Monday, April 14, 2014

3 comments Bill Simmons' "Fuck It, I Give Up on Writing Original Material So Here's a Mailbag" Volume 6: Six Mailbags in Seven Weeks, Bill is Exhausted

Bill winds down his series of NBA mailbags this week, presumably to disappear back into the netherworlds of Grantland where he will take some of the ideas presented by his readers in these mailbags and try to get an entire column out of one. Bill hates writing, I still hold true to that statement. His readers love to read his writing, which presents quite the issue for him. In this week's mailbag Bill empties out his mailbag, beats the same jokes into the ground (the picture of Joe Dumars holding two phones), and lazily churns out the material he already knows his readers like. So here are some more "real" emails that Bill has in no way made up.

Do you realize that, on Tuesday, May 20, your buddy Bill will appear on a one-hour NBA Countdown show that happens to include the live 2014 NBA draft lottery results?

I see Bill has whipped his dick out and started waving it around at the very start of this mailbag. Very humble of him.

Do you realize they’re also having me do the NBA draft with Rece Davis, Jay Bilas and Jalen Rose again?

Do you realize that ESPN is expecting me to be coherent for both of these live events?

If you can't put aside your own personal biases in order to do your job, then perhaps it is best to find a different job where you won't allow your own personal biases affect your performance. Just a thought that falsely assumes Bill is a professional.

It’s like a science experiment. Maybe they’re trying to get my head to explode so they can wipe my contract off the ESPN books. It’s the next best thing to using their amnesty on me. 

Well, when a player seems to be going from playing productively (writing a lot and getting pageviews) to coaching (becoming editor-in-chief and not being focused on writing) then sometimes the best thing to do is to urge that player to move on to the next stage and squeeze him out.

As for this particular column, as always, these are actual emails from actual readers.

Sure they are. I believe this.

Q: Can you fire up the “SIMMONS FOR GM” campaign again, my friend? This team needs new blood, and what better way for the new ownership group to show the community that things will be different than bringing in a guy who will make changes, 100 percent guaranteed? How about it, Simmons? I don’t want to have to cheer for the Seattle Bucks, man. Do they even have deer there?
—Jake Klipp, Milwaukee

Oh God, here we go again. Bill sees some of his ESPN co-workers getting head coaching jobs and now he believes he really could become an NBA GM. I used to be against this idea and no longer am. I want to watch it happen. I want to watch Bill use all of his NBA knowledge and put "Who says 'no'" trades to other NBA GM's just to see what happens. I don't doubt Bill would surround himself with really smart people, but I just don't believe he could be an NBA GM. Still, anytime he has a chance to fire up the "Simmons for GM" campaign Bill will do it to tickle his ego.

SG: Don’t worry, you won’t have to cheer for the Seattle Bucks. As I tweeted last weekend, the Seattle guys (Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen) aren’t getting the team — even though they were willing to go higher than anyone else, they dropped out because Herb Kohl (the longtime Bucks owner and a fearless champion of mediocre basketball) wouldn’t sell them the franchise unless they agreed to keep it in Milwaukee.

Bill proceeds to go on telling Jake from Milwaukee (not State Farm) some insider-ish information and continues waving his dick around a little bit. If you care enough to know what Bill is discussing, he states one sale of the Milwaukee Bucks may go through or it may not.

(Sadly, I’m pulling myself out of the running for the GM job that I wouldn’t have gotten, anyway. Unless they give me the Phil Jackson deal — $60 million over five years, you get to stay in L.A. — I’m out. And I have 13 fewer rings than Phil Jackson. I don’t think it’s happening.)

Well, plus you are a sportswriter who has absolutely no history of showing he can run an NBA franchise as the GM. Logic would dictate that if an NBA team was going to hire a sportswriter as their GM they would want to hire a sportswriter who knows more of the nuts and bolts of the NBA rather than a sportswriter whose knowledge is based primarily on his opinions. Logic would also dictate an NBA franchise would hire this sportswriter as a lower-level executive rather than just elevate him to GM over other candidates who have spent more time in the NBA trying to get a GM gig and are more qualified. But it doesn't matter, Bill has pulled himself out of the running for the GM job he knows he wouldn't have gotten. Gotta start more towards the bottom first, Bill.

