Friday, March 28, 2014

2 comments Bill Simmons' "Fuck It, I Give Up on Writing Original Material So Here's a Mailbag" Volume 4; Now It Seems Bill is Running Out of Mailbag Questions to Answer

Bill spun a Phil Jackson-related conspiracy in his last "real" mailbag, as well as suggested that NBA owners should be willing to relegate their team to a lower division for running an incompetent franchise. We all know business owners are quick to punish themselves for being crappy at running their business. One of Bill's readers also proposed the idea of a Bill Simmons sex tape and then wanted to talk about Bill's testicles, because that's just how pathetic his readers are. This week Bill retroactively looks back at the trades that involved draft picks from the 2014 NBA Draft and uses the "Khan" joke for probably the 9,000th time.

Editor’s note: We’re taking next Wednesday off from the NBA Bag, then writing three more for the Triangle on April 2, April 9 and April 16 (last day of the regular season).

What do you know? Bill has given up writing original material and now he can't even churn out a mailbag on a weekly basis. 

We might keep it going through the playoffs if the questions are good enough.

If Bill can think of enough questions to ask himself. 

Every NBA Bag has a 5,000-word limit. As always, these are actual emails from actual readers.

Of course they are. They are actual emails from actual readers and Bill didn't write any of these questions himself. I completely believe that. 

Q: If I was (Suns owner) Robert Sarver, do I pray to make the playoffs? Or do I see that Minnesota is only one spot below me, and that I get their top 13 protected pick if my team can out-suck them down the stretch?
—David Bruxvoort, Ames

SG: Good lord, I didn’t even know about that stealth tanking angle! 

It's not really a stealth tanking angle. It is just a higher form of tanking. It's losing games so you can get an additional draft pick. Though if the Suns did this then it would put them in (what Bill claims) is the dreaded draft spot just outside the lottery or barely in the lottery where no NBA teams want to be, right? Bill has said when referring to the Milwaukee Bucks that the 8th seed in the playoffs isn't where a team wants to be in order to improve. So I'm sure Bill answers the question mentioning this theory of his, right? Actually, Bill never really answers the question. And here I thought that was the point of a mailbag, to answer questions from readers. It turns out the purpose of a mailbag in Bill Simmons' opinion is to give him a reason to go off topic about something he wants to discuss that isn't directly related to the question being asked.

We’ve spent the season dealing with so many pick swaps, protected picks and semi-protected picks, even I can’t keep track

Bill is more intelligent than everyone else so if he can't keep track of the pick swaps, then Bill knows no one else can keep track.

Last week, I found out my poor father was rooting against Atlanta every night because he thought our Celtics had Atlanta’s first-rounder; actually, we’re almost definitely getting Brooklyn’s first-rounder.

And because rooting against a team has real world implications, Bill's father has altered the NBA landscape by being personally responsible for a few Hawks losses.

So let’s figure it out. If only for Dad’s sake. The following teams have their own picks: Milwaukee (no. 1, with the highest odds to win the lottery), Philly (2), Orlando (3), Boston (4 – LET’S DO THIS!!!!!), Utah (5), L.A. Lakers (6), Cleveland (9), Phoenix (14), Chicago (19), Toronto (20), Memphis (21), Houston (25), L.A. Clippers (26), Miami (27), OKC (28) and San Antonio (30). The other 15 teams either traded their picks or traded protected versions of those picks. We’re putting those trades in one place because, for whatever reason, this hasn’t been done well enough yet.

Bill is the first person to put all of these trades in one place. Who says "no" when given the chance to read about all of these NBA trades? Not anyone, that's for sure. NO ONE DENIES THIS!

FYI, I dumbed down the trade details as much as possible.

Thanks, Bill. The rest of the world isn't up to your intellectual standard, so I'm glad you dumb the trades down for your readers. Everyone is stupid except for you.

See the man's ego? He hasn't even started writing the answer to the email that is asking a completely different question from the answer Bill is giving and he has twice subtly mentioned how he considers himself to be smarter than anyone else.

The Trade: Last June, Philly sent Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel, a top-five protected 2014 pick and a nine-month loss of dignity (expires April 16).

They’re losing this pick and they know it. You gotta love the Cans — they trade Chris Paul for 12 cents on the dollar

Now let's be fair, Bill. The Pelicans had a trade which would have given them Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and the Rockets 2012 first round pick at #16 (which turned out to be Royce White but given the fact the Rockets now had Pau Gasol probably would have been higher...or maybe not). The Pelicans were in a tough spot at that point because they had lost leverage and weren't able to make the one trade they wanted to make, had a pissed-off superstar, and had their options narrowed through David Stern's meddling. It's ridiculous to blame them for trading Paul to the Clippers for the package they got, because they tried to do better and the NBA would not allow them to.

