Monday, March 17, 2014

7 comments Bill Simmons' "Fuck It, I Give Up on Writing Original Material So Here's a Mailbag" Volume 3; Bill's Convoluted Phil Jackson Conspiracy Theory

Bill Simmons taught us all how to tank in last week's mailbag that contained only one question. This week's mailbag contains more than one question, which is nice if it weren't a little sad that Bill's readers still write in to him because they view him as "the cool dad" who curses and talks about smoking pot. This week in his NBA mailbag Bill talks about Phil Jackson, "fixes" the NBA lottery (but not like David Stern "fixed" the lottery), and in a display of complete patheticism (I just made that word up) a reader wants to talk about a Bill Simmons sex tape. So that's creepy as shit.

Editor’s note: Every Wednesday from now until the final day of the regular season (April 16), I am cranking out an all-NBA mailbag for the Triangle with a 5,000-word limit. My only goal for this week: cranking something that doesn’t just degenerate into emails about Phil Jackson; Carmelo; James Dolan; the Knicks; or Jackson, Carmelo, Dolan and the Knicks.

If only you had control over things like this. If only.

Q: Shouldn’t your “Ten steps to tanking” (in last week’s mailbag) actually be steps 2 through 11? The real step one: make sure you have a first round pick in the year you’re tanking. KNICKS!!!
—Tim, Pasadena

Not really, because the Knicks aren't actually tanking. They are trying to win games and don't seem to succeed at doing so.

SG: I swear this won’t be a Knicks-only mailbag. But since we’re here, allow me to unveil my theory for everything that’s happening with Phil Jackson.

So Bill's goal was to not write a mailbag that degenerates into something about Phil Jackson and the Knicks. So naturally, the first chance he has he runs two emails about the Knicks (this answer above is the answer to the second question about the Knicks) and then discusses Phil Jackson and the Knicks at length. But of course.

So, here’s a 68-year-old guy with 13 rings. He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time, only he doesn’t want any part of the week-to-week grind of coaching.

After the Seattle gig vanished, Phil hoped to stay with the Lakers somehow. He’s engaged to the daughter of the late, great Jerry Buss, only her bumbling brother is running the franchise into the ground;

Perhaps this is overstating the case a little bit. The Lakers are never down for long. Regardless, Bill's theory is so batshit crazy....well, you will see.

Jackson needed to figure out how to pressure Jimmy Buss — a.k.a. Jimmy Boy — into giving him control of the Lakers and/or a lavish consulting gag. 

What happens next? He starts talking to Brooklyn about becoming a high-priced consultant and/or Billy King’s eventual replacement if Brooklyn bombs in Round 1. Famous music manager Irving Azoff (an A-list power broker) catches wind and alerts his embattled buddy James Dolan. You can’t let Jackson go to the Nets, he tells him. Here’s a good chance for you to swing New York toward your side again. More importantly, the Nets won’t get him.

So Phil Jackson may work for the Knicks front office because he was trying to pretend to work for the Nets front office but he really wants to work for the Los Angeles Lakers front office? He's taking a job he doesn't want because he was pretending to take another job he doesn't want in order to get a job he really does want? I know Bill struggles to get to the point sometimes, but this is pretty convoluted.

If Phil Jackson wanted to work for the Lakers why didn't he just have his agent leak out that he wants to work for the Lakers and not participate in all this nonsense that Bill suggests he would participate in order to work for the Lakers? It's not like if Phil Jackson wanted to work for the Lakers front office that the Lakers wouldn't at least hear him out or the public knowledge that's where Jackson wanted to work wouldn't have as much of an effect on Jimmy Buss as it does knowing Jackson was in talks to take a job with the Knicks would. There are easier ways to reach the outcome Bill believes Phil Jackson wanted to achieve. If Jackson wanted to pressure Jimmy Buss, he could have done so by leaking he wants a job with the Lakers if they would just give it to him.

Initially, Phil starts asking for crazy, outlandish stuff and makes a spirited run for the coaching spot of the Keep Getting Dem Checks All-Stars.

I want $13 million a year. I want to run the team from Los Angeles. I want final say on everything. I want to pursue Steve Kerr as next year’s coach.

