Thursday, April 23, 2015

7 comments Bill Simmons Posts an NBA Playoffs Mailbag and Promises More Mailbags to Come; Essentially Making a Mockery of the "Columns" Heading On His Grantland Page

In the last Bill Simmons post I did, which was about his NBA lottery preview, I wrote the following: 

Bill Simmons must have made a mistake. It seems he actually wrote a column and posted it on Grantland. I keep waiting for it to be pulled back and Bill to admit it was an accident and he didn't mean to actually write a column that isn't a mailbag.

But hey, I'm sure the SimmonsClones are just excited to have another column from Bill they can worship and send in questions to him about, thereby allowing Bill to answer the questions in a mailbag and justify the existence of the SimmonsClone asking the question.

So as expected, Simmons' very next column up on Grantland is in fact a mailbag. Let's just say I'm not entirely shocked. It's all circular. Bill writes a column, waits a week or two and spits out a mailbag. Then his readers respond to ideas in that mailbag and he writes another mailbag about these responses. Hey, it's better than actually having to think of a topic to write about when Bill really has no urge to put his quest for television celebrity status on hold to write like a simple little blogger would write. But, it's expected of him that he spit out words written on to a computer screen, so here is the mailbag reunion tour. Yeah, that's what he is calling it. If you would like to know why, it's easily explained in knowing that Bill Simmons has to have a contrivance for everything he writes now. He just can't write, there has to be a contrivance. Whether it's quotes from a movie, tons of YouTube videos in a column, comparing an athlete to something in pop culture or thinking of a contrivance to call the mailbag to cover up for the fact it's just a fucking mailbag, there will be a contrivance. So here is Bill's mailbag and I can feel Bill's indifference through my computer screen.

But first, it’s a Grantland Basketball Hour alert! On the heels of last night’s “Hardcore Playoff Preview” with me, Jalen Rose and Zach Lowe …

… we have a second playoff special counting down the “25 Most Intriguing People” of 2015’s postseason premiering tonight on ESPN at 7 ET. We’re also running these GBH shows as podcasts and throwing segments online (like this one). And we’re producing four to six more shows during the playoffs, so if you want to contribute a mailbag question, send it to

Ah yes, the partial true intent for posting articles or mailbags again rings true. It's a great way to cross-promote Bill's other ventures with Grantland. So Bill answers questions in a mailbag in his columns and answers questions from a mailbag on television. Essentially, he is just answering questions now. He's basically become a sports version of Andy Cohen from "What Watch Happens Live." As usual, I will be making fun of the person asking the question, as well as Bill.

Hey, speaking of mailbags …
Q: You do mailbags so infrequently, every time you actually do one, it feels like you’re doing a Mailbag Reunion Tour.

—Ryan, Boston

Bill's first question is from a guy who lives in Boston. I don't believe it.

BS: First of all, words hurt. Second, I’d like to welcome everyone to the 2015 Sports Guy Mailbag Reunion Tour! I’m gonna try my hardest to write a Friday mailbag every single week during the 2015 NBA playoffs. That’s 10 weeks in all. If you’ve been reading me for this long, you know that I’m notorious for making column promises that I can never totally keep.

It is difficult to write a mailbag. Bill has to have somebody else pick out the questions he will answer, then that person has to email Bill the questions he is going to answer/ignore/try to top with original ideas of his own, and then finally Bill will have to post the questions and his answers. This time could be better used to try and have conversations with famous people that he can publicly relay to his readers or trying to make tortured comparisons between an NBA team that hasn't won an NBA title in 60+ years and the New England Patriots.

Q: I have gotten laid TWICE since you wrote last. And I am married 10 years with two little kids, so you KNOW that is a long time. Don’t make me get laid again without writing. How about “just a mailbag”? Seriously.

—Brian, Harrisburg, PA

It's sad that Brian's life is so empty. His wife probably doesn't want to have sex with him anymore ever since that time she caught him jerking off to one of Bill's podcasts while simultaneously watching a DVR'd re-run of the "Grantland Basketball Hour." That's probably the real reason for his lack of sex.

BS: You got laid twice even though you have two little kids? You need to be happier about this. Cheer up. You’re putting a damper on the 2015 Sports Guy Mailbag Reunion. As always, these are actual emails from actual readers.

Some of these actual readers are Bill Simmons reading his own columns and then asking himself questions, so I guess theoretically they are actual readers.

Q: Admit it Bill — Rather than following your instincts and declaring James Harden as the undisputed MVP candidate, you surveyed the field, figured out which way the winds of popular opinion were blowing and chose to give Steph Curry the edge. How could you do this, especially after coming up with the best way to judge the MVP’s candidacy? (‘Replace the guy with a decent guy in the same position and evaluate how the team would have done.’)

—Ram Sridhar, Rutherford, NJ

BS: There are a couple of other ways too. I spent four solid years working on a trial-and-error method of determining the MVP award,

Jesus Christ. This so worthless. Bill insists on creating rules for things where there are no rules because the situation changes from year-to-year.

