Thursday, April 16, 2015

7 comments Bill Simmons Writes an NBA Team Lottery Preview Using Quotes from Vin Diesel

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. Surprisingly, this column is not a mailbag but it is the same old contrived breakdown that Bill does where he previews/reviews something and uses movie quotes to do it. It's in his bag of four tricks he has used lately in order to churn out a column (YouTube videos, a conversation with another Grantland columnist, and of course a mailbag seem to be the other three). So Bill uses quotes from Vin Diesel's character in the "Fast and the Furious" to write about the NBA lottery teams. Yep, Bill is using quotes from a Vin Diesel character more known for taking action than having actual important things he has to say. It's desperate times in Bill's writing career. 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. Plus, Bill gets to pretend he's writing a column and not really simply relying on mailbags as the crutch for his writing career.

The NBA’s final regular-season week usually revolves around playoff seed positioning, MVP conversations, awards ballots, this Spurs picture, some unapologetic mega-tanking by the worst seven to eight teams, the annual “Ricky Rubio might be the worst shooter ever” conversation,

As a reminder, Bill loved Ricky Rubio prior to Rubio being drafted and playing in the NBA. He thought the Thunder should have drafted Rubio over James Harden.

the annual OKC newspaper article that revises Harden trade history,

But Bill got Kevin Durant to notice him on Twitter after Bill commented on this newspaper article. That's really why Bill brings it up.

(That reminds me: Round 1, Celtics vs. Hawks, Brad Stevens back in his old, familiar Butler-against-the-world underdog situation, 5,000 Boston fans at every Atlanta home game, Paul Millsap’s achy shoulder, no Thabo Sefolosha, some off-the-court Hawks drama, at least one Isaiah Thomas Heat Check looming, Brad Stevens a second time … I mean, WHY NOT US?????????)

It always circles back to the Celtics at some point for some reason or another. 

But you know what else always happens in that final week?

You write a column about all the things that "we" were wrong about during the NBA season?

Unless you root for a team with a legitimate chance to make postseason noise, you can’t shake the nagging sense that you wasted your life for six months.

Which, while remembering I blog on a site dedicated to sports, is a pretty sad way to go about living your life. It's sad to feel like you wasted your life over six months simply because your favorite NBA team isn't very good.

Just know that you didn’t waste your life for the past six months. Every NBA season yields positives for the noncontenders, no matter how hopeless or snakebitten or talent-deprived or poorly run your favorite franchise might have been.

The biggest positive being that you don't have to watch your favorite NBA team play again for another six months.

Just for kicks, we’re throwing in a meaningful Dom Toretto quote to capture every noncontender’s state of mind.

"Just for kicks" being defined as Bill saying, "I can't write a column anymore, there has to be some contrivance that the column revolves around."

So Bill writes this column revolving around quotes from "The Fast and the Furious." I have seen the first movie, didn't care to see any of the others, but I feel pretty confident to believe these aren't going to be the best quotes to base a column on the NBA around. But the alternative for Bill is to spend time thinking of other quotes from another movie or (the horror) not having a contrivance the column will revolve around. There MUST be a contrivance.

(By the way, I'm going to leave a lot of the quotes from Diesel's character out, they really don't seem to add to the content of what is written)

I mean, what other Dom quote would you use for Knicks fans? Did their favorite team just spend $85 million last spring on a Derek Fisher mannequin and a 70-year-old tweeter who lives 3,000 miles away? (Yessir.) Are those the two people running the team? (Unfortunately, yes.) Have James Dolan’s last 15 seasons yielded just five playoff appearances, one playoff series victory and 11 under-.500 seasons? (Um, yeah.) So why should Knicks fans be feeling good right now?

A team that has historically managed to screw up personnel moves and has executives Bill doesn't trust to run the team has a chance to draft early and screw up a personnel move? Obviously this is nothing but good news in the mind of Bill.