Nice little plug for Bill's friend, Steve Kerr here. Very covert.

Now, Jackson’s wheels start turning. Could he turn things around in New York? What would this do for his legacy? He knows they don’t have first-round picks in 2014 and 2016, but they’ll have a slew of cap space once Amar’e-Bargnani-Chandler come off the books in 2015.

Just to help you understand how ridiculous this scenario Bill has concocted seems, Phil Jackson is only pretending to have interest in the Nets so the Lakers will get jealous and make him a part of their organization. But then Jackson pretends to have interest in the Knicks in order to drum up interest from the Lakers, decides he doesn't want the lavish consulting gig working for the Lakers but instead wants to be prominently involved with the Knicks rebuilding and completely forgets that he wanted a lavish job with the Lakers? So Jackson's intentions in showing interest in the Nets to get a cushy job with the Lakers results in Jackson getting a labor intensive job with the Knicks? That's one hell of a mind change there. Jackson ends up with a team he originally had no interest in, doing a job he had no interest in originally.

He knows superstar free agents like Durant, Westbrook and Love are coming down the pike. He knows there’s a puncher’s chance at LeBron. He knows he could manipulate these free agents just like Riley manipulated the Miami guys —

He could do this with the Lakers too.

play up the “mecca of basketball” thing; play up the history; play up MSG; play up the Biggest City in the World thing; play up the five generations of Knicks fans; play up the whole “if you win an NBA title here, that will mean more than anyone winning a title anywhere else” thing; go full-fledged Zen Master on them.

I recognize Bill hates the Lakers and has no perspective on them, but Jackson could play up the whole 16 NBA titles thing, play up the history, play up playing in Los Angeles where the weather is awesome, play up Shaq/Kobe/Magic/Worthy/Kareem/Wilt/Kaman (just wanted to see if you were paying attention), and play up "if you win an NBA title here then that means you are starting the next great dynasty" thing; go full-fledged Zen Master on them. The Lakers have the same stuff the Knicks have, just more championships.

And as he keeps thinking about it, he’s inadvertently talking himself into it. He knows Dolan is a horror show of a boss 90 percent of the time, but he also knows about Dolan’s unwavering loyalty to Isiah Thomas and Donnie Walsh — when you’re in with Dolan, you’re in all the way. 

Because the one thing Phil Jackson has always been worried about is trying to manage egos. I'm sure he's totally afraid he couldn't manage the ego of Jimmy Buss or Buss would fire him for doing a bad job. That would go over well.

And at some point, Jackson says to himself, Wow, if they’re gonna let me run the Knicks from Los Angeles, and I only have to come into New York twice a month, and I’m getting final say on everything, and I’m getting gratuitously overpaid … why wouldn’t I do this?

"Of course I originally had no interest in the Knicks and would rather run the Lakers from Los Angeles and I'm sure I could work a way to get final say on some things as well...why would I go through all of these hoops to land a job with the Lakers and then take a job with the Knicks?" 
The elephant in the room: Why would anyone think Phil Jackson — 69 in September, and not exactly known for his tireless work ethic during his last few Lakers years — is suddenly ready to outwork the Sam Prestis and Daryl Moreys and Rob Hennigans of the world? Could you see Phil hopping puddle jumpers from Kansas City to Oklahoma City in mid-January to scout lottery picks?

Sure, under Bill's theory Jackson wanted a lavish consulting gig with the Lakers and it doesn't make sense that Jackson used the Knicks to take on more responsibility than he originally wanted with the Lakers and he doesn't have the advantage of working for his girlfriend's brother, but this is a convoluted theory that takes up a lot of space in a that's really the most important thing in Bill's opinion. 

Would YOU want to work for James Dolan? How many times does a pipe dream actually work out? And can you really run a team from 3,000 miles away? Phil Jackson is grappling with all of these questions. 

There’s a reason the Knicks deal hasn’t been signed or announced: Either he’s waiting for Mikhail Prokhorov to trump the offer because Phil ultimately doesn’t want to work for Dolan, or he’s waiting for his brother-in-law to be to say, “Don’t go to New York, stay here, I’ll give you final say over Mitch.”

