendo when everyone else had one for 2 years.

The Spurs didn't help themselves, blowing a 20-point lead in Game 1 and botching the potential game winner in Game 5, when Brent Barry got bumped by Derek Fisher while preparing to shoot a game-winning 3, then forgot to jump into Fisher to draw the foul. Oh, by the way, HE GOT FOULED ANYWAY. Brutal no-call. Just brutal.

Bill has a YouTube video up (there's a shocker) of this call and I think it was a pretty good no-call. I might feel differently if I was a fan of the Spurs. I hate the Lakers and sort of like the Spurs, but it seems to me like Fisher went up in the air and Barry worked pretty hard to get in position where Fisher could bump him. I have no issue with this no-call. If Barry goes straight up in the air and Fisher bumps him, that's a foul, but Barry actually moved to get under Fisher, so I felt it wasn't a terrible no-call. Of course Bill hates the Lakers and he can't get past this, so his opinion is shaded by that fact.  

The Duncan Show was starting to look like 24 circa Season 7. With Duncan as an increasingly creaky Jack Bauer.

Obviously Bill has some sort of mental deficiency where he is incapable of realizing sports are not like television and therefore they can't be compared to each other at-will.

The end was near. Or so we thought.

Yes, "we" thought this. Bill counted the Spurs out, so "we" all counted the Spurs out. Bill is "The Sports Guy" so he speaks for all of us.

THE DUNCAN SHOW, SEASONS 12 & 13: 2008-10

That series was only missing a sobbing Nash turning away from Craig Sager, staring into the camera and bellowing, "Yo Adrian … I DID IT!"

(Shakes head sadly) "Rocky" references...still.

Pop creating a spellbinding character that SNL easily could have parodied … a.k.a. The Coach Who Absolutely Despises These Stupid In-Game Interviews (played by Bill Hader!!!).

This skit would have absolutely fit in with most "SNL" skits, meaning it would have been shockingly unfunny and gone on way too long. Hey, there's a good pop culture analogy for a Bill Simmons column. He's like an "SNL" skit that has two funny lines in it, but he keeps writing the same punchlines over and over until the audience gets bored and the skit (Bill's columns) go on too long. There's a pop culture reference that I can get behind Bill making.

Enduring Story Line: "I know the Spurs are smart and all, but why keep running back a nucleus that peaked three years ago??? BLOW IT UP ALREADY!!!"

Which would have been a mistake in retrospect.


That's one reason why the Spurs shocked everyone by finishing with the league's best record again. The other? Familiarity.

Again, random italics are being used. Does Bill really believe he is telling us anything new by saying the Spurs play better and win more games because they have a talented core that have played together for a while? Isn't it obvious this would make a team win more games. Talented players, plus talented players who have played together for a while usually equals wins.

Their best three guys had been playing together for a solid decade; it's the biggest advantage you can have on a basketball court.

Any person who watches sports knows this. Bill is again showing us his mastery of obviousness.

Then Bill puts three YouTube videos in a row in an effort to confuse his readers into believing he is writing more original content than he really is. Look how long this two-part column is, but know there are 21 YouTube videos in Part 2 and 15 YouTube videos in Part 1. It's a two-part column with 36 linked YouTube videos. Somebody is making up for a lack of content with pretty pictures.

And here's where fate intervened: Nobody made a good enough offer for Parker.

The use of italics here is just so incredibly cheesy and overdramatic I feel like I am reading the script for a soap opera and Bill should turn his head dramatically towards the camera as he speaks these words.

The Spurs got lucky here. We also learned a valuable lesson: Keep your wife away from Tony Parker. In 2012, I took the Sports Gal to a Spurs-Clippers game and didn't feel comfortable with her being 30 feet away from him.

This is a reminder that Bill has really good seats to Clippers games. He can afford seats like this, you know. He makes enough money to buy season tickets and have good seats where he can see NBA players up close. If you didn't know that, Bill just told you. He has pictures of his seats too, which he will be glad to provide.


