Friday, May 2, 2014

3 comments Bill Simmons, Still Out of Ideas for a Column, Essentially Writes Another Mailbag

It's getting bad, you know. One of the most frustrating parts of Bill Simmons' writing is he just doesn't give a shit anymore. He's content with sticking with the feel and format of his old columns and doesn't care to challenge himself. While some writers grow and mature with their audience, Bill's writing has stayed in the same place for a decade now. Sure, it helps him capture the key demographic that ESPN/Grantland wants, but his writing doesn't show the maturity of a person who has been writing for almost 15 years. I believe Bill Simmons has not wanted to write columns for a while now. It doesn't help he is out of ideas and so what has happened is a constant stream of uninspired columns and mailbags, while Bill sorts out all of his duties as Grantland editor and tries to figure out how to continue to fool his loyal Simmonites into believing what he's writing is fresh, new material and not the same recycled material and jokes as the same recycled material and jokes he has been doing for 4-5 years now. It's getting harder the busier Bill gets. Fortunately for him, the Simmonites will devour absolutely anything Bill writes, no matter the quality, so there is no need to put effort into what he writes. Today, Bill has 33 burning questions from Round 1 of the playoffs which essentially is another mailbag from him, except this time he admits to writing the questions himself.

Do you realize road teams have won 10 of 19 playoff games so far? Do you realize we’ve had 297 officiating controversies already? Do you realize three 50-win coaches are in real danger of getting canned within the next 10 days? Do you realize we have an 8-seed beating a 1-seed and a 7-seed beating a 2-seed? Do you realize Indiana is slapping together the Mother of All NBA Swoons?

No Bill, we didn't realize this until you just told us about it. Thank God you are here to interpret all NBA-related events for us. You are the only prism through which the NBA playoffs can be understood. Enlighten us all.

Do you realize a Wizards-Clippers Finals is in play? Repeat: Do you realize a Wizards-Clippers Finals is in play????? And that the odds are only 65-to-1 right now??? And that it’s actually a good bet at those odds??????????? WHAT IS HAPPENING?????????

The question mark on your keyboard is broken? You are killing time to make up for a lack of original, creative material by asking the same question over and over again?

Without further ado, let’s tackle 33 burning questions from Round 1.

It's a mailbag that's not a mailbag. Because Bill has already done quite a few mailbags recently and it would be crazy to do another one, right?

Q: Could the Wizards really make the Eastern Conference finals despite whiffing on 2013’s no. 3 overall pick (Otto Porter) and 2011’s no. 6 overall pick (Jan Vesely)?

Let’s flip that around. The Wizards could make the Eastern Conference finals because they didn’t whiff on 2010’s no. 1 overall pick (John Wall) and 2012’s no. 3 overall pick (Bradley Beal).

Because I had an unnatural love for Bradley Beal coming out of college, I have to point out that Bill wasn't exactly high on Bradley Beal coming out of college. Most likely this is because Bill was just saying things about Beal out of his ass like,

With the no. 3 pick for Washington, I'm grabbing Bradley Beal, the silky smooth two-guard who definitely bought Ray Allen's jumper on eBay. I love this pick even though I watched all four of Florida's NCAA Tournament games and never at any point thought to myself, I'm watching the no. 3 pick in June's draft.

Is it a red flag when the alleged best scoring guard available from college basketball couldn't average 15 points a game or make 34 percent of his 3s?

If you follow the link I proved that (a) Bill is an idiot who doesn't really know what he was talking about and (b) Beal played well in the NCAA Tournament and I pointed out Beal was 18 years old so 34% from three-point range isn't terrible. But don't worry, Bill knew nothing about Beal and admitted it,

SIMMONS: I just spent the past 10 minutes watching his YouTube clips, so I'm totally ready to have an opinion here.

Are we sure Beal is Gordon 2.0? The best thing about Gordon other than his stroke is that he's built like a tank — he loves driving into the paint, bouncing off bigger guys and finishing around the rim.