Q: How have you missed one of the best F.U. mode stories in recent memory? The Bulls trade Joakim Noah’s best friend on the team (Luol Deng) in an effort to avoid the luxury tax, but with Joakim’s possible incentives for earning all NBA first team honors, he could bump the Bulls up and over into the luxury tax. As a Bulls fan, nothing would make me happier.
—Zach, Lemont

SG: You’re right! I was already voting for Noah for first-team All-NBA anyway; now I’m voting for him in all caps.

This is your not-subtle reminder that Bill has an All-NBA vote. He's on fire in this mailbag. Two questions in and he has declined a GM position, handed out insider information about the sale of the Bucks, mentioned he is doing the NBA Draft for ESPN and reminded his readers he has an All-NBA vote. It seems Bill really needs his readers to know how important he has become. 

Since we’re here, I have to fill out my NBA awards ballot by April 17. 


Congrats in advance, Gregg Popovich (Coach of the Year); Victor Oladipo (Rookie of the Year, if only because I can’t vote for someone who lost 26 straight games); Gerald Green (Most Improved); Taj Gibson (Sixth Man); and Noah a second time (Defensive Player of the Year). 

Oh ok, so a player can't be the best rookie in the NBA if his team loses an arbitrary amount of games in a row. That makes very little sense, but I'm glad Bill is basing this individual award on a team result. That's very progressive of him.

By the way, this question was about discussing one of the best F.U. stories in recent memory and Bill doesn't even bother acknowledging what the question was about and focuses more on reminding his readers he has a vote for NBA awards and discussing what he wants to talk about instead...namely discussing his "Book of Basketball" as proof of how important he thinks the MVP vote is and determining which players should be on which All-NBA team.

On paper, giving an MVP vote to someone who isn’t actually the league’s best player — like Barkley over MJ in 1993, or Malone over MJ in 1997, or West over Reed in 1970, or even Nash over Kobe in 2006 — is one of the 12 best ways to make me irrationally angry. If you’re the best player, you’re the best player. There shouldn’t be any qualifiers or caveats.

But here’s the difference with 2014 Durant: For six solid months, a pissed-off Durant in fifth gear night after night after night has been better than LeBron Shifting Gears Depending On The Night. That’s a fact.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but read that sentence again and tell me how that's "a fact." Does that read like a fact?

Throw in Durant’s unbelievable offensive burden, Westbrook’s injuries, Scott Brooks’s bizarre coaching and OKC’s up-and-down supporting cast (Ibaka excluded) and it’s no contest. Please, if you’re reading this 10 years from now or 50 years from now, you need to understand — we didn’t get bored of voting for LeBron, and we didn’t briefly lose our minds.

Except 30 years from now it's possible no one will remember Westbrook's injuries, Brooks' bizarre coaching and the up-and-down supporting cast. They will only remember LeBron was the best player with no qualifiers or caveats and wonder how Durant was MVP over LeBron just like Bill wonders how Barkley got the award over MJ in 1993 or West won over Reed in 1970. But of course, Bill probably doesn't realize this because he's so focused on the immediacy of the MVP vote while not having the benefit of this immediacy when criticizing the votes during previous years.

As for everyone else — Blake is clearly 3, Noah is clearly 4, and that no. 5 spot could easily slide to James Harden, Stephen Curry, Paul George or even Goran Dragic. If Dallas wins 50-plus games and makes the playoffs (in play), I’m voting for Dirk — 22 a night, 50-40-90 splits, the crunch-time stuff, the leadership, the intangibles.

Because, again, Dirk's personal achievements this year should be judged better or worse depending on how good the supporting cast around Dirk is. You know, just like how Bill elevates Durant to MVP because his supporting cast was up-and-down, Dirk gets may not get the no. 5 spot because his supporting cast isn't good enough to make the playoffs. It makes sense.

Other than Jae Crowder, everyone in Dallas’s nine-man rotation had more value four years ago. Right now, Monta Ellis and Vince Carter are overachieving.