Maybe Phil Jackson would have accepted a job with the Lakers, but under Bill's theory Jackson wanted a lavish consulting gig, which doesn't seem on the same level as asking for final say on personnel matters over the Lakers GM. But hey, half-assed theories are fun, especially when the theory involves way more work and speculation required than Jackson simply telling Jimmy Buss, "I want to work for the Lakers. What position would you create for me?"

Anyway, that’s my theory. I know I’m right about the Seattle/Detroit/Milwaukee stuff and the Brooklyn/Azoff stuff, and I believe everything else is right, too. If he takes the Knicks job, I’d break down the motivation percentages like this: 50 percent shameless money grab/irresistible Godfather offer; 20 percent competitiveness/legacy grab; 20 percent affection for/appreciation of the Knicks brand; 10 percent missing the limelight/being relevant again.

There may be some part of this theory that is right. I don't think the part where Jackson wants a job with the Lakers and then tries to leverage the Nets, changes his mind and decides to leverage the Knicks, completely forgets about leveraging the Knicks for a job with the Lakers and then takes a job with the Knicks is correct though. It doesn't make sense based on the original outcome Bill claims Phil Jackson was trying to achieve.

Personally, I am 17 times more than dubious that a 68-year-old guy with no front-office experience whatsoever can save the Knicks from 3,000 miles away … while working for James Dolan, no less. Sounds like a recipe for disaster even if you’re the Zen Master. 

Better than going to the Lakers though, with Jimmy Buss running that team into the ground...well, at least until the Lakers land a couple big free agents and are back in the NBA Finals in two years.

Q: I’m already fearing what Grantland is going to become when you pass it along to your kids. After seeing the complete and total failing of legacy kids Dolan and Buss — and now we can add Josh Kroenke, too — why shouldn’t I be concerned?
—Gary, Indianapolis

Remember when Bill didn't want the mailbag to revolve around the Knicks and James Dolan? The first three questions Bill chose to answer are all about the Knicks and Dolan. 

SG: my son definitely fits that legacy-kid profile — as I wrote last week, he’s a huge pro wrestling fan with no concept of money who’s on pace to live at home until he’s 40. I think we have a new editor-in-chief for 2042! I can’t wait until he reinvents Grantland around slideshows.

See, now that's funny. Slideshows...

Q: Stop me when I get to a person who would have evaluated Milwaukee higher than you in his pre-season rankings …
Any basketball “expert”
Any basketball fan in America
Any basketball
The guy at Decca records who passed on the Beatles
Grady Little in the 8th
Andy Reid in the last 5 minutes before the season started
James Dolan
The guy in the Donner party who said, “I think this weather will hold”
—Mark, Baltimore

SG: First of all, words hurt. Second of all, the East was definitely going to be atrocious, so I thought one “lottery team” might swerve the other way and improbably sneak into the playoffs. The five possibilities: Milwaukee, Philly, Boston, Toronto and Charlotte.

Okay, let's do a little math here to see how Bill is defending this decision to leave the Bucks out of the playoffs by claiming he thought they might make the playoffs. There are 15 teams in the Eastern Conference. 8 teams make the playoffs. Bill thinks 5 other teams could have snuck into the playoffs, so he only has 2 teams in the Eastern Conference who he thought could not sneak into the playoffs. Bill is basically defending his leaving the Bucks out of the playoffs by saying he thought 13 of the 15 teams could have made the Eastern Conference playoffs and he just picked the wrong team. Why didn't he just state every team in the Eastern Conference could make the playoffs so he could cover all of his bases?

Bill just can't say, "I was wrong," he has to think of a horseshit excuse for why he was wrong. In this case he's all like, "I thought the Bucks could have made the playoffs, but I just didn't pick them to make it." This means nothing because Bill stated every team but two Eastern Conference teams could have made the playoffs, which is pretty weak. He just doesn't want to be wrong and so he covers all of his bases except two. Just say you are wrong.