Who benefits most from lockout-shortened seasons with limited training camps and tons of roster turnover — you know, when continuity and familiarity matter more than anything else? I'll give you one guess. Also: Leonard and Cleveland castoff Danny Green gave them two much-needed DTAs (Defense/Threes/Athleticism) at the wing spots;

"What did they see in Green other than the North Carolina pedigree and quality 3-point shooting in college? Hard to say. The Cavs waived him before the 2010-11 season started; nearly a month passed before the Spurs snapped him up, so you can't say they jumped on him. They waived him a week later, then re-signed him in March of 2011. Less than 13 months later, he was shutting down Chris Paul in the playoffs."

Danny Green was always one of those college players who had talent and knew how to complement a star and play within his own limitations. I didn't think Green's talent would translate like it has to the NBA, but I remember him always being a guy who seemed to do it all and never try to do too much when he was surrounded by Lawson, Hansbrough, and Wayne Ellington. So I wouldn't have predicted Green would be this successful in the NBA, but it didn't completely shock me either. There wasn't anything he did poorly, but he never really stood out.

Enduring Story Line: "Thanks for the memories, San Antonio — you're done unless Oklahoma City does something REALLY stupid."

And the Thunder did do something stupid. It's almost like these enduring storylines are written using hindsight.

Secretly Fascinating In-Season Story Line: Out of nowhere, Duncan dropped 20 pounds, submitted his best all-around season in five years (30.1 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 50% FG, 24.4 PER) and generally looked like the old "Timmaaaay" again.

Someone should tell Bill that using that nickname in print looks stupid. It's not even shorter than Duncan's name, so I'm not even sure it should count as a nickname or not.

You couldn't even joke about Duncan's renaissance being about PEDs because, again, he lost 20 pounds.

The italics, man. Why the italics on the word "lost"?

Finally — finally — they're playing in an NBA Finals that everyone cares about, battling the league's marquee team and the greatest basketball player since Michael Jordan.

I guess Bill wanted to troll Lakers fans one last time in this column.

What happens if the Spurs win the 2013 title? In no particular order: Duncan officially knocks Kobe out of the "Best Player of Their Generation" conversation;

This is what happens everyone. There's no debate. The guy who wrote "The Book of Basketball" has spoken, so we must listen and heed what he says as fact. If Bill proclaims it is so, then it must be.

Parker officially becomes a Hall of Famer

Parker "officially" becomes a Hall of Famer. There's no need for a vote because Bill Simmons says it is so. If you want to truly know how big Bill's ego is, just look at the wording of this sentence. He doesn't say "he thinks" Parker is a Hall of Famer nor does he use any type of lack of 100% certainty in this sentence, he says Parker is "officially" a Hall of Famer. Apparently Bill believes his opinion is more official than the actual vote that would put Parker in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Why is there even a need for a vote? Bill says Parker is in, so he's in.

and the league's best point guard;

Or until Parker gets hurt and Bill states Rondo is the NBA's best point guard, sort of like what Bill did when Chris Paul got hurt and he proclaimed Rondo the NBA's best point guard.

you'll be suffocated by a never-ending slew of gushing stories about chemistry, teamwork, precision, unwavering loyalty and everything else that made The Duncan Show so special these last 16 years.

Well, for about 12 hours.

 After that, everyone's attention would shift to questions like "Is Miami gonna blow it up?" and "Where's LeBron going in a year?" and "Who's signing Dwight?" and "Is Chris leaving the Clippers?" and every other sexy story line that never ends up being about the San Antonio Spurs.

Guess which network will be the leader in ignoring the Spurs and asking these questions? Bill's very own employer, ESPN. "First Take" and "SportsCenter" will lead the way in anticipating and creating offseason NBA storylines just like Bill believes will be created. The people who pay Bill a great sum of money are the same people who Bill believes won't give the Spurs their due.

Just know that, if/when it plays out that way, Popovich's crew will lay in the weeds like always: steering clear of the limelight, saying nothing, subtly tinkering with their nucleus, preparing to defend their fifth title, hoping people will continuing talking about anyone else but them.