Beal is a few inches taller; really, he's more like a young Mike Miller,

So after watching 10 minutes of YouTube videos of Bradley Beal, Bill Simmons announces that he is like Mike Miller, not Eric Gordon. It's nearly impossible for me to take Bill Simmons seriously knowing how often he talks out of his ass. Does anyone watch Bradley Bill and say, "Man, he reminds me of Mike Miller!"? I would doubt it. Okay, rant done. I had to point out that Bill loves Beal now, but wasn't exactly a fan before Beal was drafted. Hindsight is wonderful isn't it?

They turned Vesely and next year’s first-rounder into Professor Andre Miller and Marcin Gortat, two veterans who made an impact. And Trevor Ariza wouldn’t be thriving without young Porter breathing down his neck. Fine, that’s not true. There’s been no neck-breathing whatsoever. Everything else is true.

Wait, someone just reminded me that Ernie traded the no. 5 pick in 2009 for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, which means he whiffed on three top-six lottery picks in five years. According to the Atrocious GM Summit rulebook, the “David Kahn Corollary” says that at least three top-six whiffs in five years earns you an automatic invite. So, Ernie is coming back no matter what happens! I’m glad we settled this.

See? Bill is still milking the same recycled and tired jokes 4-5 years after he originally tells them. The Atrocious GM Summit, how hilarious!

The Atrocious GM Summit should only serve to remind Bill's readers that at one point in his writing career he actually gave a shit about trying to write creatively and wasn't up his own ass. Those days are gone.

Q: Can the Wizards really make the Eastern finals when their fans are sending emails during playoff games like, “I’d like to report an attempted murder — Randy Wittman is trying to kill me”?

Fans complain about their team's coach no matter how much success that team has had or is currently having. Fans complaining about the coach/manager is going to happen no matter what. So this means nothing, except it's another weak attempt for Bill to try and be clever.

The good news for Wizards fans: Just in the past decade, Alvin Gentry and Mike Brown coached in Round 3; Flip Saunders took two different teams to Round 3; and Scott Brooks made two conference finals and the actual Finals. Don’t those four guys make you feel a little better about Randy Wittman?

Do the Wizards have LeBron James or Kevin Durant? No? Ok.

The NBA isn’t complicated — to blow a series when you have a more talented team, you’d need an offensive game plan that’s two steps below rudimentary, no defensive mind-set whatsoever, a slew of head-scratching rotation decisions, an overall emphasis on aggressively sloppy play, a stubborn refusal to change anything that’s not working, a lack of recognition for basic stuff like “That guy is headed for 40 points again, maybe we try something different defensively,” and the confidence to keep making terrible game-management choices in the final minute without learning from the previous game’s terrible game-management choices. 

That's it. That's exactly how to blow a series. You better believe Bill that these are the steps on how to blow a series with a more talented team. After all he DID write the Book of Basketball.

Q: Can the Wizards really make the Eastern Conference finals when they’re the Washington Wizards?

Now THIS is an obstacle.

The Wizards actual talent isn't necessarily an obstacle, it's the Wizards history of not being a very good team that is the real obstacle. After all, I'm sure the young Wizards squad is greatly affected by the history of basketball in Washington they aren't fully even aware exists.

My favorite Wizards fact: Since Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes left the franchise in 1981, they haven’t employed a single player whose jersey could be retired. Not one! That’s impossible!

Well, it's true so it's not entirely impossible.

My second favorite Wizards fact: I sent House the last two graphs and he wrote back, “You forgot about Ike Austin for Ben Wallace. And Mark Price’s foot. And Gheorge’s pituitary gland … I’ll have more later.” I didn’t hear from him for another 24 hours.

Can you imagine trying to have a conversation with Bill and his friends? Would this conversation contain any other type of discussion outside of whining about their favorite team? Yes, the Wizards/Bullets have been terrible, but every team has made bad decisions over the history of the franchise. Some have made more than others, but more importantly, I'm not sure I wouldn't characterize House's last two "graphs" as a "fact" any more than I would consider it the listing of more Wizards/Bullets missteps over the last 20 years.