One problem: They kept dumping lottery picks or future lottery picks for established players like Antonio McDyess, Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry and Carmelo Anthony. Another problem: They kept landing in the wrong top-10 spot … like no. 9 in 2003 (Mike Sweetney), no. 8 in 2005 (Channing Frye), no. 6 in 2008 (Danilo Gallinari), and, most painful of all, no. 8 in 2009 (Jordan Hill, taken one spot after Steph Curry).

I know Bill is trying to be positive, but the Knicks have a history of bad personnel moves, so why the confidence they will choose a good player in the top-5 of the lottery? Not to rub it in, but the Knicks didn't just fall into bad spots in the top-10, they missed on the picks they made. In 2003 they could have drafted Boris Diaw or David West. Heck, Nick Collison would have been a better pick than Sweetney. In 2005, they did hit on David Lee and could have drafted Danny Granger in that #8 spot. In 2009, instead of drafting Jordan Hill they could have had DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, or Jeff Teague. I don't bring this up to use hindsight, but to acknowledge the Knicks may have been unlucky in those drafts, but they also didn't draft well.

Once that’s settled, they can enjoy multiple Chad Ford mock drafts, dozens of Okafor-or-Towns conversations, the inevitable “Mudiay could own New York, should we just take him?” groundswell, some trade-up/trade-down scenarios,

Then they will draft Stanley Johnson in the #5 spot.

Minnesota T-Wolves (16-62)

If USC asked me to teach a college course called “How To Be An NBA GM,”

Which would be an extraordinarily stupid move considering Bill Simmons has never actually been an NBA GM other than in his head and on ESPN's trade machine, where he usually follows absurd trade ideas with "Who says 'no' to that?" as if the world will bend at his will.

If only the University of Virginia asked me to teach a college course called "How To Be A Rodeo Clown" then I'm sure I'd have great advice to give even though I know nothing about being a rodeo clown.

I’d split up my 12 weeks of seminars into two-hour, subject-specific classes like “Take Everything Billy King Did, Then Do The Exact Opposite,” “Jerry West’s Brilliant Summer of ’96” and “The Lessons of KAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHN!”

Bill would also do a seminar entitled, "I really have no idea what I'm doing because I've never been an NBA GM and my only knowledge on how to be a GM is that I like to criticize moves other GM's make."

Amazingly, “How The Hell Did Flip Saunders Become One Of The NBA’s Five Most Powerful Non-Owners?” wouldn’t be my Flip-related class; I’d much rather break down his amazing Love-for-Wiggins trade — maybe the only time an NBA franchise extracted more than 100 cents on the dollar for a perceived superstar. 

The key to that trade: Flip waited.

You mean sort of like how the Knicks are waiting to trade Carmelo Anthony and you think they should blow the team up now?

Usually, NBA teams want to finish reshaping their rosters in June and July; they fear uncertainty heading into the upcoming season.

Bill Simmons when discussing the Knicks just a few short paragraphs ago when discussing what Knicks fans have to look forward to:

my inevitable “Why wouldn’t the Knicks trade Melo and completely blow this up?” podcast with Zach Lowe, and then the draft telecast itself.

So Bill thinks the key is to wait, except in cases where this isn't good advice and the Knicks should just go ahead and trade Carmelo now? Or is it that sometimes when it ends up working out as a smart move, then an NBA team was smart to wait to trade a star player, but other times when it ends up not working out, that team should have waited? Or is that Bill Simmons is making things up as he goes along and only has an outcome-based opinion? Bill thinks the Knicks should trade Carmelo before the draft in June, but Bill also thinks teams make a mistake wanting to finish reshaping the roster in June and July. Of course he holds both of these opinions.

"Oh yeah, that worked. Other NBA teams should do that, except in cases where I say other NBA teams shouldn't do that."