I just backed the wrong team — the Charlotte Hornbobnetcats would have been an even more ridiculous pick, and they’re headed for a 7-seed. Technically, my logic was sound! My exact words from the Bill & Jalen Bucks preview (13:15 mark) …

I like how Bill links the podcast as if saying 13 of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference could make the playoffs isn't copping out completely. I'll state it here so everyone can be impressed with me, I think every team in the National League has a chance to make the playoffs this year. Now sit back and be impressed by me.

Q: The bucks are like that weird roommate that just wont leave, the guy on the couch in half-baked. No one knows why he lives here — we found him on Craigslist or something. He hogs the couch, makes our place reek, brings home monsters from the bar, leaves his bong on the bathroom. But we need the rent money so we don’t say shit. Same with the bucks. We need a 3rd team.
—Owen, Milwaukee

Owen, don't try to write like Bill Simmons. It's pathetic and unbecoming. Instead of spending 75 words describing something, just say what you mean.

Q: If DJ Augustin keeps playing at the level he’s playing now, and Derrick Rose never comes back to where he used to be, do you amnesty D-Rose? Think that might be why the Bulls haven’t amnestied Carlos Boozer yet?
—Sam, Oxford, Mississippi

SG: They can’t amnesty Rose because the Bulls signed that deal after the new CBA went into effect. But Rose’s situation reached “elephant in the room” status the moment Chicago unexpectedly resurrected its playoff hopes around Taj Gibson (making a mini leap), D.J. Augustin (super-belatedly looking like a lottery pick) and especially Joakim Noah (a first-team All-NBA candidate who suddenly turned into Bill Walton circa 1977).

The Bulls win a few games without him and all of a sudden it's time to get rid of Derrick Rose. Yeah, that makes sense to me. Also, D.J. Augustin is 26 years old and so far in his basketball career he has played for Rick Barnes, the Raptors, and the Bobcats for all but one season since he turned 18 years old. It's completely possible he's a good basketball player and no one knew because of the shit coaching and franchises he was surrounded by. I mean, when you play for Rick Barnes for two years that's already starting your NBA career in a hole. The only way it could get worse is to play for Scott Drew at Baylor. He singlehandedly kills the career of top high school prospects. Ask Perry Jones III and Isaiah Austin.

Q: If you’re an NBA GM, how much do Joel Embiid’s back issues scare you? Is he the next Dikembe Mutombo or Greg Oden?
—Mark Killian, Newton Centre, Massachusetts

SG: I don’t mess around with lower-back issues, herniated discs, surgically repaired knees, legs that aren’t the same size, slow-healing stress fractures or phrases like “getting a second opinion” when I’m thinking about taking a big guy first overall...I bet Embiid returns to Kansas next season. 

Why? So he can get Mitch McGary'd? Why would Embiid come back to Kansas next year when NBA teams clearly don't care about injury issues to big men (see: Noel, Nerlens) and he can get paid to rehab his injury? Has he learned nothing from Mitch McGary? McGary was nowhere close to a lottery pick for most of the season, had a great NCAA Tournament, and then stayed in school like an idiot. Now he's been injured all season and NBA teams are worried about his injury while also noticing he wasn't playing like a lottery pick for a large portion of the 2012-2013 season when he did play. Embiid should go pro as soon as possible.

Worst case scenario Embiid gets picked in the Top 10 (because he still will) and gets paid while never doing anything in the NBA. Best case scenario is he gets paid to rehab his injury and then is able to contribute for an NBA lottery team. If Embiid stays in college, the best case scenario is he plays healthy and like he played for most of this season then goes in the Top 3, while the worst case scenario is he stays injured or underperforms and gets McGary'd. No one wants to be McGary'd. Go to the NBA immediately.

Q: How about a rule that restricts one-and-done players to a five year rookie deal and anyone who stays in college two years or longer to get a 4 year rookie deal?
—Charles Smith, Brooklyn

SG: I like it!

Bill likes it, but because he has to be the smartest guy in the room at all times he has to top this idea. You are smart, Charles from Brooklyn, but Bill has to prove he is smarter.

I’d suggest this tweak: five-year rookie deals for one-and-done guys and under-20-year-olds; four-year rookie deals for two-and-done guys and 20-year-olds; and three-year rookie deals for everyone else. That would give prospects a real incentive to stay in school, right?