Q: Nene is lighting up Joakim Noah!!! LIGHTING HIM UP!!! Also, am I on drugs right now?

You’re not on drugs; you’re fine. Nobody ever doubted Nene’s talent, as evidenced by his earning more than $86 million since 2006 (with another $39 million guaranteed through 2016) despite never averaging 15 points or eight rebounds in any season.

Yes, "you're" not on drugs. By the way, Bill is writing and answering the questions himself, so "you're" not on drugs should be "I'm" not on drugs. But that's beside the point.

We know Nene has talent because he has been well-paid throughout his NBA career and there's no way an NBA team would overpay a player who didn't have talent, right Chris Kaman, Rashard Lewis, Carlos Boozer, Ben Gordon, and Tyrus Thomas?

These guys have some talent, but the NBA (and other sports) has a long history of paying players a lot of money who don't necessarily have talent equivalent to the money that player is getting paid. So the fact Nene got paid $86 million since 2006 doesn't mean Nene has talent and his talent shouldn't be questioned.

Over everything else, you gotta love how HARD Washington is playing: You have Beal and Wall trying to make names for themselves, Ariza and Gortat playing for new contracts, and Nene taking the Noah matchup personally for whatever reason. Yes, yes, yes. They can make the Eastern finals.

What you really have to love is Bill Simmons lauding a professional sports team for playing hard in the playoffs. If I were a lazy person I would state this is the problem with the NBA and why some people don't like to watch the sport. It's not just the perception that the players don't play hard, but a diehard NBA fan like Bill Simmons actually takes the time to congratulate an NBA team for playing hard in the that's not expected or anything.

Q: If Phil Jackson learned the triangle offense from Tex Winter, then who was Scott Brooks’s mentor for Oklahoma City’s “Clogged Toilet” offense? Was it just Mike Brown, or were Vinny Del Negro and Mike Woodson involved as well?

See how creative and hilarious these questions are? Bill isn't recycling old jokes at all. These jokes about Vinny Del Negro, Mike Woodson, and Mike Brown aren't old at all. Hey, maybe Bill could slip an Art Shell joke in there for good measure as well. That's still funny and relevant, right?

Here’s my working theory: Early in Brooks’s playing career, he played in Minnesota for Jimmy Rodgers, the longtime Celtics assistant and honorary head coach of the Ghastly 1980s NBA Permafro Team (a.k.a. The Jack Sikma All-Stars).

Let's see:

1. Half-assed theory Bill believes is more clever than it really is. Check.

2. Mention of the Boston Celtics. Check.

3. Mention of a fictional "All-Stars" team that Bill has put together. Check.

All that remains to be included is a reference to an 80's movie and all of Bill's usual material would be contained in this paragraph...or "graph" as Bill seems to think the kids say.

So Jimmy learned from the Clogged Toilet master. And eventually, Brooks learned from Jimmy, so it’s something of a Clogged Toilet coaching tree. But every time I see OKC barely getting KD the ball 35 feet from the basket — or even better, taking 15 seconds to post him up on the low block, followed by KD dribbling back behind the 3-point line as soon as he gets it — I always picture K.C. Jones and Jimmy Rodgers nodding proudly.

Just remember, Bill is writing these questions AND answering them. So if he truly gave a shit about what he was writing this could be a good column due to the fact he has complete creative control over what is being asked and written. Instead...well, this is what happens.

Q: Are Boston fans allowed to make fun of McHale mangling this Portland series after he helped the Celtics win three titles, clotheslined Rambis, costarred on the greatest NBA team of all time (the ’86 Celts), played on a broken foot in the 1987 Finals, made a cameo on Cheers, got his no. 32 retired, and traded KG to Boston in 2007 over accepting a slightly better deal from the Lakers?
Nope. Not allowed.

Boston Celtics. Just in case you forgot. Boston Celtics. They have to be discussed at some point even if these are burning questions about Round 1 of the playoffs. After all, Boston Celtics. They may not be in Round 1 but this is the second reference to them. The Boston Sports Guy.