Flip never wanted Boston’s pupu platter offer (the no. 6 pick in 2014, a Brooklyn pick, expirings and non-All-Stars), even if most teams would have panic-settled for it. He thought Golden State might budge on Klay Thompson and David Lee; they never blinked. So he waited for a miracle …

Wait and hope for a miracle! What could go wrong in just waiting for a miracle to happen? This is great advice from Bill Simmons in his class on how to be an NBA GM.

and then, suddenly, LeBron was thinking about a Cleveland return and the rest was history. Flip sold super-high on Love AND landed a superstar-in-waiting.

It's almost like waiting is a strategy that could go very right or terribly wrong, depending on the circumstances and whether a miracle occurs or not. Nevertheless, waiting seems like a great strategy to Bill, but only in cases where he can fast-forward to see the strategy paid off.

Flip can inhale the fumes of that Wiggins deal for years. Throw in this June’s top-five pick and things are looking up in Minnesota! We’ve almost reached the point when we can stop talking about the T-Wolves drafting two straight point guards directly in front of Stephen Curry. Almost.

But Bill, are we are the point where you were totally on board with the Timberwolves drafting Ricky Rubio but aren't going to mention that because you want to be able to criticize the T-Wolves for drafting him while ignoring your own opinion of Rubio because it might make you look a little bit less like a genius? No, we aren't at the point where you want to be honest with your lemming-like readers? Great, carry on then.

Philadelphia 76ers (18-61)

Then Bill rambles about how the 76ers are essentially running a Ponzi scheme on their fan base, despite the fact just a year or so ago Bill wrote that NBA teams who try to win games while rebuilding only end up drafting in the late lottery or barely making the playoffs, and that's not the way to rebuild a team. He advocated that teams who are going to lose need to try and lose. But since the 76ers are three years into the rebuild and haven't improved yet, Bill seems to be wondering if his own opinion is correct. More likely, he just wants to play both sides. He wants to advocate for a team going all-out to lose games, while also criticizing that team for screwing over the fan base.

It’s exceedingly logical. All of it. But if you’re asking me to find positives, it’s tough. The Sixers just became the first NBA team ever to say, unapologetically, “For two straight years and possibly three, we aren’t going to give a damn about the product we’re putting out … but by all means, please keep spending money on your seats.” Check out their season-ticket page: “THIS STARTS NOW” in all caps. What starts now? Giving a shit? You just stole money from your fans for two straight years. Are your season-ticket holders getting future credit for the two years they just threw away?

While I wouldn't necessarily disagree with Bill to an extent, was he aware of another way to rebuild so as to ensure the team isn't in the late lottery, while not screwing over season-ticket holders and taking money away from fans who bought tickets while the team was bad? The 76ers are avoiding the late lottery and outright stinking to get better draft picks. I can't think of a way this would not steal money from season-ticket holders other than the 76ers simply not charge them for tickets.

I shopped for season tickets on the 76ers website and found that, for the ludicrous price of more than $10,770, I could purchase two seasons in Row 13 of Section 113 (midcourt) for a team that just lost 120-plus games over the past two seasons and is probably headed for another 60 losses next season. No promise that it’s a fixed price for the rest of the decade, no incentive plan, nothing.


But again, Bill also writes:

Every move made sense on paper. If you’re gonna stink in the NBA, you might as well S-T-I-N-K. If you’re gonna lose 60-plus games for two straight years, you might as well cheap out. If Jrue Holiday and Michael Carter-Williams could never be one of the best two guys on a title team, you might as well flip them for three lottery picks and improve your odds to find a franchise guy … right?

It's difficult to figure out how a team can tank, make money and not screw over the fan base. It's nearly impossible and NBA teams won't stop trying to make money. The tank strategy equals screwing over a fan base.

Sixers fans need luck with (a) the 2015 and 2016 lotteries, (b) the health of Embiid and Noel, (c) the Lakers pick, and (d) Saric. They need to know whether Embiid and Noel can actually play together. 

