Friday, August 9, 2013

12 comments Movie Quotes to Determine Who "Won" the NBA Offseason That Hasn't Ended Yet...Guess Who Wrote this Column

Bill Simmons is back to write his column for the month. This may shock you, this column is not a mailbag, but he does use one of his not-timeless (what is the opposite of timeless?) gimmicks and uses quotes from a movie to tell us who won and lost the NBA offseason. Since this column was written in late July and all, it appears Bill thinks the NBA offseason is completely over and nothing else will happen until November. Bill uses quotes from the movie "Midnight Run," which apparently Bill has decided is a movie that has interesting quotes in it. I have seen the movie and probably couldn't quote one line, but maybe I haven't watched the movie repeatedly and that's why I can't remember these quotes. It's interesting, because Bill provides links to YouTube videos (these YouTube videos tend to run throughout his columns these days as a way to kill space) for these quotes. So it seems he doesn't expect the reader to remember these quotes either. As I've said before, it's the same gimmick Bill always uses, but simply with a different movie.

This is a choppy feeling column for me, I don't know if "Midnight Run" has enough quotes to fill out a column like this. My favorite movie ("Goodfellas"...there's a shock, no?) probably doesn't have enough memorable quotes to fill up an entire column either, so it's not a knock against "Midnight Run." It feels like Bill spends some time explaining the set up for the quote and what the quote means in terms of the movie for the reader. That's never a good sign that you have to explain the quotes that you are basing each part of your column on. It's like the old joke, that if you have to explain the joke then it isn't funny. A lot of this column is filler where Bill talks about what a great movie "Midnight Run" is, so I will obviously skip those parts.

Midnight Run? It's an outlier, a timeless classic, our least-dated '80s movie.

There is no way to measure this. Please stop making things up. Thank you.

Watching it all these years later, only a couple things feel rusty: The cars, the lack of cell phones, Robert De Niro's cheesy leather jacket, the relentless cigarette smoking and, most strikingly, the fact that anyone could bring guns on airplanes like they were Altoids. Everything else feels fresh. It's just as funny as it was 25 years ago,

I watched it a few years ago. It was funny, but to call it a classic probably stretching the term "classic" to it's very limits. It's a really good movie. "Classic" depends on your definition of the word. I'm not sure "Midnight Run" fits my definition of a classic.

Fine, I'll concede it was a good movie, but it's not that quotable in my opinion. No one cares about my opinion though, since I am the one who posts a weekly NFL roundup that has a quote from "Dumb and Dumber" in the title.

When I retweeted Sepinwall and added "Is this Moron Number One? Put Moron Number Two on the phone" (one of Dennis Farina's many classic moments), my Twitter replies quickly filled with other Farina one-liners. That made me wonder if I'd found the right medium for my annual "Movie Quotes As Awards" breakdown of the NBA's busiest offseason month.

I can't emphasize this enough. Bill is absolutely out of column ideas. He gets his ideas from Twitter and how many replies he gets to a Retweet. At this point Bill is basically saying, "What will get my readers to read my column?" and then he writes a column that gets people to read his column. It used to be Bill would write a column and the content of the column is why it got a lot of pageviews, but now Bill is basically heading for pageviews and ignoring whether the content works for a column. I'm surprised he hasn't written a column about boy bands yet and put "One Direction" and "Bieber" in the title to ensure the column gets read.

At that point, you would have bet anything that Farina was going to become a star — a funnier James Gandolfini, basically — only it never happened. That's Hollywood for you. Some people never find the right part, and there's more luck involved than you'd think. 

Bill knows people who work in Hollywood so that's why he knows this, he used to work on Jimmy Kimmel's show, and it is all so tired to hear now. I personally knew there was luck to finding the right part, but I appreciate the Hollywood insider advice. There is also luck involved in becoming whatever it is that Bill Simmons has become. He's not a writer because writers actually write more than once every two weeks. He doesn't really talk about sports anymore and his knowledge of sports outside of the NBA seems fairly limited. He is essentially a guy who does a podcast, executive produces "30 for 30" and hosts ESPN's NBA pregame show. I'm not sure what to call him.

Without further ado, here's Part 1 of winners and losers from the NBA's most hectic month.
"Marvin! Marvin! Look out!"

One of the movie's best running jokes (Jack Walsh repeatedly tricking a rival bounty hunter into turning around so Jack can sucker punch him)

Again, if you have to explain the quote from the movie, it doesn't lend well to handing out an award based on this quote. Actually, Bill probably prefers to explain the movie quotes from "Midnight Run" because it allows him to kill space and trick his readers into believing he has written two separate columns of readable content. Bill's writing is like a Peter Jackson movie, where there is plenty of content that could be cut but he is too focused on quantity over quality.

Have you ever impulsively bought a piece of furniture you didn't really need — like a coffee table or something — and within three weeks, you begrudgingly realize that it doesn't fit in with everything else in the house? And that you blew it? And should stick that dumb purchase in the garage, where it belongs? But you get all stubborn about it, so that coffee table lingers in your house for an extra three years before you finally suck it up and do something about it?

It takes Bill a paragraph to write, "Have you ever bought a piece of furniture and refused to admit you didn't need it?" He refuses to just say something and has to describe what he wants to say in order to (you guessed it) kill space.

That's Perkins for Sam Presti. He had multiple chances to stick Perk in the garage and just wouldn't do it.

A Perk defender would say that Perk has one undeniable skill: He can guard Dwight Howard better than anyone. My response: Do you really need to pay someone $9 million a year to defend someone who takes 11 shots a game and misses 50 percent of his free throws?

If the Thunder end up playing the Houston Rockets in the NBA playoffs, then yes, you would need to pay Perkins to defend Howard. Maybe not $9 million per year, but if the Thunder had not paid Perkins that amount then another team would have. Plus, Howard misses 43% of his free throws, not 50%. 