Q: The Heat are still the league’s best team, they still have the league’s best player, and they’re still going for a historic three-peat … and yet they’re something like the 27th most relevant story line right now. What happened?

Yeah, what about the story lines for the Heat? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact the other playoff series are actually exciting while the Heat were slowly tearing down and defeating the woefully undermatched Bobcats. Not at all. Fans like to watch the exciting playoff series and the Heat-Bobcats series was simply Charlotte delaying the inevitable. The Heat weren't losing that series, even if the NBA has to make sure the Heat got 85 free throw attempts in a Game 7.

It’s a combination of Heat fatigue (four solid years of people endlessly dissecting them),

"People" endlessly dissecting them? Doesn't Bill mean "ESPN" endlessly dissecting them? This is an astounding lack of self-awareness considering Bill's employer had an entire portion of dedicated to the Heat called the "Heat Check."

their glaringly obvious on/off switch (which they tried to keep to “off” for both Charlotte games), their undeniably bored crowds (is there a worse playoff game to watch on TV, from an atmosphere standpoint, than Miami when they’re heavily favored at home?),

Perhaps the Heat were "off" because the Miami crowd around them were bored and the Bobcats weren't a very good team who ended up playing with their best player barely able to run up-and-down the court? There could be a correlation here.

and the inevitability of the Heat making a fourth straight Finals (thanks to the East collapsing around them).

It also helps the Heat's chances of making a fourth straight Finals that they have the NBA's best player and a really good team around him. There's that too.

Q: If Doc Rivers fought Jermaine O’Neal in Game 2, would that have been the greatest moment of 2014?
No — Pero Antic fighting David West would have been the greatest moment of 2014.

Speaking of fighting...the Boston Celtics! What's that you say? How aren't the Celtics relevant in a column about playoff questions? Bill just brought the conversation back around to the Celtics so they are totally relevant.

But I’m glad this came up. Once upon a time, the Celtics paid O’Neal $12 million over two years to be their backup big man.

Oh yeah, Bill is completely pulling this conversation back around to the Celtics. It's all he knows how to do.

O’Neal played 24 games in 2011, then disappeared because of knee and wrist injuries. During the ensuing six-month lockout, he never bothered to get surgery for his left wrist — for reasons that remain unclear — then reinjured it two months into the lockout season. What happened next? He opted for season-ending surgery over, you know, playing in a little pain because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you make $6 million a year.

Bill goes further into the story while whining that Ryan Hollins and Greg Stiemsma played big minutes in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals because O'Neal was injured. Just know that this is very important to know in order for Bill to answer his own question about whether O'Neal and Rivers fighting would have been the greatest moment of 2014.

I’d bet anything that Doc sees O’Neal miraculously flying around like he’s seven years younger in this Warriors-Clips series and thinks to himself, That’s the guy who quit on me two years ago. Could you blame him?

No, I can't blame him. Let's talk more about how the Celtics lost the 2012 Eastern Conference finals with the Celtics "barely" (yes, Bill wrote "barely" except he of course put it in italics) losing to the Heat because Jermaine O'Neal didn't get surgery on his left wrist. This talk would be super-important in a column about Round 1 of the 2014 NBA playoffs. Bill has to mention the Celtics and he has to do a little bit of whining about why the Celtics didn't make the NBA Finals in 2012.

Q: Is Chris Paul better than you think, worse than you think or exactly what you think?

Because it’s the Internet and people have to come up with stuff to talk about every day, you knew this list would start glowing in neon the moment Chris looked shaky in a playoff game …

Andrew Bynum: 10
Deron Williams: 4
Marvin Williams: 3
Channing Frye: 2
Chris Paul: 2
Andrew Bogut: 1
Ray Felton: 1

I like how Bill blames this list on the Internet when this is the first I personally have ever seen this list. Maybe I just missed it. It's fun to read Bill talking about this list's existence and how it seems he just had no choice but to publish it in this column. Not his fault. His hands were tied.