Maybe the 76ers should just wait, because apparently that's the key to turning a team around quickly. Then a miracle will happen!

Either your NBA team will be good in two to three years, or this will become one of the five best 30 for 30s ever. There’s no third outcome. This starts now. Shut up and drink your Corona.

See? It all ties back in with the "Fast and the Furious" quote, just like the way Bill shoehorned it to be.

Only two destinations truly matter to NBA players: the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat (we’ll get to them). That’s it.

That's it. All 28 other NBA teams should just ahead and fold up operations now, while the Lakers and Heat play an 82 game schedule against each other. From the word of God/Bill, only two destinations matter to NBA players, the Lakers and the Heat. That explains why Dwight Howard signed with the Rockets instead of the Lakers and why LeBron James went back to Cleveland from Miami. Mike Miller went to Cleveland from Miami this past offseason as well. Only two destinations matter, which again, explains why Bill is certain that Kevin Love will sign in Boston. IT ALL MAKES SENSE!

Bonus positive no. 1: Kobe’s Expiring Contract!
Bonus positive no. 2: Cap space!!!!!
Bonus positive no. 3: Hollywood! Bel-Air! Beverly Hills! Malibu! 75 degrees! Hot women!

(I repeat: The Lakers will be fine, even if it is nice to see their fans suffer for a couple of years. Welcome to the real NBA world, you guys.)

(Bengoodfella laughs so hard at the irony of a Boston Celtics fan telling the Lakers fan base "Welcome to the real NBA world" and indicating that he knows suffering as a fan of the Celtics)

Maybe one day Lakers fans will know the suffering that Bill has gone through as a Celtics fan. Bill is so cursed! It's been a little over half a decade since the Celtics have won an NBA title, so don't tell Bill he doesn't know about the "real" NBA world.

Orlando Magic (25-53)
Tao of Dom: “A real driver knows exactly what’s in his car.”

Now there’s something you never could have said about Jacque Vaughn. 

These quotes really aren't as relevant as Bill wants them to be. As usual, they feel forced.

Here’s what you have: five keepers (Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Nik Vucevic and Top-Seven Lottery Pick TBD), a buttload of cap space and, of course, the Chance To Follow Jacque Vaughn.

My dream scenario: Orlando nails that coaching hire (Billy Donovan?), 

What year is it? 2008?

drafts Duke’s swingman/stud/beast Justise Winslow (my favorite 2015 lottery pick/team fit, hands down) and finds a free-agent rim protector.

The Magic could do what the Cavs should have done, which is to acquire DeAndre Jordan.

God, I love the thought of Winslow on this team. That reminds me, is there a support group for sports fans who despised Duke for the past 20-plus years with a passion normally reserved for meter maids and traffic jams, only they thoroughly enjoyed watching the Blue Devils’ collection of 2015 players and even found themselves rooting for them a couple of times?

Not really, Bill. People still hate Duke even though you personally claim that you didn't dislike their 2015 version of the Duke Blue Devils team. Believe it or not, you don't speak for all college basketball fans. I know, it's a shock to hear, but it's true. Having a bunch of one-and-done players on the team doesn't mean Duke is now likeable.

Sacramento Kings (27-51)

I don’t mind the nucleus here: Boogie Cousins (a borderline first-team All-NBA center who couldn’t get it because his team stunk), Ben McLemore (blossomed in Year 2), Rudy Gay (shockingly solid this season), great and loyal fans, a top-eight lottery pick coming, Boogie a second time, and Boogie a third time.

Bill doesn't mind the nucleus the Kings have. I'm sure his blessing means a lot to the organization. and yes, Rudy Gay was shockingly solid this year. He's never not been solid, he's just not a superstar like he was being paid to be and was expected to be.

Still, there’s a certain honor in rooting for the strangest, goofiest, most inexplicably incompetent franchise in basketball. When everything turns around, it makes the whole thing feel even sweeter. Trust me, I’m a Patriots fan. We stunk for the first 30-plus years of my life, then, all of a sudden, we didn’t.