One of Marvin's best quotes goes to the Pacers, who kept David West at a fair price (three years, $36 million); brought back the Basketball Jesus (infinity years, a lifetime of basketball salvation); re-signed Frank Vogel (and just in time, because the post-Doc Celtics would have jumped on him); laid some major "Hey, Paul George, we have 80 million reasons we think you should stay" groundwork; and improved a comically ineffective bench by importing Chris Copeland, Luis Scola, and C.J. Watson. Oh, and either Danny Granger or Danny Granger's Expiring Contract is coming back — they'll get an asset either way. Translation: The Pacers are going to contend for the title again. That wasn't a one-year fluke.

You mean a two year fluke, right? The Pacers looked like they could contend with the Heat two years before in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals and managed to get a 3-seed in those 2012 NBA Playoffs. So it's really been two years since the Pacers have contended in the Eastern Conference.

The best scene with Moron No. 1 and Moron No. 2: when they're at the phone booth and Moron No. 1 is getting yelled at by Jimmy as an oblivious Moron No. 2 is fake-punching him. This movie is filled with sneaky-great moments like that one. So good.

I watched the scene again and Moron No. 1 isn't oblivious Moron No. 2 is punching him. I don't know where Bill gets it from that Moron No. 1 is oblivious to this. I thought it was clear from the video that Moron No. 1 knows Moron No. 2 is punching him.

So Minnesota finally dumped David Kahhhhhhhhn and replaced him with Flip Saunders, who promptly traded a quarter (Trey Burke) for a dime (Shabazz Muhammad) and a nickel (Gorgui Dieng),

Or as it could been seen, he traded an undersized point guard for a guy who has holes but can points on the board and a power forward who can hopefully replace some of what Kevin Love does when Love leaves as a free agent. If the Timberwolves had drafted Trey Burke then Bill would have made a joke about the T-Wolves drafting yet another point guard.

By Timberwolvey standards, those moves weren't THAT bad; they might actually turn out to be half-decent. I mean, except for the part where they gave away Trey Burke to beef up their D-League team.

And what were the Timberwolves going to do with Burke again? They have a point guard and he is too small to be a shooting guard. So....there's that.

"I have to tell you, a restaurant is a very tricky investment — over half of them go out of business in the first six months. If I were your accountant, I'd have to strongly advise you against it."
"You're not my accountant."
"I realize I'm not your accountant. [Pause.] I'm just saying … if I were your accountant … "

By the way, this is how the spacing in Bill's column ended up looking. Does he not have an editor? This is very, very hard to read without spaces between each quote.

To Dwight Howard, our trickiest investment of the summer of 2013. I covered every reason why I'd be afraid to pay him max money last May, but kudos to Dwight for making a clever basketball decision. 

This is the tricky tightrope that Bill has to walk. He has written a column basically saying no team should sign Dwight Howard for the max, but then he also has to slobber all over Daryl Morey for being such a genius in setting out a plan to sign Dwight Howard. It's a tough spot. So it appears Bill has come up with his middle ground by saying, "Howard probably isn't worth max money, but he chose the best place for him to go in Houston." Bill did say in his column on Howard that Houston was the best place for Howard to land, but simply because Daryl Morey is such a genius. So I would have to accept Morey is a genius, which I don't really, to accept this reasoning.

He wagered on a top-10 player (James Harden); a top-five GM (Daryl Morey);

I respect Daryl Morey and if he is a top-five GM then that is purely because the other GM's in the NBA are so bad. Morey became the Rockets General Manager in 2007. Since then the team has had the following records:

2007-2008: 55-27 (Lost in the first round of the playoffs as the 5th seed)
2008-2009: 53-29 (Lost in the first round of the playoffs as the 5th seed...WRONG! For some reason when I did research on this I missed that the Rockets lost the Trail Blazers. It turns out both Bill and I need an editor. I don't think it ruins my overall point about Morey though.)
2009-2010: 42-40 (Missed playoffs)- 9th seed
2010-2011: 43-29 (Missed playoffs)- 9th seed
2011-2012: 34-32 (Missed playoffs)- 9th seed
2012-2013: 45-37 (Lost in the first round of the playoffs as the 8th seed)

In six years as a General Manager, Morey's teams have never won a playoff series and have missed the playoffs in half of those six seasons. The Rockets had their problems when Morey took over, but it has taken six years to get to the point where the Rockets have a chance at better than a 5th seed in the Western Conference. Granted, Morey stole Harden from the Thunder, but he also drafted a player who is terrified of flying (Royce White) and his teams have missed the playoffs as often as they have made the playoffs. Oh, and he basically bet the next 2-3 years of the team on Dwight Howard choosing Houston when he became a free agent. Howard chose Houston, but I'm not entirely sure Morey had a backup plan. Also, by signing Howard he has alienated Omar Asik, who is a quality NBA center himself.

I like Morey and I think he is a good GM. I'm not sure I could put a NBA GM in the top-five based purely on reputation when his team hasn't won a playoff series during his entire time as the team's GM.

But what if he's never going to be anything beyond the player we watched last season, a 17-13 guy with no offensive touch who isn't a dominant defender anymore?

A 17-13 guy is very, very valuable.

Can you build a title contender around someone who isn't obsessed with winning and doesn't raise his game when it matters, but does want every spoil that goes with being a superstar? Ideally, you want Dwight as your second-best guy:

Here is what Bill Simmons wrote just a few lines ago:

He wagered on a top-10 player (James Harden); 

So the Rockets ARE NOT betting on Howard being their best player in Bill's own opinion. We know Bill doesn't consider Dwight Howard to be a top-ten player, but he considers James Harden to be a top-ten player. So therefore, in Bill's own opinion the Rockets aren't counting on Howard to be the best player on the team. This despite the fact Bill just wrote down you ideally want Howard as your second-best guy while second-guessing the Rockets' signing of Howard (and indicating Howard would be the best player on the Rockets team). Bill can't even keep his own opinions and arguments consistent.