I settled on four fool-proof questions for determining every MVP season. What better way to solve our most polarizing MVP race in years: Harden or Curry?

These are four FOOL-PROOF questions for determining every MVP season. These rules will not change until they are proven incorrect, at which point Bill will add an addendum as a way of pretending that he simply wasn't wrong about there being a fool-proof way of determining every MVP season. These four questions will stand the test of time (for one year, at the very most) and will go to prove that Bill's opinion on who the MVP is will consistently agree with Bill's opinion on who the MVP is. Few writers are better at using his own opinion to prove his opinion correct.

"Chipotle is better than Qdoba and Moe's due to this three-prong test I just created. LOOK! The three-prong test I created agrees with my already set conclusion Chipotle is better than Qdoba and Moe's."

Question No. 1: If you replaced an MVP candidate with a decent player at his position for the entire season, what would be the hypothetical effect on his team’s record?

This is a fool-proof question that contains two assumptions or questions that are purely subjective. What is a "decent player" and how do we measure the hypothetical effect on the team's record? Both of these are answers that rely entirely on a person's opinion.

Normally, you’d say James Harden wins under this framework — if you replaced him on that injury-ravaged Rockets team with, say, Arron Afflalo, Houston probably would win 35-38 games instead of 56.

Actually Bill, I have Houston as winning 45 games without James Harden.

I don't think it takes a genius to see how worthless this first question ends up being. Bill takes a guess at how many games Houston will win without Harden. It's an opinion-based question that leads to the answer simply being an opinion as well.

Couldn’t you say the same about the Warriors? Yeah, if you replaced Curry with Reggie Jackson, the Warriors might lose 15-20 more games while grabbing a no. 7 seed. 

No, actually I have the Warriors as losing 20-25 more games with Reggie Jackson AND Jackson will drown while swimming in the ocean midseason. Boy, this hypothetical is a brutal one.

It’s an exceptionally coached team with enough depth to just bench David Lee whenever they feel like it. 

I have absolutely no idea why "bench" is italicized here. It's a huge mystery to me.

And their defense has been as good as their offense, which people always forget because it’s so damned fun to watch their offense.

Nope, "people" remember this. "People" don't forget it simply because it's convenient for you to think "people" forget it so that you can feel like you just made an excellent point.

But Curry was the biggest reason that the 2015 Warriors were the seventh member of our .800/10 Club — any team that finished with an .800-plus winning percentage and a plus-10 point differential — which is relevant because the first six teams won a title.

Again, why italicize "won a title"? If you read this sentence aloud and emphasize "won a title" the sentence sounds ridiculous. Play this game at home if you like. It sounds stupid to read the sentence like Bill wrote it.

Oh, and don't forget if you are reading it aloud to use a grating voice as well for the full Bill Simmons effect.

Harden turned a .500 team into a 56-win team. Curry turned a no. 7 seed into one of the best regular-season teams ever, as well as an unforgettable League Pass team and the single best story of the 2014-15 season. So Curry wins this one.

So basically Bill didn't even get through the first question before he was like, "Fuck it, I'm not going to pay attention to my own rules. I want Steph Curry to win, so he will."

These are FOOL-PROOF questions that MUST be answered in order to find out who the MVP will be. By "fool-proof" Bill must mean "questions with arbitrary answers based on the person answering the question's opinion on the topic of who the MVP is and if the person answering the question wants a certain answer to be correct then he can just make up something on the spot."

Question No. 2: In a giant pickup game with every NBA player available and two knowledgeable fans forced to pick five-man teams with their lives depending on the outcome, who would be the first player picked based on how everyone just played in the regular season?

LeBron James. There are no other answers I would listen to as correct.

I love this question.


As much as I want to pick Russell Westbrook, the thought of hinging my life on a night when Russ might lose his mind and start going 1-on-5 while maybe earning a 16th technical that the league can’t even rescind because the loser of the hypothetical bet would be dead already … I mean, that scares the bejesus out of me. The safest bet? LeBron James 

I feel like Will Ferrell's version of Alex Trebek on SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy sometimes when I'm covering a Bill Simmons mailbag. I just want to rip up the cards with the questions on them and ask Bill, "What conclusion would you like to reach? Just state what you think and we can ignore all the bullshit you use to get there."

In this case, I'm going to try and ignore what "knowledgeable fans" would be considered in this situation. Again, it's a subjective opinion on who is knowledgeable and who is not.

You know who the answer to this question might be? KAWHI LEONARD!!!! 

It might be Kawhi Leonard or it might be Meyers Leonard or it could be Meyer Lansky. All of these would be the right answer in Crazy Land. This is the same Crazy Land where Kawhi Leonard is the first pick in a draft among knowledgeable NBA fans.

If I take Kawhi — who proved after the All-Star break that he’s the most destructive perimeter defender since Apex Scottie Pippen — then I can lock down the other team’s best offensive player and still grab an elite offensive guy with my second pick.