It's important to remember Andrew Bynum has played with Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul isn't that far behind any other player on this list. Paul was stuck in New Orleans for quite a few years with David West as the other best player on the team. Let's be a little fair.

What happened? He helped blow Game 1 on Saturday, and naturally “What has Chris Paul ever won?” became a thing. So here’s a quick story: The following morning, Steve Nash dropped into our NBA Countdown vortex to shoot a few segments with us. During our preshow meeting, I mentioned that Paul was getting criticized for his Game 1 performance, and asked if it might affect someone even as good as Paul if something like “What has he ever won?” morphed into a national story line. What happened? Nash made a face and said, “Chris is the best point guard in the league, it’s not even close. When you have the ball in your hands all the time, you’re going to make mistakes sometimes.”

(The answer: Actually, Chris Paul is better than you think — as you saw last night, when he masterfully fouled Steph Curry on the game’s deciding play in a way that was never, ever, EVER getting called.)

Oh, so we have the answer because Steve Nash said sometimes a player makes mistakes when the ball is in that player's hands. I guess that closes the book on this question then. I do have another question though...what was the point of this question from the perspective of the person reading this column? Why was this fake question even asked? Was it for Bill to be forced to bust out with the list (against his will nonetheless!) of playoff series won by the lottery class of 2005, was it for Bill to remind us that he knows Steve Nash, or was it to kill space in a column where Bill just doesn't have a hell of a lot to say?

I think it's all of the above.

Q: Will we ever figure out what happened to the 2014 Pacers? (Marc Stein)
It’s almost more fun NOT knowing. But I think we know. Here’s the pie-chart breakdown …

Bill did this a few weeks ago where he definitely answered this question in other pie-chart breakdown that didn't involve a pie-chart so it wasn't really a pie-chart breakdown.

Here's how the percentages shook out:

The Chemistry Thing: 40%
Lance Has This: 25%
Identity Loss: 25%
The Collective Slump: 10%

So I'm not sure why Bill is answering the same question yet again in pie-chart form without an actual pie-chart so it isn't really a pie-chart breakdown. He answered the question in early April so I'm not sure how much could really chang---

30 PERCENT: Pat Riley named it “The Disease of Me,” a chemistry-killing toxin that afflicts certain teams after they’ve hit it big.

Wait, what? These percentages have changed drastically in the last four weeks? Outside of Bill making the percentages up in both cases out of his ass (fine, that's the real answer to the question I'm about to pose...Bill just makes shit up, so look no further than these changing pie-chart percentages for proof of this), how come these percentages have changed in such a short time?

But you know the nuts and bolts by now: Lance Stephenson thought he was an All-Star, Paul George thought he was a superstar, Danny Granger disappeared, the big guys stopped getting the ball … before you knew it, a selfless team started thinking selfishly.

So I wonder whether this is filed under "Identity Loss" or "Chemistry Thing" in Bill's original pie-chart column about the Pacers struggles? 

20 PERCENT: Wore down because the starting five played too many minutes.

Funny, this wasn't mentioned in Bill's original pie-chart. It's almost like Bill is making things up as he goes along. Bill can't even take the time to be consistent with something he wrote less than a month ago.

10 PERCENT: No superstar scorer to stop the slide and say, “It’s OK, everybody, I got this.”

And here 10% was originally allocated to "The Collective Slump." I guess Bill thinks the Pacers no longer underwent a collective slump and now thinks they needed a superstar scorer to stop the slide.

20 PERCENT: Actually, they had Lance Stephenson saying, “It’s OK, everybody, I got this.” And that’s even worse.

And here "Lance Has This" was 25% of the problem less than a month ago. Perhaps Lance "having it" became less of a problem over the past four weeks.

20 PERCENT: Are we sure they were ever that good? Last season, they won 49 games and had a plus-4 point differential in a lousy conference.

Stop using "we" whenever you are wrong about something. Also, Bill is brilliant at using hindsight isn't he? If you ever need someone to tell you the problem with a team AFTER that problem has occurred and the issue is obvious to everyone, then Bill Simmons is your man. His masterful use of hindsight has no peer, except for maybe Gregg Easterbrook.