"This thing is gonna give me a heart attack before it's over. I know I'm gonna get a heart attack."

To Morey, who rebuilt the Rockets into a championship contender without bottoming out, finishing under .500 or getting a top-seven lottery pick. 

Don't you enjoy how Bill arbitrarily stops at a "top-seven lottery pick"? This seems like a pretty arbitrary stopping point. The Rockets were the 9th best team in the Western Conference for three straight years and remember just a few weeks ago Bill said this:

In the NBA, you want to be either really good or really bad. You never want to land between those two "reallys" for long. You don't want to be squeezed into the no. 8 seed or keep finishing 12th or 13th in every lottery.

Take a wild, wild guess where the Rockets have picked in the first round over the six years since Daryl Morey took over as the GM:

2007: 26th
2008: 25th
2009: none
2010: 14th
2011: 14th, 23rd
2012: 12th, 16th, 18th
2013: none

Which playoff spot have the Rockets gotten since Morey took over? 5th, 5th, and 8th (last year). 

So basically the Rockets under Bill's GM idol (Morey) have been close to the team he warns NBA teams from being. So this Rockets team that Bill now considers an NBA title contender had a very similar profile to the type of team he previously warned NBA teams against becoming. I don't blame inconsistency for this. I blame the fact that Bill makes shit up as he goes along. Bill tends to make short-term statements that prove his immediate point and then eventually makes up another rule or makes another statement that contradicts this previous statement he made. We all make statements that in some way contradict something we previously said, but Bill is seemingly contradicting a statement he made less than a month ago. He calls the Rockets a championship contender, yet they had the profile of team he previously said teams in the NBA don't want to have.

Last summer, as he stubbornly stuck to his "I'm just gonna keep collecting assets and this is gonna work out, I swear!" plan, it seemed more likely that his 2014 tagline would read "Daryl Morey writes three columns a week for Grantland" than "Daryl Morey is the GM of the Houston Rockets, who just clinched the no. 1 seed in the West."

Considering Morey's record with the Rockets they are more likely to get the 8th seed in the West or miss the playoffs entirely. If the Rockets get the #1 seed in the West I could entertain the idea of Morey as a top-five GM.

You know what happened next: The Clippers blinked, the Doc trade got revived and finished, and the Clippers were offering Chris 107 million reasons to play for him. Crisis averted. The lesson, as always: Chris Paul runs the Clippers.

(Cut to Vinny Del Negro nodding wistfully.)

The whole "cut to Person X who nods" hasn't been funny or creative for almost a decade now. Yet, Bill won't stop. You know what happens to writers who use the same jokes over and over? What happens is they turn into Rick Reilly.

And I need to break down complicated "What ifs." Now that Howard's situation is settled, it's clear that David Stern's 2011 veto of the Chris Paul trade unleashed more league-altering "What ifs" than just about anything that's happened since 2003's "What if Memphis had gotten the no. 1 pick instead of Cleveland?"

"What ifs" are as useless as they are space-filling. Needless to say, Bill loves them.

If Stern allows the initial three-team trade, then (a) the Lakers remain contenders; (b) it's much more likely Dwight stays in L.A.; (c) Houston gets Pau Gasol and doesn't keep enough leftover assets to make the Harden trade;7 (d) OKC can't find the right Harden trade, keeps him and maybe wins the title last year; (e) maybe the incredible Heat-Spurs Finals never happens; (f) maybe OKC deals Harden last month to Cleveland for a Godfather offer along the lines of "the no. 1 and no. 19 picks plus Dion Waiters," then takes Victor Oladipo first; (g) Lob City never happens; (h) Doc Rivers never jumps from Boston to the Clippers; (i) the Celtics probably don't blow things up (and make Brooklyn better); (j) instead of bottoming out and landing Anthony Davis, the 2012 Hornets end up being half-decent (which blows up the 2012 AND 2013 drafts, too); and (k) Kobe doesn't play too many minutes last season (and maybe he doesn't blow out his Achilles, and maybe Kareem's scoring record would be in real jeopardy … )

Yet none of these things happened, so we move on...

Bill is consistently mystified by "the butterfly effect." Yes, changing one event tends to change a chain of events.

"I can't do it! I can't … these things go down! THESE THINGS GO DOWN!" 

To Aldridge, who's been dancing around a trade request all summer without making one. Why are People Who Know Things wondering if he's maneuvering to get to Chicago to play with Derrick Rose? You're not gonna believe this, but Rose's agent also represents Aldridge … that's right, the one, the only Arn Tellem. Keep an eye on this one.

Keep an eye on Aldridge going to Chicago? Thanks for the advice Bill. Too bad this was reported by various media outlets a month or more ago. But thanks for taking a month-old trade rumor and then acting like you have some inside information on this trade going down.

One of Jack Walsh's finest moments goes to the Spurs, because how the hell could this go to anyone BUT the Spurs???? I'm not even a Spurs fan and I can't stop thinking about it. One rebound away? Five-point lead with 28.2 seconds to go? Ray Allen hitting what may have been the greatest shot in NBA history?

Bill is going to need to take a breather. Ray Allen's shot was a great shot, but it may have been the greatest shot in NBA history? No thanks.

Instead of blowing things up, they brought back Tiago Splitter (four years, $36 million) and Manu Ginobili (two years, $14 million), then flipped Gary Neal for Marco Belinelli (always destined to be a Spur).

Translation: We came too far. Toooooooo far. We're too close.

Wow! This quote from an 80's movie perfectly fits the NBA situation Bill is describing. It's almost like that's the entire point of this column.

To new teammates Metta World Peace and J.R. Smith, because these are the types of conversations they'll probably be having in the Knicks locker room every week.