Or you could pick the elite offensive guy with the first pick and still have a few rounds to select Kawhi Leonard. And what if the other team doesn't choose James Harden? Does that ruin part of Leonard's value? I don't know why I ask these questions...

The truth is, there were too many terrific players this season. Westbrook was 2015’s night-to-night balls-to-the-wall alpha dog; LeBron was 2015’s hibernating alpha dog; Harden was 2015’s alpha-dog-as-long-as-Kawhi-wasn’t-around; Kawhi was 2015’s alpha dog stopper; Anthony Davis was the alpha-dog-in-training; and Curry was the alpha dog on 2015’s alpha dog. It’s a cop-out, but there’s no clear answer.

It's a fool-proof set of questions to where the first question has been ignored and the second question didn't come up with a clear answer. THESE ARE THE GREATEST QUESTIONS IN THE HISTORY OF HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS AND SHOULD BE ASKED BY ST. PETER UPON ENTRANCE TO HEAVEN! WHO SAYS "NO" TO THIS?

Nothing is more typical of Bill Simmons than to take four years to think of four questions to determine who should win MVP that provide no clear answer as to who should win MVP.

(Important: In mid-June, we might feel differently.)

Yes Bill, since you believe yourself to speak for every NBA fan on the planet because you are the expert of all experts, "we" may feel differently in June. Spoiler alert: I won't. If the Cavs don't make the NBA Finals, I'm still picking LeBron. I'm sure "we" will find out my opinion is wrong though, because overreacting to something that just happened is a specialty of Bill's.

Question No. 3: If you’re explaining your MVP pick to someone who has a favorite player in the race — a player whom you didn’t pick — will he at least say something like, “Yeah, I don’t like it, but I see how you arrived at that choice”?

Oh for fuck's sake. This isn't even really a question. My head might explode so I hope you see the issue I have with this question. How can a question be fool-proof if it is so overly-reliant on the opinion of another person? Riddle me this Simmons!

Applies only if you’re discussing the MVP race with a Cleveland fan who counters, “Um, we were so dreadful that we won three of the last four lotteries, and then LeBron showed up and helped us overhaul our team, and suddenly we’re -230 favorites to win the East, and LeBron has looked like LEBRON for the past three months, and since we’ve already collectively agreed that he’s the best basketball player since MJ and one of the best seven or eight players ever, um, why isn’t he the MVP again?

Bill should be kicked in the groin by a horse for writing "LeBron has looked like LEBRON..." Do Bill's readers realize just how awful he is at writing, arguing a point and just generally putting together a coherent, logical thought? His writing is that of a high school kid, but is it that he's so funny and in touch with today's youth and the struggle they go through that they don't care?

Important: The Bulls went 203-43 during the three regular seasons from 1996 through 1998, then 45-13 in the three postseasons (winning all three titles). They never lost three games in a row and played only one Game 7, even though they played 304 games in 31 months. JORDAN PLAYED IN 304 OF THOSE 304 GAMES.

Important: I don't know why this is important.

And during the second of those three seasons, even though we’d already decided that MJ was the greatest basketball player ever,

Who the fuck is "we" Bill? YOU? YOU decided that Michael Jordan was the greatest player ever? Even if it is true for me personally, it annoys me Bill truly believes because he's just written in 1997 "we" decided Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever that is is true. He should be kicked in the groin by two horses and one of the horses needs to be wearing spikes.

a majority of media members said to themselves, I think Karl Malone was slightly more valuable this season. It’s probably the dumbest thing that ever happened. Anyway, Jordan’s numbers never slipped during that stretch.

Oh, they didn't? And again, read that last sentence aloud and hear how dumb the emphasis on "slipped" sounds in the context of the sentence. Anyway, Jordan's numbers didn't slip. Not at all.

They dipped a little, but that’s it.

So his numbers did slip? See Bill, stating Jordan's numbers didn't "slip" and then using another word that means "slip" in place of "dip" only goes to show that you are making things up as you go along. There is no difference in "dip" and "slip." It's the same thing and attempting to differentiate them is simply a desperate way of making it seem like Jordan's numbers didn't decline just slightly when they did.

LeBron in ’15: 25.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 7.4 apg, 49-35-71%, 25.9 PER, .199 WS/48

LeBron ’08-14: 28.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 7.1 apg, 52-35-76%, 30.1 PER, .283 WS/48

Now that’s a dip.

It's the same things as a "slip." These things I end up arguing about when covering a Bill Simmons article makes me question my sanity.

Question No. 4: Ten years from now, who will be the first player from that season who pops into my head?

Oh for motherfucking fuckityfuckeverlastinglightforallthatisholyfuckityfuckfuck. The last "fool-proof" question depends, yet again, entirely on the opinion that a person holds? This is not fool-proof, this is just an opinion. A regular, boring opinion. It's not a way to find out who the real MVP is (which we all know is Kevin Durant's mom), but this question is just another in a long line of bullshit lists, questions, corollaries, etc that Bill spent all of 10 minutes concocting. These lists, questions, corollaries, etc all end up essentially just being a way to back up the opinion Bill holds by extrapolating out a series of opinions that Bill holds to reach his ultimate opinion. It's always, "My opinion isn't wrong because here is more of my opinion that proves my original opinion correct." The game is rigged to reach the conclusion Bill wants it to reach.