Trade No. 1: In 2011, Denver sent Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York for Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, an unprotected 2014 pick, a 2016 pick swap and three boxes of JD & the Straight Shot’s new CD, Don’t You Know Who My Dad Is?

James Dolan, Isiah Thomas, David Kahn...Bill really takes repeated cheap shots at the low-hanging fruit doesn't he? That's until he meets them in person, at which point they come to an "understanding" brokered by the king of annoying broadcasters, Gus Johnson.

Trade No. 2: In a 2012 four-teamer, Orlando lost Dwight Howard and basically gained Arron Afflalo, Moe Harkless, Nic Vucevic, the inferior Denver/New York pick (in 2014), and a lifetime reprieve from Dwight’s farts on the team plane.

It's amazing what an NBA team can receive back for a superstar when the commissioner doesn't do the owners' bidding by blocking a perfectly reasonable trade for that superstar.

2014 Draft Ramifications: Right now, Denver gets no. 10 (from New York), Orlando gets no. 12 (from Denver), and New York gets a situation so dire that it just panic-splurged $60 million on a 68-year-old GM who’s never done the job before, might commute from California, hasn’t been around the league for three solid years and is already openly admitting things like, You probably won’t see me at the draft combine. Sounds promising!

I can't believe that Phil Jackson took the Knicks job just so he could land a job with the Lakers. Considering Jackson now actually has a job with the Knicks, and not the Lakers, I'm not sure how his brilliant plan to land a job outside of the Lakers and make Jimmy Buss jealous enough to offer him a job within the Lakers organization is working, but I'm sure Bill has a half-assed theory about this.

Trade No. 1: In 2011, Cleveland sent J.J. Hickson to Sacramento for Omri Casspi, Sacramento’s future pick (protected 1-12) and a signed, sealed confession from Geoff Petrie that he’d given up and was just trying to hurt the Maloofs with stupid trades.

Trade No. 2: In January, Chicago traded Luol Deng for Andrew Bynum’s overweight/frowning/limping cap ghost and that same Sacramento pick.

2014 Draft Ramifications: Assuming the Kings keep this pick (and they will — it’s no. 7 right now), it rolls over to 2015, 2016 or 2017 (top-10 protected). Unfortunately for Chicago, no Sacramento first-rounder has fallen outside the top 10 since 2008 — it’s like holding a blank personal check from Lindsay Lohan.

Oh, a Lindsay Lohan joke. It must be 2008 again.

Tanking Potential: No need … although Sacramento and Boston have done the best jobs of anyone at playing hard for 45 minutes and then blowing games late. They’ve really made it an art form.

Come on, like Bill wasn't going to drag the Celtics into the discussion at some point? Bill can't go an entire mailbag without talking about his favorite team and slobbering all over how other teams may tank but the Celtics are too competitive to tank. They just don't have a very good team on the court, so that's why they lose games. Other NBA teams put a bad team on the court and that's tanking, but not the Celtics. They may be putting a non-competitive team on the court but they are definitely NOT tanking.

While we’re here, kudos to the Celtics for how they’re taking advantage of this “Rondo can’t play back-to-back games yet” rule. Last week, they played him in an unwinnable game in Indiana on Tuesday, then sat him for a totally winnable home game against New York 24 hours later. Yes, they lost both games. Now that’s how it’s done, my friends.

Okay, I think I'm confused. So the Celtics aren't tanking, they just play hard, unlike the other teams that are tanking who don't play hard? So the Celtics are tanking, but trying really hard while tanking, which differentiates them from other teams who are tanking? But of course. The Celtics are special and so are you, Bill!

I caught Cleveland in person on Sunday against the Clips — that’s the most miserable visiting team I’ve seen in a couple years. They make the Kings or Wolves look like the 2008 Celtics.

It never stops and it never will. The Boston Sports Guy has to go back to what he knows.

The Trade: A 2012 three-teamer in which New Orleans got Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick, Phoenix got Wesley Johnson and Minnesota’s top-13 protected pick, and ’Sota got cap space and yet another segment for the future Emmy-winning 30 for 30 KAHHHHHHHHHHNNN!!!!!