They are overachieving while playing the game of basketball. So why shouldn't Dirk be in the no. 5 spot for MVP if he takes a team with a bad supporting cast to the playoffs? That's if Bill votes for Durant for MVP based on the lack of dependability from his supporting cast. Using this theory, shouldn't Dirk be in the Top-5 of the MVP race? Also, (spoiler alert) Bill puts Dirk on his third team All-NBA. Dirk isn't good enough to be on the second team All-NBA, but he's a Top 5 MVP candidate. Sure, makes sense. 

First-Team All-NBA: Durant, LeBron, Noah, Chris Paul, Harden.
Second-Team All-NBA: George, Griffin, Dwight Howard, Curry, Dragic.
Third-Team All-NBA: Kevin Love, Nowitzki, Al Jefferson, Kyle Lowry, Tony Parker.

I couldn’t demote Paul George because of a prolonged offensive slump and give that spot to Love, who’s in a permanent slump defensively and might miss going .500 for the sixth straight year.

Ah yes, more individual awards being partially based on the talent surrounding Kevin Love. How did Bill get a vote for the NBA awards again?

Q: So who was the LVP for the 2013-14 season? —B.S., Los Angeles

SG: Fine, I wrote that one. 

Quite possibly not the only question Bill wrote in this mailbag.

5. Kobe Bryant: If only for Jedi mind tricking his team into a L-U-D-I-C-R-O-U-S $48.5 million contract extension when he knew his body wasn’t anywhere close to being what it was. (And as soon as he came back, he broke down again.) At least he led the young guys by example on and off the court — oh wait, nobody’s seen him for four months. Keep getting dem checks, Kobe.

Never forget that Bill hates Kobe Bryant. If there was justice then Bill would have put the entire Sixers front office at #5 because they did such a good job of tanking this season. Bill hasn't had a real good chance to bash Kobe all year, so he takes dem opportunities when he gets dem.

Q: I’m a big OKC fan and watch most of their games. The way that teams guard Kevin Durant is unlike anything I have ever seen. He is basically denied the ball from the moment he crosses halfcourt. Against the Rockets on Friday, he was denied by two people at certain points during the game. Have you ever seen another player guarded like this?
—Kevin Gill, Richmond

SG: Please add that entire paragraph to KD’s 2014 MVP files. By the way, I’m pretty sure nobody would defend Durant that way if Harden still played for OKC. I’m almost positive. (I know, I know.)

Then Bill uses this image:

Which I have to give him credit for since I probably should use that image quite often on this blog...most likely when discussing Bill Simmons and his writing.

Q: A friend of mine “Stan” married this crazy lady “Tina”. They were engaged for a year when Stan took the ring back because she was nuts but decided to give it back to her a year later. 

I'm already bored. This sounds like a question of personal nature, so I would urge this reader to not ask Bill Simmons questions of personal nature because it only serves to make Bill believe he's still 25 years old.

So I explain this situation to a friend and she names Tina the Re-Fiance and it instantly becomes the term of choice to describe her among our circle. Upon hearing of Mike Brown’s re-hiring by the Cavs my girlfriend turns to me and deadpans “Well we have The Drive, The Catch, The Fumble, The Decision….now we have The Re-Coach.” Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 Cllllllllleveland Cavaliers!
—CD, Cleveland, OH

SG: A few readers reminded me of this one … in my 2009 NBA book, I created a 12-man “Wine Cellar” team around the premise, “Aliens just invaded Earth and we have a time machine — we can grab any 12 players from any of their ‘vintage’ years, pull them into the current year and battle the aliens with them.” But the coaches of that Wine Cellar team? 2007 Gregg Popovich, 1988 Rick Pitino (pulled from college to spearhead our killer second-team press), 1977 Willis Reed (big-man coach and our enforcer, just in case the aliens start a bench-clearing brawl), 2006 Mike D’Antoni (my words: “offensive guru”), and 2009 Mike Brown (my words: “defensive guru”). This is in print and everything. (The lesson, as always: I’m an idiot.)