But around 2007, I remember praising Nash for being the only “driver” who could have handled the race car that was the Seven Seconds or Less Suns; they were like a special Ferrari built for his exact qualities. You could say the same about Curry and 2015’s Porsche Warriors.

Okay Bill, let's play this game. If I were a Hawks fan, what if Jeff Teague is the player from this season who pops into my head? Does that mean Jeff Teague is the NBA MVP or does it just mean I'm a Hawks fan and that is the team I identify with most? Nothing can be fool-proof if it relies entirely on a person's opinion. Four opinion-based questions are even less fool-proof when based on four separate opinions. Please stop writing for Grantland.

Last Curry point: I grew up with my father telling me, You missed out on Maravich. Every weekend, they showed one nationally televised college game and we used to pray it would be Maravich. There will never be another Maravich. I always felt cheated that I never caught Pistol Pete in his prime; by the time he landed on the Celtics in 1980, he was pretty much washed up. Fast-forward 35 years: Isn’t Curry really Pistol Pete reincarnated as a more efficient, more unselfish model?

Yes, he is Bill. Steph Curry is reincarnated as a more talented Pete Maravich. You nailed it.

Over everything else, Stephen Curry performed.

Read it aloud. It sounds stupid.

This was a virtuoso performance that included staggeringly good individual efficiency and once-a-decade team success. When I think about the 2014-15 regular season, I will remember Curry and the Warriors first … and then I’ll remember everyone else. He’s my MVP.

But Bill, you said these four questions would figure out who the MVP was and you worked on these questions for four years (again, I feel like I'm Will Ferrell's Alex Trebek where there is so much stupidity being thrown at me I can't even focus on piece of that stupidity...Bill worked on these four questions for FOUR YEARS?...It would have taken me possibly an hour to come up with these rules). After four years this is all you got? These four questions figure out who you think is the MVP, so as I said, they are basically just a way to reinforce your own opinion. I think of LeBron James when I think of this NBA season. Let's pretend. So does that make him the MVP? That's what I remember most, so he's the first guy I would choose in a pick up game and if you take him off the Cavs we've seen what happens, plus it's never bad to choose LeBron and it's hard to disagree with LeBron as a choice. So this means he's MVP according to Bill's "fool-proof" four questions. Then how come Bill's MVP was Steph Curry?

Q: You once wrote that every MVP trophy’s size should depend on “the quality of the MVP race” and the “transcendence of the season itself.” How large should 2015’s trophy be?

—Josh, Grand Rapids, MI

Bill had separate weights for each MVP season and the heavier the trophy then the closer and more exciting the race was...or something like that. It obviously doesn't matter because it's another example of Bill just making things up and mistaking it for creativity.

Well, 2015 was an undeniably memorable race (along with 1987, 1990 and 1993, one of the four best of the past 30 years) … and Steph Curry is a future Hall of Famer (if he stays healthy) … and Curry definitely gutted out that award (we don’t even know if he won). So I’m awarding 25-pound status for the 2015 trophy.

(Bengoodfella makes a wanking motion with his hand)

The rest of my 2015 awards ballot, since we’re here: Andrew Wiggins for rookie (over Noel and Mirotic); Lou Williams for sixth man (over Isaiah Thomas); Steve Kerr for coach (over Budz and Pop);

Here is where I am a little confused. Steve Kerr is Coach of the Year because he took a team that was already a playoff team (got 6th seed over the last two seasons) and has the MVP on the roster over the Hawks, who were also a playoff team previously, but added no real impact players in the offseason and have almost zero stars on the team. The Hawks went from an 8-seed to the 1-seed in a matter of one season without adding real impact players, meanwhile Steve Kerr had the MVP (according to Bill) on his team.

Which guy did the better coaching job? The Warriors won 51 and 47 games over the last two seasons, while the Hawks won 44 and 38 games over the last two seasons. Both teams got a 1-seed and the Warriors went from 51 to 67 wins while the Hawks went from 38 to 60 wins. Which coach did the better coaching job again? Bill's buddy Steve Kerr of course.

Q: Don’t you think Byron Scott could play a police commissioner in a TNT drama? He definitely has the stache for it.

—James Houston, Redondo Beach

Uh-oh, one of Bill's readers has an original idea. We all know what this means. Bill has to shit on it and think of a much funnier, more clever idea to be the most clever guy in the room.

BS: I think it’s more fun to watch him play Unfrozen Caveman NBA Coach. I don’t believe in your pace-and-space offenses or spreading the floor so players can attack the basket. I see someone taking a 3-pointer and say to myself, “Why wouldn’t he just take two more dribbles and fire off a 20-footer?” I’m just a caveman! I was frozen during the 1988 Finals and recently thawed out to help turn the Lakers into a perennial lottery team! 