They also spawned the NBA's unofficial Two Knuckleheads Rule: You can win if you're counting on one knucklehead … as long as you don't give him someone to hang out with

There's really never too many knuckleheads in the NBA at the same time, so I'm not sure this completely made up rule is an actual rule or just a result of a lack of knuckleheads to spread among the NBA teams.

Plus, the 1988-1989 Pistons had Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, and Rick Mahorn on the roster and I recall that team winning an NBA Title. Fine, maybe Rodman wasn't a knucklehead quite yet, but Laimbeer and Mahorn were well-known for committing hard fouls (which is why Bill is calling J.R. Smith a knucklehead in this situation). So Bill's completely made up rule already has been proven incorrect.

The funny backstory here: Charlotte ended Boston's post-Rondo winning streak last February because Mullens exploded for the game of his life (25 points, 18 rebounds, four 3s). Now he's on Doc's team! There's no question those two events are related. 

I wouldn't even come close to calling this a "backstory" when the real story is as vanilla as "B.J. Mullens signed with the Clippers and one time he had a good game against the Celtics when Mullens' new head coach was the head coach for the Celtics."  

But if you think the Celtics were happy with how this Doc saga played out — or any insinuation that one of the league's most lavish franchises wanted to lose a top-five coach just to save a few bucks (and not because they didn't want to pay $7 million a year to someone who didn't want to be there anymore) — please note that they took out a full-page Boston Globe ad earlier this month thanking Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. We're still waiting on the full-page ad for Doc.

This would be a good point except I can't think of a time when a team has taken out a full-page ad thanking a coach for his time with the team when he retires, much less for a coach who goes from that team to another NBA team while still on good terms. So it isn't like teams usually take out a full-page ad for a coach. I'm not sure the Bulls or Lakers took out an ad thanking Phil Jackson for winning all of those titles, so I don't know why the Celtics would take out an ad thanking Doc Rivers even if the two sides parted on good terms. So I don't think the lack of a full-page ad really says much about what the Celtics think about Rivers. Players get a full-page ad, coaches don't.

"Is this gonna upset me?"
"I think it's safe to say that."

What a memorable quote!

If you clicked on these links, these "Midnight Run" quotes are all pretty generic sounding things. I know the movie was a good one, but it feels like stretching to take quotes from the movie and use them for a two-part "NBA winners and losers" column.

For the unforgettable press conference in which a bummed-out Kris Humphries, a delighted-to-be-overpaid Keith Bogans and a possibly suicidal MarShon Brooks were introduced to the Boston media by a deflated Danny Ainge and a shell-shocked Brad Stevens two weeks after the big Brooklyn-Boston trade.

But remember, Bill said the Lakers should copy the Celtics rebuilding plan. Acquire players in return for Hall of Famers that don't want to be in Boston, that's a great plan. I can't wait for the Celtics plan to go awry and hear Bill's excuse for why that happened. I'm sure it will involve a half-assed theory he makes up on the spot.

Now onto Part 2 of this column. In Part 2 Bill writes about "Midnight Run" as much as possible and goes off on various tangents to cover up for his lack of original sports-related material. You can't entirely blame Bill, because he doesn't want to write. He wants to be famous and he wants to rub elbows with celebrities. Writing was a springboard to the life he wants, but now he's stuck writing because his lemming followers want to keep reading what he writes. I believe that's why we get these uninspired columns that are the same song but a different verse from what Bill has been writing for over a decade now.

I want to make five more points about one of my favorite movies ever.  

1. I can't remember another comedy using F-bombs better than Midnight Run.

Not wanting to wait too long to contradict himself, Bill contradicts himself in this very same paragraph.

If you made an F-Bomb Movie Mount Rushmore, Midnight Run probably gets the no. 4 spot behind Scarface, Goodfellas and Reservoir Dogs. just other movie used why would "Midnight Run" doesn't make have it be no. 4 on...on the F-Bomb Movie Mount Rushmore.

(Fine, he says "comedy" in regard to the F-bombs, though I would argue I laughed a couple times during "Reservoir Dogs" so the fact I can't read can be overshadowed by the fact "Reservoir Dogs" was somewhat funny, no?..."Midnight Run" still isn't the best comedy in terms of using F-bombs)

2. Since 1996, I've been to Vegas probably 25 or 30 times. And there wasn't a single time when I walked through McCarran Airport that I didn't want to scream at the top of my lungs, "SERRANO'S GOT THE DISKS! SERRANO'S GOT THE DISKS!"

This probably says more about you than it says about the movie.

5. When you consider (a) how shameless Hollywood is, (b) how few good ideas Hollywood has, (c) how terrific De Niro and Grodin were together, and (d) the movie's second (and more enduring) wave of popularity once it started making the rounds on cable, it's surprising that Universal didn't rope De Niro and Grodin into doing a sequel. How easy would that have been? Serrano gets out of jail, blows up Jack's coffee shop and vows revenge on the Duke, followed by the Duke and Jack teaming up to get rid of him? Come on.

This idea does sound so terrible that Hollywood would make it. 

Fortunately for the Raptor Truthers, they suddenly have an accomplished CEO (Tim Leiweke) and a top-five GM (Masai Ujiri).

So we have two of Bill's top-five GM's that have been mentioned so far. He's leaving out the GM's for the following teams:

San Antonio
Oklahoma City
Los Angeles

and probably two or three other successful teams. I find it interesting of these six teams only three of them have what Bill would consider a top-five GM. I have a sneaky feeling that Bill will change his mind and over the next year call 7-8 NBA GM's as being a top-five GM.

"You can start by shutting up. I know you all of two minutes and I already don't like you."
"Gee, that's too bad. I reallllly like you."

One of my favorite throwaway exchanges 

It sounds like a good portion of the exchanges in "Midnight Run" are throwaway exchanges. It doesn't change the quality of the movie, but I feel like I have to call into question the quotability of the film.

As for the coffee/tea exchange, that's one of my favorite Grodin moments and Reason No. 79 why he should have snared a Best Supporting Oscar nomination (and would have, if the Academy had any semblance of a sense of humor).