Then Bill embeds the YouTube clip as he always does when mentioning David Kahn and further punches this one-note joke into the ground. For added effect, he also embeds a "Kahn" .gif, because no joke gets old after the 9000th time it has been told. Bill learned this from his friend Jimmy Kimmel. Did you know Bill used to work on Jimmy Kimmel's television show and Bill is friends with Jimmy Kimmel? He totally is. Do you want Bill to prove it by calling Kimmel right now? He'll do it.

Tanking Potential: Very low. Phoenix (29 losses) only gets that pick by reverse-passing Minnesota (32 losses). Not on Jeff Hornacek’s watch! Not on Goran Dragic’s watch!

The Suns could always do what the Celtics do, which is try really hard all game and then lose at the end. This isn't tanking, but trying really hard yet failing because there are purposely few quality NBA players on the roster...which is totally different from tanking.

Trade No. 1: In 2012, Atlanta sent Joe Johnson to Brooklyn for expirings, plus a 2013 first-rounder (no. 18: Shane Larkin), plus the right to swap first-rounders in 2014 and 2015, plus a 12-hour nap until the drugs wore off.

Trade No. 2: Boston sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn for expirings and Gerald Wallace’s contract, plus the lesser Atlanta/Brooklyn first-rounder in 2014, plus unprotected first-rounders in 2016 and 2018, plus the right to swap firsts in 2017. This wasn’t a trade as much as a pillaging.

It was a pillaging except for the fact the Celtics had to take on three years of Gerald Wallace's contract and these first round picks don't mean anything if the Celtics don't use these picks to draft good players who contribute. Basically, what Bill refers to as a "pillaging" right now could easily be the basis for a Bill Simmons column in 2019 about how Danny Ainge ruined the Celtics franchise through stupid draft picks and personnel moves. If I had a good memory, I would try to remember Bill wrote this when 2019 comes around and Bill is doing some of his usual whining (or straight-out ignoring of a team by becoming a "widow") when the Celtics becomes non-competitive for more than one season.

2014 Draft Ramifications: Right now, Atlanta gets no. 15 (from itself), Boston gets no. 18 (from Brooklyn) and Brooklyn gets a draft STD. Hey, Minnesota — what about no. 4, no. 18 and Jared Sullinger for Kevin Love? Come on, you gave us KG and Big Papi, it’s tradition!

Actually Ortiz was a free agent, so the Twins didn't "give" Ortiz to the Red Sox, Ortiz chose to sign with Boston. I also love how Bill just can't stand the rebuilding period it will take for the Celtics to be competitive again and wants to have the Celtics trade for Kevin Love. I wonder how Bill would handle it if his team really had a 2-3 year rebuilding process where that team wasn't competitive for 2-3 seasons? I'm guessing he wouldn't handle it very well.

The Trade: So this one gets convoluted.

Well gosh, I hope we can understand it. Just use small words please. 

Right after the lockout ended, Dallas traded a future pick (top-20 protected) to the Lakers for the Artist Formerly Known As Lamar Odom, four Keeping Up With the Kardashians cameramen, three missed urine tests and five unexcused absences to be named later. Whoops. L.A quickly flipped that pick to Houston to dump Derek Fisher’s contract (for Jordan Hill). In October 2012, Houston re-rerouted that pick to OKC in the James Harden hijacking.

Boy, that was complicated. So basically, Oklahoma City should never have traded James Harden. That's the vibe I'm getting.

Since we’re here, check out these numbers since the All-Star break.

James Harden: 26.7 PPG, 6.4 APG, 4.5 RPG, 49% FG, 42% 3FG, 37.6 MPG

Jeremy Lamb: 3.6 PPG, 0.4 APG, 1.8 RPG, 29% FG, 21% 3FG, 12.2 MPG

Steven Adams: 2.0 PPG, 0.2 APG, 3.8 RPG, 53% FG, 00% 3FG, 16.1 MPG

I think since we are talking about James Harden, remember when Bill didn't like that the Thunder picked Harden over Rubio? Bill wishes you would forget this, but it happened.

I recognize this trade isn't going to be equal, but Steven Adams would have been a sophomore in college right now and Jeremy Lamb would be a senior in college at this point. I also recognize that James Harden is only 24 years old himself, but it's not like Adams is even close to a finished product for the Thunder.

The Trade: Golden State traded the Richard Jefferson–Andris Biedrins–Brandon Rush expirings plus unprotected picks in 2014 and 2017 to Utah for cap space, a prolonged handshake and five autographed copies of Karl Malone’s upcoming autobiography, Hunting for Little Mexican Girls.