Yep, not really that funny. But hey, it's important to know that Bill heard a reader's funny idea and managed to again be the most clever guy in the room. It's about Bill's ego.

Q: How many more hours of motionless staring does Derek Fisher need to record during games before we can start calling him NBA Jim Caldwell?

—Ross, Santa Barbara

An idea that Bill wishes he had thought of writing down. That means he'll have to acknowledge this joke and then change the subject quickly so that everyone thinks Bill is the smartest, most clever guy in the room. Bill has jokes!

BS: Um, zero! We’re here! I always wanted an NBA Jim Caldwell. It’s too bad that Wittman doesn’t have an NFL equivalent; you can’t run the Clogged Toilet offense in football. We’ll have to wait for an NFL coach who spends every first and second down running the ball into the middle of the line, then every third down throwing it 25 yards downfield. Maybe this will be Jim Tomsula’s new offense for the 49ers. I mean, would you rule out anything incompetent with the 49ers at this point?

Bill is that guy who always turns one person's joke or idea into a dick-measuring contest where he feels like he can't stop talking until everyone has acknowledged HIS joke or idea is the best one yet. Bill has to be considered the best and therefore receive the most attention. It's shocking to know he's an only child when he certainly feeds the stereotype.

Q: Putting aside the once and future king (Jim Dolan), which team owner do you think is currently despised by the greatest percentage of the fans of their team? Right now I’d go with a toss up between Jed York and Jimmy Buss — they both feature similar combinations of ran great coaches out of town/running team solely due to nepotism/entitlement/general desire to be treated like a big boy by employees, media and fans without ever having earned it. Thoughts?

—James F., San Francisco, CA

BS: But in Jimmy Buss’s case, it actually is impossible — he couldn’t run a Jack in the Box, much less the Lakers. Still, everyone knows he’s getting pushed out by his sister soon. And also, he’s just been more hopeless and sad and overmatched than anything. I live in Los Angeles

You do, Bill? You live in Los Angeles? Why haven't you mentioned this little fact before in your columns? This is brand new information.

(By the way, I love how Bill's initials are "B.S." It's just very apt)

and don’t know any Lakers fan who actually hates Jimmy Buss. He’s the closest we’ll ever come in real life to Fredo running the Corleones. I feel bad even writing this paragraph.

And if Bill doesn't know any Lakers fans who like Jimmy Buss then obviously there are no Lakers fans who like Jimmy Buss. After all, how could the people that Bill knows personally NOT be a sample size that reflects the opinion of everyone?

Then again, nobody has a lower fan approval rating than Washington’s Daniel Snyder, who inspired me to write a December 2014 column based on the premise, If you’re a D.C. football fan, would you be OK if Snyder moved your team … as long as you got another NFL team three years later? When D.C. sports guru Dan Steinberg tossed that question to his readers, more than 80 percent of them responded “YES!!!!!” Now that’s a disapproval rating! Nobody is topping Daniel Snyder right now. Sorry, Jimmy Dolan haters.

But if zero Lakers fans like Jimmy Buss then that is a 100% disapproval rating. It's hard to beat that. Unless everyone Bill knows personally doesn't reflect the opinion of Lakers fans everywhere, which is an impossibility.

Q: Simple NBA lottery fix — what if any team that picks 1-thru-3 isn’t eligible for those picks the following year? So in 2015: the Cavs, Bucks and Sixers would be ineligible.
—Jordan D., Portsmouth, NH

BS: So everyone gets the same amount of lottery balls like always, but if Philly wins a top-three pick, they just slide into the no. 4 spot and that’s that? Fine by me.

Wait, Bill acknowledged a reader's idea wasn't bad AND didn't try to top that idea? I'm overcome with positive emotion.  

I’d also create a “no NBA team can win the first pick twice in a five-year span” rule. 

Oh. I guess Bill didn't top the idea, he just added to it. The positive emotion still somewhat continues.

Q: If Boogie pushes his way out of Sacramento this summer, which team is the favorite to get him? Probably not my Hornets I am guessing.

—Thomas, Ballantyne, NC

BS: You guessed right.

Because the favorites to get Cousins are the favorites that Bill will decide are the favorites.

I came up with three Boogie Summer Trade medalists without including the Celtics and their armada of future first-rounders.

Amazingly, Bill manages to include the Celtics in this discussion by not including the Celtics in this discussion. Everything NBA-related revolves around the Celtics, even when it doesn't.

THE BUCKS (Bronze) — What about Giannis, Zaza Pachulia and Milwaukee’s no. 17 pick to Sacramento for Boogie?

Stop it. A week ago Bill was comparing Giannis to Tracy McGrady. Now this.

And if I’m the Bucks, deep down, I know Giannis might be kinda sorta maybe slightly expendable with Jabari Parker returning next season.

I will admit Bill knows more about the NBA than I do, at least in general. But Jabari Parker is not anywhere close to the same thing as Giannis. Parker is a scorer who can play small forward and power forward in a pinch, while Giannis can guard seven positions on the court and can blend in well with pretty much any lineup the Bucks put out there. There is no such thing as another player duplicating what Giannis does, much less Jabari Parker being the guy doing the duplicating.