Kline ended up winning the Oscar — for a comedy part, no less 

What Bill wrote in Part 1 of this column in reference to Dennis Farina:

Two years later, he stole every one of his scenes in Midnight Run and could have been nominated for an Oscar, but since Academy Awards voters don't respect or appreciate comedies, 

But Kevin Kline won an Oscar for his role in a comedy film. So maybe Academy Award voters do sometimes respect and appreciate comedies, but they just don't appreciate or respect the performances Bill thinks should be respected and appreciated? But no, Bill will now admit this contradiction, as if this makes it not a contradiction or something. Admitting you are contradicting yourself doesn't let you off the hook for the contradiction.

which both ruins my point (occasionally, the Academy WILL notice a comedy) and reinforces it (why embrace Kline but ignore De Niro and Grodin?).

Yeah, your point is not reinforced at all. It's just the Academy didn't like De Niro and Grodin's performance as much as they liked Kevin Kline's performance. The fact someone doesn't agree with you about De Niro and Grodin doesn't mean your point about comedies not being appreciated is reinforced. It means the Academy thought you were wrong. I do realize being wrong isn't something Bill Simmons has ever considered.

Grodin and Farina should have snared two of the shaky Guinness/Landau/Phoenix spots.

That would be three nominations for comedies in the Best Supporting Actor category. The Academy would go from ignoring comedies to overloading this category with actors from comedies.

Please. Just a classic "Let's take care of an old guy who's never been nominated before, especially because THIS MOVIE IS SERIOUS AND HAS SUBTITLES!!!" Oscars vote. If De Niro isn't getting that spot, then give it to Tom Cruise for Rain Man — that movie doesn't work unless he carries every scene, plays off Hoffman and makes you eventually like Charlie Babbitt (who's an inconsiderate asshole for a solid hour of that movie). 

Remember back when this article was about the winners and losers of the NBA offseason? It seems like a decade ago doesn't it?

You can't vote Rain Man for Best Picture (yes, it won) without recognizing Cruise. 

Yes, you can, especially when Dustin Hoffman was nominated for "Rain Man." The Academy doesn't have to recognize every actor in a movie simply because that movie was nominated for Best Picture. Hoffman got nominated, so therefore even if we assume an actor from the Best Picture nominee has to get nominated (which is a stretch to me), then this requirement is met because Hoffman was nominated for "Rain Man."

At the time, I criticized the Magic for not getting Andrew Bynum and made multiple jokes about then-new Orlando GM Rob Hennigan being overmatched. 

Let me guess, "top-five GM Rob Hennigan," isn't overmatched now?

"What should be of paramount importance to you right now is not the phone calls, it's the fact that you're gonna spend 10 years for impersonating a federal agent."
"Ten years for impersonating a fed, huh?"
"Ten years."
"How comes no one's after you?"

What editor told Bill to not separate these quotes with a double space? I really do find this hard to read.

To me, for doing such a mediocre impersonation of a wannabe NBA GM in this column. I wouldn't have done any better than most of these failed guys. Well, except for David Kahn. I would have done better than him. 

A little self-awareness from Bill. That's shocking to me. He openly campaigned for the Bucks and the Timberwolves GM job, so I find it odd he doesn't seem to think he couldn't do better than John Hammond. Not that I am complaining of course, but I didn't think Bill was self-aware enough to realize he couldn't do as good of a job as these NBA GM's do.

Imagine a crunch-time unit of Kaman, Gasol, Young, a still-recovering Kobe and 40-year-old Steve Nash, with the immortal Mike D'Antoni coaching them. Has there ever been a more abominable defensive team? Their opponents could just run offenses in the form of a layup line. Go, Jimmy Boy Buss! Keep doing the damned thing!

That's Jason Whitlock's signature-ish phrase. Let's not use it, please.

The riskiest part of the movie goes to this summer's riskiest team: The Warriors, who sacrificed two first-rounders to shed enough cap space for Andre Iguodala (signed to a very fair four-year, $48 million deal). I judge every contender's move by this question: Are you adding someone who could have played big minutes in the pressure cooker that I attended in Miami during Game 6 and Game 7 of the Finals?

This is another example of the continually moving metrics that Bill uses. He stated LAST offseason he will judge players by whether they could have played major minutes in the 2012 NBA Finals between the Thunder and the Heat. This metric no longer applies apparently and all players should be judged on whether that player could play big minutes during the 2013 NBA Finals. This is one reason why Bill would not be a good GM. He would be constantly reactive to changes in the NBA and then make knee-jerk moves in response to these changes. I wonder if Bill realizes he makes these judgments and then immediately forgets about them? I know his loyal readers don't know Bill does this because they treat him as if every word written is the verifiable truth and wouldn't dare question any contradictions he might happen to write.

We need an Odd Man Out here; unfortunately, it's going to be Barnes, who showed significant promise in the San Antonio series as an athletic 3/4 tweener (à la Kawhi Leonard).

Harrison Barnes has very few things in common with Kawhi Leonard, outside of the fact they are both minorities, both are tall and both play in the NBA. They play different types of games. I don't see it.

These Warriors will rely on him in shorter stints, probably as the best bench player. I'm not sure he's wired that way.

I don't know. I saw a lot of Harrison Barnes when he played for Carolina and he almost seems best suited to come off the bench or be a borderline starter where he can play big minutes but isn't necessarily counted on to score a ton of points. That's just me, but I think Barnes could thrive off the bench.

Why didn't Cleveland pick Victor Oladipo first, trade the no. 19 pick for Thomas Robinson (as he was being fire-saled by Houston), take Isaiah Canaan 31st (a potential impact bench guard for one-tenth the price of Jack), then either make a run at Pau Gasol (for Anderson Varejao's expiring contract plus a future pick) or Nikola Pekovic (with a monster free-agent offer)?