Wow, something that doesn't hold up just four years later in a book title "The Book of Basketball," which sounds like a pretty definitive title to me. That doesn't sound good for the long-term outlook of Bill's book.

Q: Any thoughts on the NBA creating the equivalent to a Senior Tour for older players? With well documented retirement planning issues, wouldn’t this be a no brainer?

Yes, if you don't have a brain this seems like a good idea. Part of the joy in watching the NBA is watching the world's best athletes. Watching middle-aged men play doesn't have quite the draw. It's also very hard to stay in shape as an athlete gets older. Injuries occur at a much more frequent pace.

Could Michael dunk on Patrick Ewing at 50? How much would Shawn Kemp or Antione Walker take to play in this league? 100K a year?
—Sherif Elmazi, Hong Kong

Bill uses this question to pimp out two a Grantland feature and a Grantland podcast. Bill is very good at synergy and using his columns to get readers looking at other content on Grantland.

SG: I stumbled upon the answer to this question during my All-Star Weekend podcast with Dirk Nowitzki.

That’s the part we always forget, as well as the most illuminating part of Steve Nash’s The Finish Line series for Grantland. When they get older, WE don’t realize how much it takes for THEM to play.

So even if the Senior Tour is a fantastic idea on paper, the amount of work it would take for ex-players with crazy NBA miles on them already to play basketball regularly, stay relatively healthy, avoid debilitating injuries … it’s just not realistic.

I'm glad Bill took the time to answer this question. Very productive use of mailbag space. But hey, he got a plug in for two other Grantland features so all is not lost.

Q: What’s your opinion on Rondo and Boston’s 1st round pick for Kyrie?
—William Demitro, Chicago

(Bengoodfella begins salivating at this prospect, then realizes Irving hasn't always been a great teammate in Cleveland and the 1st round pick of the Celitcs could end up being Jabari Parker and becomes disoriented and collapses into a pool of sadness at this Sophie's Choice trade and the fact the Cavs would be ripping the Celtics off)

SG: I just hung up the phone on William Demitro. Slammed it down, actually. You’re not getting my top-five pick unless it’s for Kyrie straight up. And even then, I’m not that excited. Do I really want to give up Jabari, Wiggins or Embiid for someone who’s giving off major Steve Francis/Steph Marbury fumes?

But this can't be. If there is one thing I knew about Irving at Duke is that he was a great teammate. He was injured most of the season he was at Duke and always was one of the first on the bench celebrating a great play. If I had to have guessed one bad thing about Irving coming out of college it's that he may have ended up being a better teammate than a basketball player. I even wrote this: 

Irving was the pick and I think he is a great leader and teammate. Cleveland will love him.

I wrote this.

Irving is easily the best point guard in this class and he is also a natural leader. I am admittedly biased, but I firmly believe he is ready (toe-permitting) to go to the NBA and be an All-Star. It doesn't matter to me that he hasn't played much in college. He will be an All-Star in the NBA and I see no, other than chronic toe problems, he shouldn't be the #1 overall pick. He can shoot, pass and lead a team in the NBA.

Irving rehabbed hard through a toe injury in college (potentially hurting his draft stock) so he could play with his teammates in the NCAA Tournament. I really want to think Irving is being brought down by the teammates around him and whatever issues he has with Dion Waiters. If I was sure about one thing regarding Irving coming out of college, it is that he is a really good teammate and leader. I have a hard time believing that disappeared. I have been wrong before though.

Here’s the problem with trading Rondo — he’s never re-signing in Sacramento, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland or wherever. None of those teams are overpaying to rent Rondo for a year. Boston’s best chance on decent value: If Houston flames out in Round 1, maybe send Rondo there for Jeremy Lin’s expiring deal, Chandler Parsons and Houston’s first-rounder.

And of course Daryl Morey would agree to this. Who says "no" to this trade?

If we get the no. 1 pick, they should retire Rondo’s number next October.

I didn't know that Bill played for the Celtics or was affiliated in any way with the organization.

Q: Uhm, OK, Mitch Richmond is a nice player and a super person, but can you explain why Maurice Cheeks is not in the Hall of Fame?