2014 Draft Ramifications: Right now, Utah gets Golden State’s 23rd pick. You know what’s not mentioned enough? Utah allowed Al Jefferson (killing it in Charlotte) and Paul Millsap (an All-Star) to leave so they could take on $24 million of bodies … just to eventually get the 23rd pick in the 2014 draft and a 2017 unprotected pick, as well as some unabashed 2014 self-sabotage.

The issue is that the Jazz would have had to pay Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson to stay in Utah, which would have cost quite a bit of money on a long-term deal (at least for Jefferson) and it's not like the Jazz were going anywhere with Millsap and Jefferson on the roster. I have a feeling if the Jazz had re-signed both of those guys then Bill Simmons would have made jokes about the Jazz re-signing two players from a non-playoff team that play the same position and then end the discussion with a comment like, "If you are going to pay $22 million per year for two players make sure they play the same position, one doesn't play defense and they aren't the core of a playoff team." I know Bill would have said something like this. Alas, the Jazz rebuild and Bill criticizes anyway.

The Trade: Phoenix traded Luis Scola for Indiana’s pick (top-14 protected), Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a lifetime of “I JUST KICKED LARRY LEGEND’S ASS IN AN NBA TRADE AND THERE WERE WITNESSES AND EVERYTHING!” bragging rights for Suns GM Ryan McDonough.

Retroactive Verdict: Holy mackerel, that trade was one-sided, especially with how well Green has been playing. Can you believe McDonough, a Boston kid who grew up loving the Celtics, somehow outwitted the Basketball Jesus in an NBA trade?

Can you believe the fact McDonough grew up in Boston and was a Celtics fan has absolutely nothing to do with whether he outwitted Larry Bird in a trade or not? It's shocking that these two facts may not have something to do with each other. Mind-blowing really.

2014 Draft Ramifications: Right now, the Suns are picking no. 14 (their own), no. 17 (from Washington) and no. 29 (from Indy). Well done, Ryan McDonough. I hereby dub you the Anti-Kahn.

Hold on, that's well-done? Doesn't Bill tell us that the worst position for a team to be is to be drafting in the middle of the first round while getting the 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs? Bill has stated this on several occasions, but now it seems Bill's little rule about not wanting to fall in the draft position from 14-18 while making the playoffs isn't true when he doesn't want it to be true. Not that Bill is full of shit most of the time or anything like that.

(Wait a second, I still have almost 2,000 words to play with! Let’s hit some other emails … )

How about you answer that last email? No, you won't do this because you only answered the email so you could sum up all the trades that led to the 2014 NBA Draft order and mention the Celtics needlessly a few times? Okay, great.

Q: The people who think Blake Griffin has been more valuable than Kevin Love this season are the same people that think Miguel Cabrera was more valuable than Mike Trout in 2012. We have advanced statistics now. What the hell is your case for Griffin over Love?
—Ben G., Los Angeles

SG: Um … I watch basketball?

Interesting, because this is the same "eye test" that MLB voters used to claim that Miguel Cabrera deserved the MVP over Mike Trout in 2012, well along with the fact Cabrera's team made the playoffs and Trout's didn't, despite the Angels actually winning one more game than the Tigers in 2012. So basically, Bill uses the same reasoning as guys like Murray Chass and couldn't be more proud of it.

Then Bill uses the word "we" three times and says "you" once in a paragraph about why "we" need to not count out the Rockets as a potential destination for Carmelo Anthony this offseason.

Q: Kendall Marshall and Ricky Rubio have very similar stats. —Malc Dawson, Fort Worth

SG: So you wouldn’t give the five-year max to Rubio?

Much like how Bill won't remind his readers that he didn't like Harden for the Thunder, he's just hoping his readers forget how much he was on the Ricky Rubio train back in 2009. I detail it a bit here, but suffice to say that Bill Simmons was a Rubio fan. He's quietly made a violent leap off the Rubio bandwagon since then and has erased all of his footsteps into the woods so his getaway can be clean. Bill is now openly knocking Rubio like a thirteen year old mocking a classmate in the gym locker room for wearing tighty-whities when he only switched to briefs a couple of days earlier.

Q: I’m thinking of naming my rock band “Boogie Cousins.” Is there any reason I shouldn’t do this? —Dan, Potsdam, New York

SG: None. Just remember, if I had this mailbag 25 years ago, I may have gotten this question:

We’re thinking of naming our rock band “Mookie Blaylock.” Is there any reason we shouldn’t do this?
—Jeff and Eddie, Seattle

The members of Pearl Jam would definitely have been big Bill Simmons fans. And also, naming their band "Mookie Blaylock" was a bad idea since they shot to fame as "Pearl Jam."