They didn't pick Oladipo because they picked Waiters last year and had a bigger need at small forward. They didn't trade the No. 19 pick for Thomas Robinson because that's an absolutely fucking ridiculous price to pay for Thomas Robinson. I don't hate Robinson, but the No. 19 pick? No thanks. Also, "making a run" at Gasol or Pekovic doesn't mean they would get these guys and then the Cavs would be stuck with no small forward and a tougher version of Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters or Oladipo coming off the bench.

OR, why not pick Oladipo, sign Paul Millsap (available at a discount for whatever reason), nab Robin Lopez from New Orleans (when they were fire-saling him, no less), then keep your remaining cap space for a February deadline trade?

Nobody knew when the draft occurred that Millsap would be so cheap. This is complete hindsight. If the Cavs were counting on Millsap being cheap at the time of the draft then they were either (a) able to predict the future or (b) they would know something no other team in the NBA knew. That's the luxury of hindsight. At draft time, the Cavs would have expected to spend money they didn't want to spend on Millsap. So knowing that, they didn't make a run at signing him. They didn't know he would be cheap. Stop using hindsight to question a team's decision, while expecting that team to have knowledge they would not have without the benefit of his hindsight.

After Sam Amick reported that Dwight had picked Houston, an hour or so passed, then Chris Broussard reported that Dwight was still 50/50 … and everyone KILLED Dwight on Twitter for two solid hours until Dwight's agent set the record straight (that poor Dwight had never wavered and really had picked Houston).

What does it say about Dwight's behavior these past two years that an erroneous report led to Dwight getting unfairly raked over the coals, only nobody felt bad when the real story came out?

I hate for reality to affect Bill's fantasy land ideas of what "nobody" felt, but there was a lot of people on Twitter who basically were saying, "We owe Dwight Howard an apology because he never did waver on where he wanted to go, it was just bad reporting."

"You wouldn't have change for a thousand, would ya?"
"Whatta ya, a comedian? Get outta here, you bum."
"Looks like I'm walkin'."

To Jason Collins, our first openly gay NBA player and someone who wants to keep playing … only he hasn't been signed yet. Hmmmmmmmm.

It sounds to me like Jason Collins was only a marginally talented center prior to coming out of the closet and teams would rather spend their money on someone who isn't 30+ years old and only good for six fouls a night. I'm just guessing. Maybe it is because Collins is gay, but I'm also betting his basketball skills play a big role too.

First of all, have you watched Charlotte? Just a bunch of dudes jacking up bad jumpers. Now they have Big Al, an admittedly awful defender and a black hole, but one of the league's best low-post players and a guaranteed double-team in the last four minutes of every game. Had they given him $30 million for three years, you would have liked the deal. They had to pay $11 million extra because they're Charlotte and who the hell wants to play in Charlotte? We have 30 NBA teams … would YOU want to play in Charlotte?

Now that's just low. I wouldn't want to play FOR Charlotte, but what's wrong with playing in Charlotte? Yeah, it's not Los Angeles, but it's not that bad you wanna be Hollywood starfucker.

(Sorry, I get emotional sometimes. I enjoy Charlotte...not the team, but the city.)

Here's what we know: The Bobcats can build around three polished/competitive/used-to-winning college stars (Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller, 

Wait, hold on a second...what is Cody Zeller used to winning? Player of the Year? No. An NCAA Championship? No. A Big 10 Tournament title? No. A Final Four game? No. I'm just confused about what Cody Zeller is using to winning.

"You just said you were hurt."
"I didn't say I was hurt, you said I was hurt."
"I just asked you if you were hurt and you said, 'Yeah, I'm hurt.'"
"That's because you made me say it. You're starting to put words in my mouth."
"Jack, you're a grown man, you're in control of your own words."
"You're goddamn right I am. So here come two words for you: Shut the f--- up."

 Sorry to harp, but read this. It's a wall of text/quotes. It's readable, but just barely. Who is Bill's editor? Put spaces between these quotes please.

"How much is here?"
"Neighborhood of 300 thousand."
"That's a, a very respectable neighborhood."

And here's a very unrespectable neighborhood: Ladies and gents, introducing our eight finalists for Riggin' for Wiggins! My preseason odds for each team.

I'm still not sure these "Midnight Run" quotes are memorable enough to justify a two-part "NBA winners and losers" column.

Boston (+500): If Rondo returns sooner than later, I'm worried they'll be better than everyone thinks. Especially if Brad Stevens does Brad Stevens things: Remember, he took Butler to within a fingernail-of-a-half-court-shot of winning the NCAA title. Name me anyone on that team other than Gordon Hayward. You can't. 

Shelvin Mack, Andrew Smith, Ronald Norad, Matt Howard, Kyle sure sounds like I can name the players on that team, no? Was that question only for people like Bill only watch the NCAA Tournament and don't really like college basketball? By the way, Shelvin Mack got drafted. Just saying, in retrospect that was a pretty dang good Butler team.

Sacramento (+300): Don't sleep on the Kings flopping in the tougher Western Conference. They have six power forwards (Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson, James Johnson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute), three shooting guards (Marcus Thornton, Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum), three point guards (Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette), two washed-up small forwards (Travis Outlaw, John Salmons), one center (Boogie Cousins) and one center that's Cole Aldrich (Cole Aldrich).

Or as I will forever better know Aldrich as, that guy that Bill Simmons said was better than Ed Davis.

But I do agree, Cole Aldrich is Cole Aldrich. Too bad Bill didn't always agree with that point of view.

Phoenix (+150): Alex Len coming off a serious stress fracture? Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe butting heads in the same backcourt? The Morris twins?

They looked pretty good in the Summer League.

The immortal Michael Beasley? Kendall Marshall's quest to become the worst top-13 pick since Joe Alexander and Jonny Flynn?

I'm not going to defend Marshall, but simply point out he is built for an up-tempo offense and he can't guard a fence post.