Bill is still trying to get mileage out of the whole "The Patriots only made two Super Bowls during the first 30 years of my life, so feel sorry for me" bullshit he dealt for so long. I feel so much sympathy for him. If anyone knows something about incompetent franchises then it has to be the guy whose favorite NFL team has gone to 8 Super bowls during the first 40+ years of his life with his team winning four of those Super Bowls. Sure, Bill is a fan of a team that stunk for a while, but as long as you ignore the fact the Patriots have been very, very good for the past 15 years then you know he understands how a team that hasn't made the NBA Finals since 1951 when they played in Rochester feels. But no Kings fans, BILL KNOWS EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL! HERE, DROWN YOUR SORROWS BY DRINKING SOME WINE OUT OF THE FOUR SUPER BOWL TROPHIES THE PATRIOTS HAVE WON!

Bill is so far removed from the days when his favorite sports teams were terrible that it's always hilarious when he tries to relate to other fan bases. It's actually sort of sad that Bill wants to remember those times when his teams were so bad that he almost seems to cling to them. Bill wants to be the fan of underdog teams so he can pretend to relate, but that's just not true anymore.

There’s a really fun Ty Lawson summer deal coming. Maybe a three-way that sends Lawson and a second-rounder to Utah, Jrue Holiday and Utah’s 2015 lottery pick to Denver, and Rodney Hood and Trey Burke to New Orleans?

Who says "no" to this? All three teams would surely jump at this deal. Sometimes I wish Bill were a GM so I could listen to his conversations and hear other GM's tell him "no."

Maybe Lawson for Darren Collison, Sauce Castillo and the rights to Sacramento’s top-eight pick? Or Lawson back to Charlotte for Kemba Walker, Charlotte’s top-12 pick and one pick swap before 2020? 

I can't figure out why the Horncats would trade Walker and their draft pick for Ty Lawson when they seem perfectly happy with Walker on the roster and this seems like a high price to pay for Lawson. I love Lawson, but this isn't a trade I would make if I'm the Horncats.

The best thing the Nuggets have going for them other than that Lawson trade and 2015’s lottery pick: They have Portland’s 2016 pick (lottery-protected) and a juicy future Memphis pick (protected 1-5 and 15-30 in 2016, top-five protected in 2017 and 2018, unprotected in 2019), and they can swap first-rounders with the 2016 Knicks. Which raises an interesting dilemma.

Door A: Deal Kenneth Faried for a pick (he’s a classic buy-low candidate right now for any smart playoff team), deal the Gallinari and Wilson Chandler expirings before next February’s trade deadline, detonate their 10-minute car completely, then rebuild around their picks, buttloads of cap space and the future star of Taken 5, Jusuf Nurkic.

Yeah, but then what would the season ticket holders of the Nuggets think about these moves? Bill doesn't want Denver Nuggets fans to be cheering for a team that isn't very good over a couple of years does he? Because then the fans are getting screwed over. Is there a way to rebuild without actually rebuilding? The Celtics do it all the time. I'm sure Bill would use this as an example.

(Spoiler alert: He does.)

Door B: Turn Lawson into pieces that keep them competitive (the Holiday/Utah pick three-teamer is perfect), keep everyone else, make a run at a no. 7 seed and bank on that 2016 Knicks pick swap paying real dividends. 

And again, Bill has previously stated the worst position for NBA teams to be in is they are good enough to make the playoffs and get a pick from 13-18 in the NBA draft, but not be good enough to actually win a playoff series. I guess as long as NBA teams have permission from Bill to be good enough to make the playoffs or just miss the playoffs then it's okay.

Can you think of a better 21st-century asset than the sentence, “Next year, we get to swap first-round picks with the Knicks”? It’s neck-and-neck with Apple stock. I vote for Door B.