SG: Forget Cheeks — Richmond getting in over Sidney Moncrief and Paul Westphal was dumbfounding. It’s not even close. I covered the Westphal/Moncrief résumés in my book, but here’s a quick recap.

I think Bill will still be referencing his book 25 years from now.

Westphal: best player on a Finals team (’76 Suns); sixth man on a champ (’74 Celts); three first-team All-NBAs and one second-team All-NBA during a super-competitive era (1977-80); five-time All-Star and an especially fun All-Star Game performer; traded straight-up for DENNIS JOHNSON in their primes;

Who Westphal was traded straight-up for is irrelevant.

edged Doug Collins as the starting 2-guard on the White Guys Who Played Like Black Guys team; 

Again, this is irrelevant and is a reason completely made up by Bill.

Moncrief: NEVER TRADED; iconic SI cover in college;

These are two irrelevant reasons back-to-back.

I was there for all three guys: I didn’t even think it was close.

Bill wasn't even a teenager when he watched Westphal play, so I'm not sure his "I was there" statement really holds a lot of value to me. Memories of an NBA player prior to his teenage years doesn't seem like they are very clear memories.

Q: I saw in the headlines today that Joe Dumars intends to resign. Any ideas how he can break the news to his friends, family, and co-workers all at once? —Ryan Mathis, Spokane, WA
SG: I think I have one!

It's the same picture he's shown in every mailbag of Joe Dumars holding two phones at one time.

This season, his “fine” is an A-minus. Anyway, when you see this dude in person, you never feel like he needs a nickname. He’s just KD. He’s one of the 10 natural wonders of the world right now — a 6-foot-11 scoring machine with absolutely no historical parallel. It’s like saying, “I just went to the Grand Canyon — it wasn’t memorable enough, we need to nickname that thing!”

Well, in theory "Grand Canyon" is the nickname of the large canyon that is located in Grand Canyon National Park. It's just a huge canyon that doesn't have a name, so it is nicknamed the "Grand Canyon." I think the name is the nickname.

Q: What’s the best-case scenario for Washington in the playoffs and going forward? Is there a worse GM-Coach pairing in the league than Grunfeld-Wittman? Wait, is there a worse head coach in the history of the league than Randy Wittman? He’s coached over 500 games and has a winning percentage of .362. How do we get rid of these guys!?
—Martín, Washington, D.C.

SG: Your Wittman stat stunned me, so I had to look it up. Exactly 57 NBA coaches have lost at least 300 games.

Tom Nissalke: 248-391, .388 winning percentage
Wes Unseld: 202-345, .369 winning percentage
Randy Wittman: 187-329, .362 winning percentage

That’s right, the two least competent coaches of the 300-Loss Club passed through the Washington basketball vortex! How is that even possible???

It's possible because the Washington basketball team hasn't always chosen the best head coaches? That's like saying (hypothetically, not factually), "Over the last 20 years the Pittsburgh Pirates have the highest percentage of first round draft picks that have never played in the majors. How is that possible?"

Q: What is your favorite part of this amazing to watch Suns team ?

SG: I vote for (E) the relentlessness of that Dragic-Bledsoe combo, and (F) all the times Dick Stockton will get the Morris twins confused if TNT sticks him on a Phoenix playoff series. But I loved the “Plumdog Millionaire” joke — it’s an urban dictionary term (not flattering), it’s a gin cocktail recipe, and now, it’s the go-to headline for all Grantland pieces about the Plumlees. I love the Plumdog Millionaires!

What a coincidence! Bill answers a question which allows him to pimp out a Grantland article related to the Plumlee brothers. I think at this point Bill's column are only useful in that they allow him to use his audience to send out links to other Grantland columns. He answers questions in his mailbag specifically for the purpose of sending out a link to a Grantland column it seems.

Q: What if I told you nine years ago that the star of Fever Pitch would successfully host The Tonight Show, while the perceived next-in-line found himself stuck on a fledgling cable TV talk show and embarrassing himself hosting the MTV Movie Awards? “The Joke’s On You” – 8pm Friday night, only on ESPN.
—Billy Bahnsen, Patchogue, NY

SG: And that’s preceded on Thursday by 30 for 30: Bad Boys (ESPN, 8 p.m., if you like basketball and don’t enjoy this one I would find it startling) and Grantland’s Bad Boys Remix (ESPN, 10 p.m.), with me, Jalen, Isiah and Doug Collins doing a “postgame show” of sorts. Just carve out those three hours, please.