My single favorite moment in Midnight Run goes to Pierce, one of the six best Celtics ever and someone who deserved to retire in Boston if that's what he wanted to do. Which, by the way, he wanted to do.

Unfortunately it is a business and while Celtics fans don't like seeing Pierce in a Nets uniform, it is clear that Ainge learned from the Celtics trying to keep the Bird/Parish/McHale core together for too long. Sometimes it is time to move on.

But Boston wanted to buy a Riggin' for Wiggins ticket,

Everything doesn't revolve around Andrew Wiggins and he isn't the sole explanation for why NBA teams are looking to rebuild. The Celtics needed to move away from their core (Pierce/Rondo/Garnett) and start to build a team that is set up for another five year title contending run. It's not just about Andrew Wiggins but about sometimes you have to take a step backward to take two steps forward. It's very lazy to just explain Wiggins as the reason for every NBA team deciding to rebuild.

If anything happens to Brooklyn during the middle of this decade — a real possibility considering Brook Lopez's injury history, as well as a 32-year-old Deron Williams and a 34-year-old Joe Johnson making $46 million combined during the 2015-16 season — this deal could become the "Gail Goodrich to New Orleans for two future no. 1 picks" trade for this generation.

Bill called Joe Johnson a top-five shooting guard previously in this column. Not making judgments, simply mentioning this was written. Bill has a huge infatuation with players/coaches/GM's being "top-five," unless he wants to cherry-pick data to make Daryl Morey look good in which case he throws a little "top-seven" talk in there as well. 

And I don't know what the right answer is here. I really don't. The Celtics allowed Bird, McHale and Parish to age gracefully together once upon a time, followed by eight solid years of misery … and I have to say, I'd sign up for that again.

Mostly Bill would sign up for that again because he loves wallowing in his own misery the 90's were a fairly miserable time for the Celtics. Bill loves it when he can whine about how cursed or bad his favorite teams are, so it makes sense he would sign up for eight solid years of misery. Nevermind all the bitching in his columns that Bill did during the years following Bird/McHale/Parish retiring or leaving the Celtics. Bill would do it again because he thrives on this misery.

I loved those 1991, 1992 and 1993 teams because of the late Reggie Lewis,

Reggie Lewis was my favorite Celtic, even moreso than Bird in the 90's. I was a very, very sad little guy when he died. I played one-one-one against Reggie Lewis's nephew (he claimed to be Lewis's nephew and he knew a lot about Lewis that a child that age should not know) when I was in college. His nephew was around 10 years old at the time. Reggie's Lewis's other nephew was being recruited by the college I attended and this little kid came up to me in the gym and asked to play me one-on-one. He said we had to pick an NBA player to be. I let him choose first, being the nice guy I am, and he took my choice of Reggie Lewis. The conversation about why he picked Lewis went from there. I about shit my pants when he claimed to be Lewis's nephew.

but also because we kept the Big Three — because we didn't trade them, and only because they were f-ing Celtics and you don't trade your guys like that.

Except just because they are the Celtics doesn't mean they don't trade guys like that. Stop wishing the Celtics suck so you can whine about them in your columns and recall some of the magic you had in the 2000's when you could whine about the Red Sox in your columns.

Down the road, I'm sure I will appreciate it. But right now? It hurts like hell. Paul Pierce was our dude. We spent 15 seasons with him in all,

You get no sympathy from me. I saw Dale Murphy play in a Phillies uniform, saw Tom Glavine in a Mets uniform, and John Smoltz in a Red Sox/Cardinals uniform. It helps me to detach from Pierce that I know I wouldn't want to watch the Celtics struggle with aging players while they desperately try to keep the aging core together.

I think that's why Cuban kept Dirk — because they won together in 2011, and because he couldn't bear the thought of the Best Maverick Ever playing for another team. It might not be the smartest move, but it's certainly more relatable. Human, even.

By the way, this is Bill's attempt to end this uneven column on a solemn and thoughtful note.

Watching no. 34 play for the Nets will never feel right, and I will never feel good about it. Alas. See you in the next life, Paul.

Stop being a drama queen. He's not dead. You know what is dead? The "handing out awards with movie quotes" gimmick. 


Crazee said...

Man, I love when you go after the Simmons columns. You crack me up.

But to be fair:

"I can't remember another comedy using F-bombs better than Midnight Run"

He said "another comedy". And the next part mentioned three f-bomb movies that are better. None of them were comedies. That's not a contradiction. It's still dumb, though. There are much better comedies with F-bombs in them.

DG said...

Damnit Ben your not supposed to use critical thinking when reading BS! Just have fun!

It is pretty weak this guy runs a website with such superior talent than his. His sport is basketball but Grantlands own Zach Lowe puts a clown suit on his ass on the regular.

His hindsight is almost as bad as his assuming his opinion is absolute fact. I love how he can't get over his Victor Oladipo infatuation when IMO VO has a LOT to prove as a top tier prospect. Or his assuming anyone could have acquired Robin Lopez, when perhaps someone more astute would have noted that in the three team trade involving Vasquez/Lopez/Evans all three were represented by Arn Tellum (suggesting he brokered the deal to a certain extent to get each of his clients in a good spot to get playing time).

I would almost want to see him be a GM to watch the resulting chaos. He would probably gash the roster, win 8 games, then get the #5 pick in the lottery. Three months after his resulting firing his first column back complains about the lottery system.

Anonymous said...

The Houston Rockets very much defeated the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the 2009 playoffs, and then took the Lakers to 7 games without Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming for the final 3 games. They took the Kobe-Pau-Bynum Lakers to 7 games with a cast of characters like Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry, Ron Artest, Von Wafer, Shane Battier, Luis Scola, Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes, all players that Morey acquired. You can give the guy a little credit.