Even though Bill has previously said this is a shitty position for an NBA team to be in when they want to win a title, I guess it's better to just forget he said that and assume Bill always knows what he is talking about...even when he contradicts his old opinions (and of course I can't find the article where Bill states NBA teams shouldn't be stuck in that spot between barely making the playoffs and having a high lottery me, it exists).

Detroit Pistons (30-48)

The SVG plan: Dump Josh Smith (done); let someone else overpay Greg Monroe (imminent); pay Reggie Jackson (just don’t overpay him, for god’s sake); build around Andre Drummond, Jackson and a Top-10 Lottery Pick X (in motion); spend smartly this summer on a stretch 4 and one more 3-point shooter (doable) … I mean, there hasn’t been a safer time to buy Pistons season tickets since Obama got elected.

Bill shows his GM skills by telling the Pistons to pay Reggie Jackson but don't overpay him. Find a number that the Pistons want to pay Jackson and tell him to sign the document or his brains will be on the paper instead of his signature. Because it's entirely possible to set the market for Jackson by simply wanting to resign him and this ensures the Pistons won't overpay. It's all possible in Bill's head.

Quick Pistons tangent: I graduated from college in 1992, the same year Chuck Daly left the Pistons. Do you know how many head coaches they’ve had since then? Fourteen! 

Not that the world revolves around Bill Simmons or anything of course.

Daly lasted for an entire decade (1983 through 1992); no other Pistons coach made it to the end of his fourth year. The Pistons have employed THIRTY-FIVE head coaches in all, compared to 27 for the Royals/Kings, 26 for the Knicks, 25 for the Lakers, 25 for the Warriors, 23 for the Bullets/Wizards and 17 for the Celtics. Just having a competent head coach is a huge, huge, huge victory for Pistons fans right now.

So what Bill is informing his readers is that, in fact, an NBA franchise that has stability and competency in head coaching will generally be a team that is better built for success? Is he sure about this? The next thing I know, Bill will be telling his readers that it's a huge victory for teams to have competent basketball players on the roster.

Charlotte Horbobnetcats (33-45)

It's the Horncats, not the Horbobnetcats.

Tao of Dom: “You’re gonna need more than that crotch rocket.”

We might have to rename that 35-40 wins/borderline no. 8-spot/late-lottery area “Charlotteland.”

It's catchy, but I doubt it will catch on because it's also stupid.

The poor Horbobnetcats never intended to land there again, 

You mean the Hornets didn't intend to be the 8th seed in the East or get a late lottery pick? This wasn't the long-term plan, to sign players good enough to barely make the playoffs or barely miss the playoffs? I don't believe it. I learn so much reading Bill's columns. He's such an NBA expert that it's nearly impossible not to learn something. Apparently the Charlotte Hornets weren't attempting to do better than the 8th seed in the East. I had no idea. What wonderful insight Bill provides to his readers. I wonder if the Hawks were intending on trying to have the best record in the East or not?

That would be fine except they’ve had a whopping 15 first-rounders since 2004. FIFTEEN! Do you realize they picked second in ’04; then fifth and 13th; third; eighth and 22nd; ninth and 20th; 12th; ninth and 19th; second; fourth; and ninth and 24th? Some sweet picks, right? Not if you took Brandan Wright, D.J. Augustin and Noah Vonleh one spot before Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez, and Elfrid Payton. Not if you were one spot away from Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Anthony Davis … and ended up with Emeka Okafor, Adam Morrison and Kidd-Gilchrist instead.

The Knicks kept landing in the wrong spot of the draft to get the players they wanted, while the Bobcats/Hornets blew the picks they had. Got it. The Knicks could have drafted Brook Lopez too and chose not to. I guess Bill's opinion on whether a team landed in the wrong spot in the lottery or chose poorly depends entirely on what point he is looking to prove at that moment.