I don't think I hate this idea, but I would get rid of the 20-year old requirement and just stick with the length of the deal being dependent on how long the kid was in college. Otherwise, I think the NBA runs into issues such as:

1. Ben McLemore, was he a one-and-done or was he a two-and-done guy? The NCAA wouldn't allow him to play during the 2011-2012 season, so he left Kansas as a redshirt freshman. Does this mean he was one-and-done? Obviously McLemore would argue he is not a one-and-done to get the four-year deal, but he did leave school classified as a college freshman.

2. How will foreign players be classified? It's not fair if they get a three-year deal because they are over 21 and it's not fair if they come over at the age of 21 years old without playing a minute in college and have to accept a five year deal like they are a one-and-done. Theoretically this rule could cause college-bound players to play in Europe for a year professionally so they can sign a shorter rookie contract if foreign players aren't going to be held to the five year deal standard.

3. Even if the 20-year old standard is kept in the language foreign-born players are a problem. A foreign-born player could come to the United States at 21 years of age and get a three year deal despite never playing a minute in college.

4. Plus, the 20-year old standard would serve as a way to reward high school athletes who took longer to graduate or transferred schools a few times. Say a guy like Mason Plumlee plays one year at Duke and enters the NBA. This would classify him as getting a five year deal, right? Wrong, because Plumlee would have been 20 years old at that point, so he would get a four year deal.

Q: Trying to time this for next Wednesday’s NBA Bag — let’s say you are answering this on Tuesday night March 11. Who is the MVP right now at this very moment Simmons?
—Kent, Glendale, Arizona

SG: Durant by a hair. He’s playing for a 1-seed and averaging a 32-8-6 with 51-40-87 shooting splits and a 30.3 PER. It’s one of the greatest non-MJ/non-Wilt offensive seasons ever. This is NOT a 1993 Barkley/MJ or 1997 Malone/MJ situation — Durant is a better all-around player than Barkley and Malone, and LeBron isn’t quite MJ (it’s true). And yet, LeBron could absolutely pass him with a monster finish.

"Durant by a hair," but LeBron could pass him "with a monster finish." So, Durant is barely the MVP, but LeBron is going to have to have a fantastic finish to the season in order to pass Durant. It's all generalities, but I'm not sure this makes sense.

One of my dopier proposals: that the weight of the MVP trophy should vary depending on the impressiveness of the MVP season. So if Derrick Rose’s 2011 MVP was a 10-pound trophy, then Shaq’s 2000 MVP or MJ’s 1996 MVP were 40-pounders. I mention this only because you rarely see head-to-head 40-pound trophy seasons battling for the same MVP. 

Bill is right about this. It is a dopy idea. Who would judge the impressiveness of the MVP? It's too subjective to be considered a serious idea.

Q: Read your tanking piece. How would you fix the lottery Simmons? You never said what you would do. —Thomas B., Chicago
SG: It’s a two-part idea …

But it's only partially convoluted, so Bill doesn't consider it to be one of his better ideas.

1. Guarantee only the first seven playoff spots in each conference.

Everyone else gets thrown into a single-elimination, 16-team tournament (my old Entertaining As Hell Tournament idea) as the 14 playoff teams rest up. Your final two EAHT teams get 8-seeds, then play a “championship” game. The stakes? The winner gets the choice of which no. 1 seed to play in Round 1, as well as lottery eligibility for that year’s draft.

Okay, fix the lottery by allowing each team that is tanking (and teams would still tank) a chance to make the playoffs AND a chance at a lottery pick. How would this prevent the 76ers from putting a shit team on the court? They don't care to make the playoffs and know they will make the lottery no matter what happens. If they happen to win this tournament, then they get a lottery pick anyway.

2. Every lottery team gets the same odds for the first four picks.

We’re returning to the late 1980′s model — 14 lottery teams plus our EAHT winner get 1-in-15 odds for the no. 1 pick, 1-in-14 odds for no. 2, 1-in-13 odds for no. 3, and 1-in-12 odds for no. 4. After that, every subsequent pick goes by record (worst team picks fifth, etc). Would the 2014 Sixers commit self-sabotage if the end result was “You’ll embarrass yourself at the EAHT, and you’re only guaranteeing yourself no better than the no. 5 pick”? Maybe not.