I like Simmons more than you do, but one thing I don't like is how he falls in love with draft prospects, and then acts like all teams are idiots for not agreeing with him. Like with Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo. He advocates for Burke in Minnesota and Oladipo in Cleveland, when neither looks like a good fit in either spot. But even at that, maybe those teams just didn't like those players. I learned a long time ago that just because I like certain players doesn't mean every team in the league does.

The Big Lebowski is a comedy that's famous for using the f-bomb a lot.

"Here's what we know: The Bobcats can build around three polished/competitive/used-to-winning college stars (Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller"

I'm going to name some recent champions, you tell me what they won before entering the league. LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Dirk get the picture. I can't think of a more worthless judgement of players than "used to winning in college." It's thinking like this that leads Bill to say Emeka Okafor should be drafted ahead of Dwight Howard (which he did).

Bengoodfella said...

Crazee, yeah I must have missed "comedy." I think I would argue that too. I guess I just read what I wanted to on that one. Not a contradiction. My bad. I go looking for them and then found one where there wasn't one.

DG, I don't overly mind his trade suggestions but sometimes I feel like they completely hinge on a lot of assumptions and Bill delivers the trade like its common sense. In regard to Millsap I don't think many NBA teams knew he would end up being so cheap, so the Cavs couldn't predict the future and know Millsap would be affordable. Same thing with the Lopez trade. A lot of "who says no?" ideas rely on some assumptive behavior I'm not sure would occur.

I think Bill's biggest problem would be dealing with the GM's. He usually talks a big game about how guys are incompetent, but then backs down when he meets the guy (see: Isiah Thomas and now Doc Rivers---who he "agreed to disagree" with). Maybe he doesn't always back down, but I think he would find the job of the GM is more than just spending a few hours thinking of trade suggestions.

Anon, yep that was 2009. Since that time have the Rockets gotten back to that point or further away (until maybe this year?). That's my point. He took a team, that I will grant you had issues, and made them a borderline lottery team that gets a low playoff seed when they do make the playoffs. I can't ignore the Rockets are close to the exact team Bill says that teams should avoid being, yet he worships Morey.

I'm not taking away credit from those Rocket teams, I'm taking it away from Morey. He's great, a top-5 GM though? Let's see how this year goes. He's not terrible, but he gets a lot of credit for a guy who hasn't exactly brought the Rockets up to contender status in the past six years. I don't why when I researched Morey's record I didn't see they beat Portland, I will make a note I screwed that up, but I don't think it defeats my overall point.

I'm not a huge fan of Oladipo in Cleveland and Burke in Minnesota. I'm not sure why those are good landing spots for them. Trust me, there are plenty of prospects I don't/do that other people like more/less than me. I hated Drummond coming out of UConn, but I would say so far I have been as wrong as I could be. It's only been one year, but I thought he was going to be a coach killer who was a worse version of DeMarcus Cousins, just without the talent.

I don't remember Bill saying Okafor should have been drafted ahead of Howard. That's pretty bold, especially with Howard's rep coming out of high school. The Cody Zeller thing killed me. His team won a lot of games, but not much else.

Hal said...

MIDNIGHT RUN wasn't even the best 80's comedy in regards to F-bomb usage. USED CARS was better.

Bengoodfella said...

I've never seen Used Cars. Because I'm a dedicated person, I even watched "Midnight Run" again before I wrote this column. Really good movie, not sure about the "F-bomb" thing. I need to see Used Cars I guess.

jacktotherack said...

And I don't know what the right answer is here. I really don't. The Celtics allowed Bird, McHale and Parish to age gracefully together once upon a time, followed by eight solid years of misery … and I have to say, I'd sign up for that again...

...but also because we kept the Big Three — because we didn't trade them, and only because they were f-ing Celtics and you don't trade your guys like that.

Fuck you, Bill. You are so completely full of shit it is unbelievable. You would trade 8 years of the Celtics being dogshit again just to let Paul Pierce retire gracefully as a lifetime Celtic?? I don't believe that for one second.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, I don't believe that either. I personally would not trade having Pierce on the team to suck for a few more years.

I probably should believe that Bill would make that trade. After all, he got popular complaining about his team's fate and whining about how cursed his teams are. He probably would love to re-do much of the early 2000's when nearly everyone was in awe of his writing.

Anonymous said...

The money quote: "7:37 --The Magic are on the clock with the first pick. If they're smart, they take Emeka Okafor. If they're dumb, they take Howard. It's that simple."

Lord knows I've said some dumb things over the years, but it's pretty funny to be so wrong and yet so confident in that wrongness.

Bengoodfella said...

Bill also didn't like the James Harden pick either. He thought the Thunder should have gone with Ricky Rubio. I'm not perfect either, but Bill loves to be confident and when he is wrong it's pretty egregious.

If you notice one thing about that column is that it isn't 10,000 words long, pithy and Bill doesn't seem to be as enamored with his own opinion. He wrote that draft diary as long as it needed to be without going off on tangents. Perhaps something he could learn to fix concerning today's writing.

Anonymous said...

"The best scene with Moron No. 1 and Moron No. 2: when they're at the phone booth and Moron No. 1 is getting yelled at by Jimmy as an oblivious Moron No. 2 is fake-punching him. This movie is filled with sneaky-great moments like that one. So good.

I watched the scene again and Moron No. 1 isn't oblivious Moron No. 2 is punching him. I don't know where Bill gets it from that Moron No. 1 is oblivious to this. I thought it was clear from the video that Moron No. 1 knows Moron No. 2 is punching him."

Your reading comprehension is off on this one. Bill calls Moron No 2 "oblivious", as in he's oblivious to Moron No 1 being yelled at on the phone.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, yeah I'm pretty stupid for missing that. I still don't completely get it, but perhaps I'm not as smart as Bill. I don't think Moron No. 2 is oblivious, I just don't think he cares. I got the feeling Moron No. 2 would have fake-punched Moron No. 1 even if Moron No. 1 was getting yelled at.

Doesn't matter, good catch.