I mean, it's getting to the point that Bill can't even be bothered to answer the mailbag questions if they don't involve a chance to link a Grantland column or mention another project he's working on. Bill is just a great big ball of ESPN synergy at this point as opposed to an actual writer. His writing has taken a backseat to all of his other endeavors, and when Bill does write, his writing seems to be for the purpose of pimping out his other endeavors. Yet, Simmonsites still seem to think Bill is the best and puts out top-notch material.

Q: I feel like I’m taking crazy pills with this whole Blake-Griffin-getting-in-fights thing. Analysts consistently praise him for staying so calm as people tussle with him night after night (Jon Barry during the Denver game being the latest example). What’s the one constant in all of Blake Griffin’s scuffles??? BLAKE GRIFFIN!! THE GUY WHO’S BEEN DIVORCED 12 TIMES PROBABLY IS PLAYING A ROLE IN THE FAILED MARRIAGES!!!! WHY DOESN’T ANYONE GET ON GRIFFIN’S CASE FOR INSTIGATING 6 FIGHTS A WEEK?
—Ben Ginsburg, Los Angeles

SG:...And frankly, all of those comparisons helped his MVP case in my mind — I nearly bumped him to no. 2. Jalen and I covered this topic extensively in our 20-part “Bill and Jalen’s 2014 NBA Playoffs Preview,” which premieres on Grantland on Monday. Please clear three-plus hours off your schedule in advance.

See? Bill Simmons' writing simply exists at this point to pimp out Bill Simmons' other projects. It's maddening that his Simmonsites still think he gives a shit when he doesn't. He doesn't care. He wants to answer a few questions and direct his readers in the direction of where his true interests now lie.

Q: Leading up to the NCAA championship, all the talk was about John Calipari and how great he is. Why did it take so long for Kevin Ollie to become a hot coaching candidate linked to the NBA? I mean, he inherited a team that was losing players and led them to a championship in LESS THAN TWO YEARS. 

To be fair, the UConn team that Ollie inherited wasn't completely devoid of talent. Boatright was still there, DeAndre Daniels stuck around and Shabazz Napier didn't transfer. The biggest player UConn lost was Alex Oriakhi who was going to be a senior anyway. Just saying, there wasn't a lot of talent that fled from the roster.

Carry on...

This is like when a buddy of yours says, “Yo, you should come to the party, my fiancee is inviting some of her friends too, and they’re hot, especially Megan.” Then you show up to the party, and you start talking to Megan, because you should, (after all she’s the touted one), but then you meet her friend Emma, and you start thinking to yourself, “shouldn’t I be talking to Emma?” I mean, yeah Megan is hot, but isn’t Emma just, better?

I don't even begin to understand this. It seems like a very complicated and overly-involved way of saying the best NBA coaching candidate isn't the person that was thought to be the best NBA coaching candidate. It's a very "Bill Simmons" way of making a comparison.

Full disclosure, I was thinking of Megan Fox and Emma Stone when I chose those names.
—Kaustubh, Mountain View

Full disclosure: I'm not sure anyone cares.

SG: Yup, these are my readers.

Yup, they reflect their leader and personal hero/daddy figure.

I guess I should feel lucky Bill didn't end this half-assed mailbag with a YouTube clip or pimping out another one of his ESPN/Grantland projects. It's becoming embarrassing how much Bill is mailing in his columns about sports these days.


Anonymous said...

Simmons is god awful, and his sidekick jalen rose is pretty bad as well.

And I cringe at the "who says no?" Junk

franc said...

bill's mailbags will soon have more video links and gifs than paragraphs. who says no?

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I don't really hear much of what Bill does other than write. The fact Jalen Rose is considered good talent at ESPN tells me all I need to know.

Franc, I say "no"! NO!