Q: On your list of post-1989 top-3 picks that played less than 500 minutes in their rookie season (in NBA Bag No. 3), you accidentally omitted your #3 MVP and breakout superstar Blake Griffin. Remember? He missed all of the 2009-2010 season with a knee injury.
—Jeff Bess, Missouri

SG: Yup — total brainfart. And in the section about “Coming Home” tributes, I mistakenly omitted Paul Pierce’s “Coming Home” video that the Celtics made for his return to Boston because of a tragic copy-paste error. It’s the best one, too.

What a shock, Bill thinks the "Coming Home" video for Paul Pierce is the best tribute to that song on YouTube. Bill says this as a completely unbiased biased observer of course.

Q: When are you publishing your march madness picks? I’ve followed your NFL picks for years so I need to see your picks so I can make different ones and win my work pool. C’mon man! Get with it!
—Ben, Cincinnati

SG: My Final Four: Florida, Michigan State, Duke, Arizona. My winner: Michigan State over Arizona. Now please, go against me.

Sad face for Duke. I'm pretty sure Bill just put them in there as a reverse-jinx anyway.

Q: After watching Byron Mullens get posterized the other day, I started to think about which NBA player is most likely to end up on the receiving end of a massive dunk. Call it the “Shawn Bradley Award” since Bradley is the godfather of being dunked on. The qualifications go beyond just being posterized frequently, the player must also have to be tall and probably white,

I'm not sure why the player probably has to be white, but carry on...

and be either naive or arrogant enough to think that they can block Serge Ibaka with a full-head of steam coming down the lane. So who’s the 2014 winner? Mullens? You can’t rule out Greg Stiemsma or Robin Lopez.
—Jesse Collings, Waltham, Massachusetts

Lopez isn't technically white since one of his parents is Hispanic.

SG: The Plumlee brothers can’t fathom that you left them out of this conversation. They’re on Skype just staring at each other in disbelief right now. Along with naivete and overconfidence, Jesse forgot one crucial element: the Bradley Award candidate has to be a decent dunker in his own right.

Oh, this is a crucial element? Well let's see how crucial this element is when Bill lists his Top 5 candidates and ignores this very crucial element that the Bradley Award candidate (Bill is REALLY stretching for additional "teams" and "awards" to be added to his Wikipedia page by his rabid fans at this point) must be a decent dunker in his own right.

My top-five finalists for 2014’s Bradley Award: (1) Miles, (2) Mason,

Okay, okay...

(3) Cody Zeller, (4) Tyler Zeller, 

Wait, I thought the Bradley Award candidate had to be a decent dunker in his own right? Tyler Zeller is not a great dunker. Cody? Sure, but Tyler Zeller isn't a great dunker. You are awarded no points for this suggestion.

(5) Mullens. By the way, we may or may not be working on a 30 for 30 short about Bradley called Posterized. (Like you wouldn’t watch this.)

I would really not watch this.

Q: After watching Night Shift with my wife last night, it occurred to me that this was the movie version of Breaking Bad. Billy Blaze is Jesse Pinkman. Chuck is Walter White. Prostitution is meth. The morgue is the Studebaker/lab. Now I’m enraged that Night Shift was a two-hour film rather than a five-season cable series. While I loved Night Shift as a movie (very underrated), there is so much more character development to be had. I want to see Chuck go completely nuts a la Walter White (I’m talking way more than what he does at the end of the movie; I want him to blow up a Dodge Challenger). I want to see Billy Blaze become hardened by the prostitution business. You have to make this happen, Simmons. Forget all-NBA mailbags. Focus on this and this alone. The world is counting on you.
—John O, Creelsboro, Kentucky

SG: Yup, these are my readers.

In a fitting ending to this weak mailbag, this "Yup, these are my readers" question that Bill made up is incredibly weak. This question has all the hallmarks of a Bill Simmons-created question. It mixes two pop culture references together and tries to make them comparable and has hero-worship of Bill in it so he can feed his ego. Come on, he can come up with a better fake question than this.

Actually, since Bill is taking next week off from his weekly mailbag that he swore he would write every week until April 16, maybe he can't write better fake questions than this. 


Brian G said...

That "Yup, these are my readers" question is definitely bullshit. Google Creelsboro, Ky. It's a 19th century ghost town.

Bengoodfella said...

Brian, indeed it is. It has a population of 50 people, mostly involved with agriculture. According to there is no John O from Creelsboro, KY as well.