The 76ers are supposedly tanking when they know they can guarantee themselves no better than the no. 4 pick, so what kind of difference would guaranteeing they could do no better than one pick back to no. 5 make? I don't think moving the pick back one spot is going to prevent teams who tank from tanking.

Last point (and I’ve made it before): It’s not the worst thing ever if a decent team wins the lottery. Was it bad when the Bulls got Derrick Rose, or the Magic teamed up Shaq and Penny Hardaway? If you’re making the case “Don’t we have the right to protect certain bumbling franchises from being stuck at the bottom year after year?” — I mean, isn’t that their own fault?

I understand what Bill is attempting to say here because there are teams that are terrible every year, but he fails to understand two things:

1. By not giving lottery picks to crappy teams, then he is increasing the odds these crappy teams will stay crappy and will be forced to look into free agency for impact players...which based on some of the decision making of these crappy teams, means they will get even crappier by handing out bad contracts.

2. Not every team in the lottery is a bad team that is bumbling and stuck at the bottom. The Thunder built their current team through the draft, the Bulls built their current team through the draft, and the Pacers built their current team through the draft. Granted, not all of these teams built their current team using only lottery picks, but there are not-crappy teams who are in the lottery. So it's a bad assumption to believe only bumbling teams are in the lottery from year-to-year. Some teams are able to build through the draft. I do get Bill's point, but wanted to mention there are exceptions.

I’ve joked before about being an NBA Republican, but seriously, why enable these losers? If you can’t produce a winning franchise, sell it to someone else. The league needs to stop protecting teams from themselves — we give them amnesties to make up for boneheaded roster moves, luxury tax money to reward them for being cheap, and better lottery odds to make up for being dumbasses.

I tend to agree with Bill on this. I don't want the NBA enabling terrible teams who can't produce a winner, but taking away lottery picks from these teams isn't the way to achieve the goal of putting a winner on the court.

If there’s a way to steal soccer’s relegation system — the top 26 teams stay in the league, the bottom four get relegated — I’m all for it. Could you “add” five European teams, beef up the D-League so it’s made up of five loaded D-League teams, then create a separate 14-team league that operates like a poor man’s NBA? It’s not the craziest idea in the world, right?

It's not crazy, but it's very complicated. This is also where Bill ignores the real world effects of this idea. No NBA owner is going to allow his team to be relegated and allow his team to be a part of a European and D-League-combined league. It's not happening. Terrible owners love money too and they aren't giving up money and fans coming to their games so the NBA can punish them for being a terrible owner.

Q: You’ve given names like Sorry for Jabari and Riggin for Wiggins for this year’s Tankapalooza. What would have been the best hypothetical tanking taglines for names of actual top historical NBA picks? My favorite historical ones are “F-ing Up Games For King James” and “Coward for Howard.”
—Justin, Indianapolis

SG: Thanks for ruining the last two hours of my life — I just went down a rabbit hole to come up with dumb phrases like “Tragic for Magic,” “Unworthy for Worthy” and “P.U.-ing for Ewing.” Your historical winner: Joe Smith in 1995 … that’s right, “Shitty for Smitty.” Unbeatable.

What a shock. Bill's idea is better than his reader's idea. Didn't see that coming. How about "Not Dandy for Olowakandi" or "Going Down for Brown." Maybe "Whiffin' for Griffin" or "Sucking for Duncan." Perhaps "Robbin' Fans for Robinson."

What am I thinking? Bill's ideas are always the best ideas.

SG: And on cue … they lose to OKC last night! I still like this Rockets team. Dwight looks like 88 percent of the old Dwight.

Funny how Bill wrote an entire column basically warning NBA teams to stay away from signing Howard, but then Bill's boy Daryl Morey signs Howard and Bill starts to think maybe signing Howard wasn't such a bad move. Funny how that works. Bill stating Howard is 88% of the old Dwight is essentially him saying he was (temporarily) wrong about Howard, make no mistake.