I’d say we overrated these guys except for one thing:

STOP SAYING "WE" WHEN "YOU" ARE WRONG! "WE" didn't think anything.

The Indiana guys look like they hate playing with each other — they’re interacting like divorced parents who just ran into each other at their son’s youth soccer game. It’s crazy.

That's exactly what it's like. There's no ubuntu in Indiana. That's the real problem. How Bill isn't now a full-time NBA analyst with insights such as this evades common sense and logic.

Q: Is Roy Hibbert tradable, sort of untradable, or totally untradable?

Sort of tradable. Really tall centers who can block shots and score points are in high demand.

Working against Hibbert …

• He’s guaranteed $30.4 million combined over the next two seasons.

• He turned into Hasheem Thabeet about 10 weeks ago. Couldn’t Thabeet match Hibbert’s production since February 4 if he played 29 minutes a game? You’re telling me 8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and 39 percent shooting isn’t doable for Thabeet?

Hasheem Thabeet is terrible. I am not sure he could put up 8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 29 minutes. Let's cut the hyperbole and be real about Hasheem Thabust's terribleness.

The Law of Mutombo tells us this: You never know when a tall center is about to lose it, but when they lose it, you know right away. 

I feel like Bill says this about every athlete. It's probably not true, but I feel like he is always saying, "When Player X loses it, it happens fast." Also, there is no "Law of Mutumbo." Fortunately, Bill will forget he named this law after Mutumbo and will name it after another tall center in a month or so. It's not like Bill even cares what he's writing at this point.

Even if Hibbert is only 27, what if this wasn’t a slump? What if the Law of Mutombo struck him early?

What if this fictional curse did strike early? Is there a fictional "All-Star" team that Bill could put Hibbert on while making an overly-involved comparison of Hibbert to a man in his 30's who used to go out on the club scene and pick up women but now is having a declining success rate, along with a name-dropped reference to Jimmy Kimmel? Can we make this happen? Who says "no"?

Working for Hibbert …

Too many teams value (and overvalue) advanced metrics, which means at least two or three teams would value Hibbert’s rim protection numbers. If he’s standing in front of the rim and you’re driving to the basket, it’s hard to score. You just need to put him in that specific situation, and not situations like “chasing Antic out to the 3-point line” or “trying to catch Anthony Davis sprinting down the court.”

Well, that's good news for the NBA since the trend isn't headed towards centers who can shoot from the outside and don't necessarily spend most of their time on the low block.

You take a flyer on him in Year 1, and if it doesn’t work out, you have a big expiring in Year 2. Wouldn’t Charlotte and Dallas do this tomorrow? Wouldn’t the Celtics sniff around?

That's the fourth reference to the Celtics in a column that is supposed to be about Round 1 of the NBA playoffs. That's four references for a non-playoff team while the Raptors aren't mentioned at all, the Grizzlies are mentioned in passing, the Nets aren't mentioned at all, and the Spurs/Mavericks are both mentioned in passing. Meanwhile the Celtics are mentioned or referenced five times in this column. Imagine how often Bill would talk about them if they were actually in Round 1 of the playoffs.

Wouldn’t OKC have to consider something with Hibbert and Kendrick Perkins’s expiring as the principals? I refuse to believe he’s untradable.

You are the one who asked the question, jackass.

We were just celebrating him two months ago!

"We" were celebrating him two months ago weren't "we"!