(My verdict: I don’t think Milwaukee should put Giannis on the table. It’s just fun to discuss.)

Kidding, not kidding!

THE KNICKS (Silver) — Let’s say they win a top-two pick, even if the odds dipped a little after Derek Fisher’s boys beat Atlanta on an unusually devastating night even for the always-devastated Knicks fans. Would you flip the rights to Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor for Cousins? And what would be more fun than Boogie in New York? Anything?

Why on Earth would the Knicks do this?

(My verdict: I’d do it if I were Sacramento … but I wouldn’t do it if I were the Knicks. Instead, I’d draft Towns or Okafor and spend Boogie’s money on a free agent.)

By the way, Bill is giving his verdict on what he thinks about trade ideas that he himself has thought of. This is like the first cousin to Bill using evidence he creates based on his opinion to prove his own opinion correct. So the first two trades ideas that Bill thinks about are both not going to work because Bill thinks his own ideas are bad. Thanks for killing space, Bill. 

THE MAGIC (Gold) — Your clear favorites. In July, the Magic could whip out a Nikola Vucevic/top-five 2015 pick package and maybe even throw in their future Lakers pick just to show off...And Orlando could build around their electric Elfrid Payton–Victor Oladipo backcourt, Boogie, Aaron Gordon and Tobias Harris (if they re-sign him), plus cap space galore.

Or the Magic could just keep Vucevic and the top-five pick and build around Payton-Oladipo-Vucevic-Winslow/Russell/Cauley-Stein-Gordon and Tobias Harris. Can you imagine Aaron Gordon and Cauley-Stein on the same team? They may set a record for "Most physical talent without any offensive game at all between two teammates." (How's that for a Bill Simmons-esque category?) Both Gordon and Cauley-Stein are great basketball players on paper, but their offensive games need a lot of help AND they would be on the same team? That would be fun to watch.

(My verdict: yes for Orlando, no for Sacramento unless Boogie unequivocally says, “GET ME OUT OF HERE.”)

Cousins is great, but I would almost keep the two high picks the Magic have and see how they shake out rather than trade them for Cousins.

Q: You said on a recent NBA podcast that the Thunder should have held out Durant longer, and that you can’t always trust the player’s judgement in this matter. I think you’re right. Look how Pop handled Kawhi’s wrist injury. Kawhi said his injury wasn’t that serious; Pop shot that down immediately. Even if Kawhi missed almost five weeks, look at the end result. The lesson, as always, is: Do things like the Spurs do them.


BS: Should we be worried that Westbrook and Durant had six combined surgeries for two injuries? Who is the head of OKC’s medical staff, Dr. Dre?

The 90's called and they think this joke is hilarious. Couldn't there be a better punchline than "Dr. Dre" to this joke? How about an actual doctor who is incompetent or a television doctor who is incompetent? I mean, "Dr. Dre" as the punchline? That's some half-ass writing.

Q: What NBA starting Five would make for the best “5 guys who have to live in a Jersey Shore apartment” together? I first thought Cleveland, but the more I think about it I think The Clippers would be the best.

—Jonathan, North Hollywood

BS: Great call. 


That’s not your winner, though.

Sadness accrues. It wasn't meant to be.

But here’s your NBA/Jersey Shore winner: the Phoenix Suns. You know, the team I described earlier this season as, “If you put all 30 NBA teams in the same nightclub, the Suns would be the ones that kept getting kicked out for reasons like ‘We didn’t like the way Blake Griffin was looking at us’ and ‘Who does Draymond Green think he is????’” You’re not topping Alex Len, P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris living in the same Jersey Shore house, especially when Marcus Morris keeps sleeping on the sofa because he refuses to be left out of the show. It’s just not happening.

Haha! Bill's idea is a better idea than yours!

Can’t this just be a show? What’s stopping us?

Because these players probably don't want to be on a reality television show? Because nobody would watch it? I could go on, but I care not to. I'm sure Bill can relate to simply not giving a shit anymore.

Q: What (somewhat realistic) NBA Finals match-up do you think the NBA fears the most? Portland vs. Atlanta? And do you think Atlanta is getting any calls when it plays Chicago or Cleveland or will it be Kings-Lakers, Game 6, for the entire series?

 —Luke, Lee’s Summit, MO

BS: We know this much: From a “Who the F are these guys?” standpoint, the NBA should worry only about Atlanta crashing the Finals. In the past 35 years, the only teams seeded lower than no. 3 that made the Finals were the 1981 Rockets (no. 6), 1995 Rockets (no. 6), 1999 Knicks (no. 8 in a lockout season), 2006 Mavs (no. 4) and 2010 Celtics (no. 4). That’s five times in 35 years! You have an 86 percent chance of seeing two of the following 2015 Finals opponents: Golden State, Houston or the Clippers, and Atlanta, Cleveland or Chicago.