Harden nudged himself into the MVP Not Named Durant or LeBron race with his recent offensive explosion; I even saw him play defense two or three times. Chandler Parsons is gunning for a title, a new contract and the chance to redeem The Bachelor franchise after Juan Pablo nearly ruined it. Patrick “Red Bull” Beverley inspired a Grantland Appreciation Email Thread with me, Andrew Sharp and Chris Ryan just yesterday. Their supporting cast (Terrence Jones, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, etc.) isn’t terrible.

And remember the Rockets were one of those teams that Bill insists NBA teams should try to avoid being. Teams that are always in contention for the 8-seed and draft in the teens for a period of time. Somehow the Rockets managed to be close to playoff contention and still put together a good team. Yet, Bill doesn't acknowledge this exception to his theory.

Q: I watch and read everything from Grantland and I can see we are all struggling with your Kevin Durant nicknames … may I submit “The Slendertainer?” —Paul, Macau
SG: You cannot.

Then there are these times when Bill actually is more clever than his readers.

Q: What are your thoughts on the addition of a four-point line? —Cody, San Luis Obispo

SG: Only for the first three quarters, and only for half-court shots.

I'm very excited that Bill Simmons doesn't run the NBA or pretty much any other sport, because so many of his ideas turn the sport into a circus. He always has half-baked ideas that would turn a sport into something more like a game show than an athletic event. A four point line from half-court sounds great, but I can't imagine how this would work effectively and wouldn't change the sport of basketball for the worse.

Q: The NBA has to start over and you are building a team from scratch. Which power forward do you take to build this team around? Love 

Kevin Love...sorry, go ahead and finish. 

or Griffin?
—George B, London

SG: Let’s see one Kevin Love team finish over .500 before we compare him to the league’s no. 3 MVP choice and breakout superstar.

I don't think Kevin Love should be judged by how many times his team has finished above .500. It just seems unfair. Also, hasn't Bill spent many hours and words (including in this mailbag) about how the Timberwolves have screwed up the draft? So why judge Love based on the fact his GM makes terrible decisions? In fact, here is what Bill wrote in this very mailbag:

Here’s an idea: If you want to avoid the bottom, make better picks, make smarter trades and spend your cap money wisely. Minnesota had four top-six picks in three years and ended up with Jonny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, Wes Johnson and Derrick Williams. 

Then Bill began discussing how teams like the Timberwolves should not get a chance to draft in the lottery due the team not drafting well. But yeah, judge Love versus Griffin based entirely on the fact Love has crappy players around him while Griffin has Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Jamal Crawford surrounding him. I mean, come on, judge each of these power forwards on their ability. Don't judge them on the overall team around them. Bill has to be smarter than this.

Q: Do you remember Otto Porter? I’m generally concerned because he was drafted third overall. Is he still alive?!
—Danny D., Philly

SG: He’s actually still alive. I Googled it and everything. He’s played a whopping 254 minutes this season! Since 1990, only three top-three picks have played less than 500 minutes as rookies: Greg Oden (missed the year because of knee surgery), Darko Milicic (played 159 minutes for Detroit) and Otto Porter. To put that in perspective, Kwame Brown, Pervis Ellison and Hasheem Thabeet all passed the 800-minute mark as rookies. Even Anthony Bennett played 647 minutes before recently going down with a knee (h/t Al Michaels).

Porter has been a disappointment, but to be fair he practiced with the Wizards for the first time on November 24. So while pointing out injuries to Bennett and Oden, it must be pointed out that Porter has been injured and out of shape for most the year. I feel like this needs to be added.

Q: I just spent a few hours thinking of what the best title would be for your celebrity sex tape. My choice was “Yup, these Are My Testicles.” Any ideas?
—Jeremy Gurstel, Washington, D.C.

These are Bill's readers. They are so obsessed with him they imagine what they would call a sex tape featuring Bill. This reader is so fucking creepy he wants to talk about Bill's testicles on a sex tape. Bill's readers have an unhealthy obsession with him. It's pathetic.