But I liked how a reader named Trent in Indy summed up the Hibbert issue … “You know when you drive your car and hear a weird sound, but ignore it? Then you hear it again louder, but you ignore it because you’re really busy? Then you hear it constantly, but you are now

I'm going to have to stop it here. Trent from Indy seems to be the type of guy who takes selfies of himself in the mirror and then uses it as his avatar on Twitter, because he's so damned impressed with himself. This is an overly-long analogy that is specifically intended to get Bill's attention and get a response. Get your own writing style. Why can't Bill and his readers simply just say something as opposed to using an overly-long analogy? An analogy is partially used in order to shorten an explanation, not lengthen it.

worried about the potentially big expense that might be represented by that sound, so you ignore it still? Then your car won’t start, so you take it to the shop and find out it’s even worse than you’d imagined, and so many expensive things are wrong with your car that you decide to fix the bare minimum of the problems in order to sell the piece of crap and make it someone else’s problem? That’s Roy Hibbert.”

Or as a normal person who is actually capable of expressing himself without an overly-long analogy would say, "Roy Hibbert is a problem that can't be ignored and won't simply go away on his own."

Q: Did you know that, since 1985, only MJ, Magic, Shaq, Kobe, Iverson, T-Mac and Aldridge have scored 42-plus points in back-to-back playoff games?

I just furrowed my brow.

Thanks for the update on the status of your brow. My life is now more complete.

Q: What’s crazier — that only three rookies cracked a 10-man rotation for a 2014 playoff team, or that those three rookies are Mason Plumlee, Steven Adams and Cody Zeller?

At some point, we’re going to need a computer to simulate a seven-game series between the 2000 Draft All-Stars and the 2013 Draft All-Stars to officially figure out the worst draft of all time.

Every year Bill says the draft isn't very good. Can we give the 2013 draft class two years in the NBA before writing them off? It doesn't sound like that much to ask.

Q: Is anyone on Miami better at basketball than they were a year ago?

They have LeBron, Bosh, and Wade. Does it matter?

Q: You’re a sportswriter on the Internet — why haven’t you attacked James Harden yet? Didn’t you get the memo? It’s Attack James Harden Week.

Put it this way — I watched him take terrible 3s, shoot himself out of ice-cold stretches and treat defense like a nuisance for six solid months. You know what my reaction was? I voted for him for first-team All-NBA. He’s the league’s streakiest superstar.

Yeah Bill, some people would call "streakiest" as the "most inconsistent" NBA superstar.

During the 2013-14 season, Harden did the following things …

• Missed 14 of 17 shots against Phoenix (including 0-for-10 from 3), then dropped 34 on Golden State two nights later.

• Missed seven of nine shots against Memphis, only he finished with 27 points because he made 22 of 25 FT’s.

• Went 2-for-9 against OKC, finished with eight points … and exploded for 38, 37 and 38 the next three games, respectively.

• Threw up 41, 10 and six with six steals against Portland just six weeks ago.

• From Game 70 through Game 81, he averaged 28.1 ppg, 8.3 apg, 5.1 rpg, 1.9 spg, 44-37-89% splits and made 10.5 of 11.8 FTA. Repeat: Harden MADE 126 free throws in 12 games.

It sounds like he's just another basketball player who has bad nights. That can't be though, because Bill Simmons has decided that in this week's column he will make James Harden the streakiest superstar in the NBA. It's a real thing that Bill just made up.

we appreciate Harden’s 90 percent (the good stuff) and tolerate the 10 percent (the annoying stuff), but occasionally, the 10 percent completely overpowers the 90 percent.

Stop writing "we." You don't speak for anyone but yourself, despite what your massive ego may tell you. Also, this 90/10 rule basically means that James Harden isn't a perfect basketball player. That's not a news flash. 99% of the league falls in this category of not being perfect.

Q: How much pot should Boston fans smoke during Brooklyn’s playoff games to trick themselves into thinking that Pierce and KG still play for the Celtics?

This is the fifth and last Celtics reference in this column. This is a column about Round 1 of the NBA playoffs where Bill didn't mention two playoff teams at all and Bill's favorite team who didn't make the playoffs is mentioned five times.

Q: What’s the best wager for a 2014 Finals matchup right now just from the standpoint of getting great odds?