The NBA. The professional sports league that everyone who writes "There needs to be a salary cap in MLB" and "MLB is dying because only certain teams have a chance of winning the World Series at the beginning of the year" columns seem to forget about as an example of a league where only certain teams really do start the year off as having a chance to win the NBA Finals.

Let’s rip through the pluses and minuses of the Hawks making the 2015 Finals.

Hey, it beats Bill shitting on ideas from his readers. 

Pluses: Hawks-Warriors would feature the most diverse crowds, by far, in NBA Finals history … this is important: IT’S REALLY FUN TO WATCH THE HAWKS PLAY BASKETBALL BECAUSE THEY PLAY BEAUTIFULLY TOGETHER … there’s a Tree of Pop scenario if it’s Hawks-Warriors or Hawks-Spurs … oh, and Atlanta pro sports fans have rooted for exactly one championship team since 1958 (the ’95 Braves during the shortened post-strike season when everyone hated baseball).

Yes, EVERYONE hated baseball that season so this championship doesn't really count. It took the Yankees to really make the world love baseball again.

Minuses: I hate typing this because I love watching them, but the ’15 Hawks would unequivocally be our most anonymous Finals team since the ’76 Suns …

"Our" most anonymous Finals team. Because it's an "us" thing who don't know who the '15 Hawks are. By the way, if Bill hates typing this then why did he do it and thereby give credence to this idea?

Atlanta is America’s strangest big city because it doesn’t have a discernible downtown, which makes it a quagmire for “big sporting event purposes” (there’s no epicenter and it’s a traffic disaster)

This is important as it pertains to why it would be bad for the Hawks to make the NBA Finals. I know all the fans that watch on television would be deeply worried about the traffic situation in Atlanta.

if ABC got stuck with San Antonio–Atlanta, they’d have to save the Finals ratings by replacing Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Breen with Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Viola Davis …

Why would ABC do this? Because there are a lot of black people in Atlanta so the only way fans of the team would watch is if ABC replaced a mostly white announcing crew with a black announcing crew you racist asshole?

(I just like calling Bill racist in an absurd fashion...that's all)

Add everything up and there’s some undeniable 1999 Pacers/2001 Bucks/2002 Kings potential here for the 2015 Hawks. The good news: Officiating is better than it was during that 1999-2003 WWE era, and there’s more internal accountability for poor performance, as well as YouTube and GIFs and Vines lingering over everything (and a score of Internet detectives ready to pounce). The bad news: The way Cleveland is playing now, I can’t imagine them blowing Round 3 to an overachieving team that has only one defender to throw at LeBron. It’s just too far-fetched.

Yeah, but Bill, the Hawks have ubuntu and really believe in each other. Haven't you seen how they seem to enjoy playing with each other on the court and are constantly giving each other high-fives? The Hawks players do all this and from my understanding upon reading your columns is this type of team always succeeds because the players believe in each other. 

Q: Who’s winning the title? Who are we betting on in Round 1? Stop watching re-runs of The OC and text me back.

—Cousin Sal, Los Angeles

BS: I am making seven gambling recommendations, and only seven …

1. Cleveland to Win the East (-230)

Just parlay that number with Floyd to beat Manny (-210) and thank me after Memorial Day.

Yes, because Bill is historically so good at gambling. I'm sure everyone will be thanking him.

You could have maybe talked me into the Hawks if they were running on all cylinders and I had two drinks in me, but after the NYPD took out Thabo Sefolosha for reasons that remain ludicrously unclear, I don’t see how Atlanta beats Cleveland four times.

So after the Hawks lost a guy who played 18 minutes per game? Okay, then. It's not like Sefolosha could guard LeBron or anything like that.

3. Amount of Time Bill Simmons Watches the Hawks-Nets Series (52.5 Minutes)

Take the under. I can’t believe Deron Williams and Joe Johnson crashed the 2015 playoffs; I thought The Walking Dead already had its last episode. And why isn’t this entire series showing exclusively on NBA TV? What’s the point of having NBA TV if not for this series?

Bill just wrote this:


I hate typing this because I love watching them,

Bill likes watching the Hawks, except not really enough to watch them play a team he doesn't like watching play.

4. Cavs in Five (-120)

Here’s the smart bet. President Stevens isn’t getting swept. Baby Zeke isn’t getting swept. Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley aren’t getting swept. There will be one game in this series — in Cleveland, in Boston, doesn’t matter — when the Cavs are sleepwalking and the Celtics just care more. You watch.

Read it aloud again. The word "care" emphasized sounds silly to me.

Hey, Isaiah and Jae, can you measure this Cleveland basket for me?

A "Hoosiers" reference. It's so unlike Bill to make a "Hoosiers" reference.

Houston-Dallas has a chance to be one clunky, ugly, ridiculous, way-more-forgettable-than-you-think series. (I hope not.)

Thanks to Bill for telling "us" how forgettable "we" will find the Houston-Dallas series to be. I wasn't sure how forgettable I thought it would be.