SG: At least I’m not as weird as Jeremy Gurstel! Since we’re here, um … “Now I Can Grind in Peace”? “Dirty for Thirty”? “Yup, These Are My Liters”? Wait, why am I helping you?

Because you are somewhat excited about the fact your readers are such lemmings they want to see you star in a sex tape? It's a little endearing to you because it means you are popular enough for someone to think of a sex tape with you in it? It's all perverse to me.

Q: Three of my totally straight friends and I were trying to decide who the best-looking NBA player is. The four finalists were: Chris Paul, DJ Augustin, George Hill, and Courtney Lee. Next question: “Whom would you LEAST want your wife to sleep with?” Everybody changed their answers and the new finalists were Kendrick Perkins, Reggie Evans, Nikola Pekovic, and Blake Griffin. We all agreed Ibaka could not be considered for a reason that you once mentioned a few months ago. We took the following into account: ferocity, physique, consistency of effort, and crazy factor. So my question to you is, if you could guarantee your wife stayed away from one current NBA player who could toss her like uncooked pizza dough, who would it be (besides Ibaka)?
—Joey, Ann Arbor

I feel true sympathy for these people who write into Bill.

SG: I forwarded this email to my wife, if only to see if she’d laugh at the “uncooked pizza dough” joke. (She did.) Her response …
“Ibaka then JJ Redick then Blake. Why didn’t Redick make the list?”

Hilarious. So, until next week's mailbag where I presume Bill will have another convoluted theory or two and his readers will continue to be creepy in their worship of him. 


franz said...

really bad "article" by bill. none of it made any sense. i like the relegation idea, but it doesn't solve tanking. the 4-point shot idea is simply stupid and doesn't improve the game of basketball in any way. how does he not see this? doesn't he play basketball every weekend with this celebrity friends?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Bill on Kevin Love, at least somewhat. If Kevin Love's a true superstar, I don't think it's too much to ask that he at least sniff the playoffs once. Charles Barkley used to take bad Sixer teams to the playoffs. LeBron drug bad Cav teams to the playoffs, and once even the Finals. The Lakers made the playoffs once with Kobe and a bunch of scrubs. That's not to say Love is bad or anything, but maybe he isn't such a superstar worth max-level money. Blake Griffin kept the Clippers afloat when Paul went down, while Love has done no such thing.

And is Minnesota really so bad anymore? Between Rubio, Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer...I mean, isn't this at least a professional supporting cast? Is Nowitzki really getting so much more help from Monta Ellis, Sam Dalembert and Devin Harris? I feel like I wouldn't pay max-level money for a guy who's never been the best player on a playoff team.

JBsptfn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBsptfn said...

I really don't buy Simmons' theory about Phil Jackson. And, as for the Lakers, I don't want them to return to prominence for a long time.

They got their titles with players that they never should have had, like Kareem, Magic, Worthy, and Shaq. They got them because of the stupidity of the other organizations.

Now, there will be some that say that the NBA isn't as good when the Lakers are losing. You know who says that? Laker fans and morons.

As for the "Yes, those are my testicles" comment, that is just par for the course with a Simmons mailbag. I just want to bang my head against the wall.

Bengoodfella said...

Franz, I think four points for a halfcourt shot isn't a very good idea. Especially when it's only used at certain points during the game.

Anon, I understand your point but I still find it hard when comparing two players to just dismiss one as not comparable simply because his team hasn't been in the playoffs. I think it's an unfair thing to do when comparing the players without using any other supporting evidence. I probably wouldn't have had an issue with it if he had stated it like you did.

JB, I'm not a Lakers fan either. I don't want them to be good again, but they will be. Even Jimmy Buss can't stop it from happening.

The testicles thing was frightening. I worry about that person.

DG said...

Interesting tweet from Zach Lowe, in regards an article he posted about tanking today:

"Note: A couple solutions were not mentioned, including relegation, simply because they are not realistic or being considered in any way."

I really don't get how Zach can work for this moron.

Bengoodfella said...

You know, other than money I'm not sure how he can work for Bill either. It's gotta be money.

I saw that Lowe article and haven't read it yet. Relegation just isn't a feasible option. No owners would admit they are terrible and intentionally try to hurt the value of their team.