You gotta love Heat-Grizzlies at +2100. If Memphis gets by OKC, it’ll have the Clippers next, then probably the winner of Spurs-Blazers. Both winnable, right? The Grizzlies have had “The Look” (trademark: Mike Lombardi for a few weeks now)

Mike Lombardi? I thought he was the GM of the Browns. What happened there? Man, I tell you...being associated with Bill Belichick is so much more fun than having to show you can do a job as well as Bill Belichick isn't it?

they’re tough, they’re playoff-proven, they can get stops, and most important, they know who they are.

Bill's grasp of cliched talking is pretty good. He's excellent at talking in generalities and cliches. It must be his "NBA Countdown" experience rubbing off on him.

Q: It’s a bad sign for Brooks that Russell Westbrook’s brother tweeted during Game 3 that OKC needs a new coach, right?

It’s certainly not a GOOD sign...I love watching Durant and Westbrook, but Westbrook’s overcompetitiveness — the trait you want 99 percent of the time — actually hurts Oklahoma City because he’s saying “I GOT THIS!” way too much.

Apparently Bill's new favorite way to describe an NBA player is to talk about him being an "I GOT THIS" guy. Look for a column in the future expanding on this concept for 1000 words followed by a mailbag for the rest of the column.

It’s starting to feel more and more like Durant and Westbrook might need their own teams. But that’s the best thing about Game 4: They could flip that narrative with one monster game in Memphis. Do they have their own everyone-needs-to-shut-the-eff-up 70-27-15 lurking in them?

Bill's answer is that Westbrook and Durant may each need their own NBA team, but they also may not each need their own NBA team. Talk to him in five years and he will tell you definitively whether they each needed their own NBA team. Then Bill will use his powers of hindsight to tell us why "we" thought Durant/Westbrook could co-exist and why it didn't work or if it turns out Durant/Westbrook did work out Bill will tell us how he said it could work. "We" are wrong when Bill is wrong, Bill is right when Bill is right.

Welcome to this weekend’s most fascinating subplot … well, other than Indiana having basketball’s first-ever collective nervous breakdown.

But the most important burning question from Round 1 of the playoffs is how the Pacers collective nervous breakdown affected the Boston Celtics? Is there a Jermaine O'Neal Corollary involved at all? 


Anonymous said...

You know how you're watching a movie, and it just drags on, and at the 90 minute mark you're like, get to the freaking point, and then an hour later it's finally over and you're wondering why they couldn't have shaved 60 minutes off? That's what it's like reading e-mails that Simmons posts of fans and their torturous analogies. Analogies are meant to make things easier to understand, not harder. When you go on and on and on, it defeats the purpose of using an analogy to begin with. Simmons tends to, but not always, do a good job of keeping his analogies short, but those e-mails he posts are always death.

"Can the Wizards really make the Eastern finals when their fans are sending emails during playoff games like, “I’d like to report an attempted murder — Randy Wittman is trying to kill me”?"

This is really lame. Fans of every team complain about their coach. I guarantee during Miami's title seasons, fans sent emails complaining about Erik Spoelstra, but it somehow didn't stop them from winning. And this business of simply being the Wizards being an obstacle...give me a break. Absolutely none of these players have anything to do with previously horrible Wizards team.

It also presupposes that fans are so smart that they can pick out when a coach is good and when a coach is bad, which is highly presumptuous. Anyone who has listened to talk radio or reading the comments section on a message board knows most fans are idiots.

Anonymous said...

The "I got this" is already as annoying as " who says no?"

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, those people who write in with the emails want to write like Bill and so they use these loooooooong analogies because they believe it makes them more creative and it gets Bill's attention. It's been this way for a while and it's never not annoying.

Every team complains about their coach. The fact a team complains about their coach doesn't mean the coach is bad.

I would bet most of the Wizards players know very little about the history of the team, so I doubt that's in play in this situation. You really think John Wall knows in-depth about the Wizards tortured history? I'm sure he knows a little but he didn't experience it firsthand so it probably doesn't have a huge impact on him. I don't know why Bill thinks this is a good point.

Anon2, Lance Stephenson did "have this" in Game 7 yesterday. I wonder if Bill will bring that up? Probably not. And yes, it's already annoying.