7. Spurs in Six (+250) AND Spurs in Seven (+600)

This Spurs-Clips series is fundamentally overqualified for Round 1. That’s what makes it so great. I can’t imagine this being a dud. Too improbable.

I'm not even sure what the hell this means. This statement seems like an example of Bill giving a label to the series for the sake of something. I'm not even sure why. Apparently there are underqualified Round 1 series as well.

And second, Game 7 would happen on Saturday night, May 2, West Coast time … which would likely put the game head-to-head against Manny-Floyd in one of the all-time TV channel-flipping conundrums in the history of TV channel-flipping conundrums.

It is a channel-flipping conundrum unless a person might realize that it's not 2008, so Manny-Floyd isn't really going to be the boxing match that the headline "Manny-Floyd" makes it seem like it will be. So yep, Game 7 would probably win for me. As Bill would say, "Manny-Floyd" is underqualified for the amount of hype it will receive.

It’s destiny. It’s meant to be the Greatest Sports Night In Recent History. 

The Greatest Sports Night in Recent History, even though it hasn't happened yet to deserve this hypothetical moniker. 

So imagine having the Spurs +600 that night. Sign me up. Enjoy the playoffs, everybody.

Congrats on achieving another mailbag, Bill. The readers who worship you are an embarrassment to humanity.


Frank said...

"But Curry was the biggest reason that the 2015 Warriors were the seventh member of our .800/10 Club — any team that finished with an .800-plus winning percentage and a plus-10 point differential — which is relevant because the first six teams won a title.

Again, why italicize "won a title"? If you read this sentence aloud and emphasize "won a title" the sentence sounds ridiculous. Play this game at home if you like. It sounds stupid to read the sentence like Bill wrote it."

Thank you. One of the worst things about his writing, especially comparing within Grantland to his own staff, is his overuse of caps and markup.

JBsptfn said...

The Sports Guy Mailbag reunion: It's too bad that wasn't a real event. If we know Bill, it would be in Vegas.

That may be fun to attend to pose as a Simmons Clone, and then turn on them and make fun of those people or play some type of prank on them, like shooting water balloons at them with the water balloon maker toy that just came out.

Anonymous said...

As much as I want to pick Russell Westbrook, the thought of hinging my life on a night when Russ might lose his mind and start going 1-on-5 while maybe earning a 16th technical that the league can’t even rescind because the loser of the hypothetical bet would be dead already … I mean, that scares the bejesus out of me.

Good writing Bill. I love how specific this fantasy is that scares the bejesus out of him. Not sure why the league couldn't still rescind the technical even if the team's....player picker was dead, but whatever.

And sorry Ben, unfortunately the fact that the Braves won their only World Series the season that "we" all hated baseball invalidates everything else they accomplished: the 14 straight division titles, the 5 pennants, one of the great pitching staffs ever, all that crap.

Bengoodfella said...

Frank, I have started using WAY too many upper caps, but I try to at least make sure it doesn't sound overly stupid when reading it out loud. Bill's use of italics sounds stupidly dramatic, like a bad version of "48 Hours" where the narrator is just trying to drum up some drama that isn't there.

JB, if I could take the time off work I would go and just see how fanboy-ish it would get. I would come dressed as Simmons and even make it my own ComicCon. By the way, a convention of Bill's fans is probably his wet dream.

Anon, that specific fantasy is just why he wouldn't choose Westbrook. The odds of that happening are just so high!

It's okay. I ignore all those things due to the fact I can't help but they think they underachieved during that time anyway. I wish "we" didn't hate baseball that year, because the one World Series would have meant something.

DG said...

Nice, clean takedown. You can almost feel the stupid. It is like it is right there in front of you. Smart people know we are reading something that isn't logical.

The Trebek clip is very apt. There are too many things to point them all out.

A basketball aside: I think Cousins could still be a transformational big man in the right organization (which SAC clearly isn't right now). He can protect the rim on defense and play inside-out on offense. I personally would rather have him over Towns or Okafor even a few years down the road because I think he has a higher potential than either. He is young enough to be an absolute cornerstone on an upcoming team and I feel his skill-set can mesh with a lot of different types of players. I am not some huge DMC homer, I just see a talented player who could really be great in the right spot (it isn't a perfect comparison but maybe like Sheed when he went to Detroit?). I still believe a two-way big man is the hardest asset to get.

Bengoodfella said...

DG, you may be right about Cousins. You are correct in that a two-way big man like him is one of the hardest things to find. I don't think either Okafor or Towns (though Towns come closer probably) can be the big man that Cousins could be. Part of the reason I wouldn't do the deal if I'm the Knicks because they are the Knicks. I don't see how mixing Carmelo with Cousins would get the Knicks to where they claim they want to go. I feel like Cousins is better served going somewhere else. I like the Orlando idea pretty well actually.

Bengoodfella said...

Though that's not to say I would do the deal if I were Orlando. I think that's a good team for Cousins to play on, but could Orlando draft Winslow/Towns/whoever and keep the Lakers pick to be in better shape than if they traded for Cousins? Maybe, it obviously depends on the pick.