Basically this television show will be renewed for a few more seasons? Because the Spurs are just like a television show.

Even if that sounds boring … we know better.

Yes "we" know better. Speaking of "boring" wouldn't that be an accurate description of a two-part column where the author pretends a sports team is a television show and uses 36 YouTube videos to prove his point?

Of course, who am I to argue with a guy who can "officially" put an active NBA player in the  Hall of Fame despite not having a Hall of Fame vote.


Snarf said...

Glad that Simmons can declaratively state that no one liked the 2003 finals. He knows exactly what we think/thought ten years ago.

HH said...

Duncan officially knocks Kobe out of the "Best Player of Their Generation" conversation.

Yes, because nothing determines who the best player of a 15-year generation is than "which teams wins game 7 in a particular playoff series."

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, Bill hated those Finals and he speaks for all of us, so we all hated the Finals.

HH, not to mention it is a 7 game series that doesn't involve the two players up for debates as "Best Player of Their Generation."

His writing has become more and more ridiculous the more and more he seems to consider himself an expert. He really believes he is the person capable of being the VP of Common Sense and declaring who the best player of a generation ends up being.

Steve Sprague said...

I am going to defend Bill on criticizing Sheed for leaving Horry to double Ginobli. I am a lifelong Pistons fan and I started to shout as soon as Sheed left Horry, I got louder as he set for his shot and felt the gut punch as soon as it left his hand.

Also, immediately after the game Larry Brown was interviewed and while he tried to not completely throw Sheed under the bus he claimed he told the team in the huddle to not give up a three under any circumstances.

At the start of the next season there were two big story lines in Detroit. Flip Saunders replacing Larry Brown and Sheed coming back in fantastic shape (dropped 20 lbs) because he blamed himself for leaving Horry open and costing the team the title.

I don't think this is hindsight at all. Particularly given that Horry had been playing extremely well that game. So, as much as I hate defending Simmons I am with him on this one. Sheed definitely effed up. Maybe Ginobli hits a two to send the game to another OT, but that is preferable to giving up the three.

Bengoodfella said...

Steve, you are not allowed to defend Bill! I understand where you are coming from, but I feel like Bill would have criticized Wallace for not leaving Horry open if he had stayed on him. This is obviously pure speculation, but it's how I feel.

If Brown says not to leave them open, then Wallace messed up, but I would normally take my chances on Ginobili over Horry.

DG said...

The funniest thing about the article to me was the constant use of Bill's trade value column as evidence. It is like Bill assumes everything he writes we categorically store as the go-to reference for anytime we wish to reflect on former seasons/players. Keep in mind that this year's version had Mike Conley off the list, while Steph Curry found himself at #3. Not saying MC is better than SC, but c'mon now.

The Sports Guy thing is just insufferable. Referring to his wife as "the Sports Gal" is just as bad. Your not the Sports guy! If you are, stop being such a NE/Boston fan boy and realize that your title carries the burden of being unbiased.

Final point: I think I would enjoy Bill's columns if they were more humble, realizing they are just somewhat pulpy fun pieces and not hardcore analysis. I think the trade value column was a fun read, but to treat it like something to be referred upon is silly.

Bengoodfella said...

DG, he tends to reference himself a lot when it comes to what he contends to be true. It's hilarious how he uses his own expert opinion as to why his opinion is correct. I don't think he realizes how stupid it is to reference himself as to why he is right.

He is the "Boston Sports Guy" to me. He always will be. He definitely can be insufferable.

I also believe what the major change that has happened in Bill's writing is that it went from pulpy fun to hardcore analysis. His success has led him to believe that he truly is an expert on many of the topics that he is writing about. He has mistaken his popularity for being an expert on the topics he writes on.

And that's the thing about a trade value column. It is pure opinion, but he treats it like it is an absolute fact-based document. He wrote a book called "The Book of Basketball" for God's sake, he has a massive ego based simply on that.

Somewhere he has confused popularity with expertise and now he thinks his own opinion is an expert opinion.