Since the first incarnation of the franchise launched in 1988, Charlotte missed the playoffs 16 of 25 times, won just four playoff series and never advanced past Round 2. So what’s positive about any of this? If you look at the NBA’s 2014-15 attendance numbers, Charlotte ranked 19th at 17,227 fans per game — just behind the Hawks and Grizzlies and ahead of the Pelicans and Suns. They even raised ticket prices by 5 percent for next season! So that’s my positive for Charlotte: It’s a franchise blessed with loyal NBA fans who aren’t ashamed to admit that they love mediocre basketball and poor decision-making.

I guess the other positive could be that Bill thinks the Horncats could acquire Ty Lawson this offseason? Maybe not. Maybe that is just one of those one-sided "Who says 'no'?" trades that Bill believes would actually work in the NBA. Bill does have a tendency to do this type of thing. Earlier, Bill suggested the Horncats trade for Lawson, and yet, that's not one of his positives about the team. Weird.

Miami Heat (35-44)

You know how Knicks fans think their team will be fine because everyone always wants to play for a big market?

Actually Bill, I think it's more New York sportswriters who think the team can draw big stars because the Knicks play in a big market. Who am I to question Bill's ability to speak for the Knicks fan base though?

Actually, Miami is the Eastern Conference team with a 20-year track record of landing marquee players — Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway (mid-1990s), then Juwan Howard (1996 for about 10 seconds before the NBA voided that deal), then Eddie Jones and Brian Grant (2000), then Shaquille O’Neal (2004), then LeBron and Bosh (2010), then Dragic (2015).

How many of those players were free agents again? Not Mourning, Hardaway, not Jones, not Shaq and not Dragic. So Bill has a point, but half of these players didn't choose to sign with the Heat. Instead, they were traded to the Heat.

Again, it’s the franchise that convinced LeBron to leave Ohio in his prime.

Yeah, but then LeBron left the Heat for Ohio in his prime just a few years later. So I'm not sure this is as good of a point as Bill thinks it is. 

For that and many other reasons, here’s your stealth Durant/2016 destination. Not Washington, not New York, not Los Angeles. Here. South Beach. They’ve done it before; they’ll do it again. Miami will ALWAYS be fine. That’s why Riley doesn’t care about giving up those future first-rounders. Ride or die — remember?

Yes, the stupid "Fast the Furious" quote tied right into what Bill was saying about the Heat. Now I'm completely convinced using quotes from these movies is not a contrivance. I am lying.

Utah Jazz (36-42)

Tao of Dom: “It starts with the eyes. She’s gotta have those kind of eyes that can look right through the bullshit, to the good in someone. Twenty percent angel, 80 percent devil. Down to earth. Ain’t afraid to get a little engine grease under her fingernails.”

I included this quote because it has absolutely nothing to do with the Utah Jazz. Nothing at all. I will print what Bill wrote about the Jazz and you can see how flimsy Bill's attempt at using quotes from the "Fast and the Furious" really is.

One of my favorite Dom quotes goes to my favorite NBA renaissance: In less than 12 months, the Jazz found a real coach (Quin Snyder), stumbled into a 22-year-old shot-blocker/rebounder (the Stifle Tower), watched Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors blossom into legit pieces, created a genuine wrestling heel for their fans (Enes Kanter, Utah’s no. 1 enemy for the next 10 years)

So the Jazz are able to look through the bullshit and see the good in their players? (I actually could make a solid argument for this based on Snyder's coaching history and Favors' reputation in college for pouting when things get tough, but again, this isn't an argument Bill is making so it doesn't fit the quote he's using)

and struck oil with the best 18-year-old in the history of the NBA draft (Dante Exum). Fine, I made up the Exum part. But everything else happened. This summer, the Jazz need to either (a) sign an impact point guard,

Bill Simmons the GM says "sign an impact point guard" this summer, BUT DON'T OVERPAY! Sign one of the best point guards you can find on the market in a market not full of impact point guards, but don't offer him too much money. It sounds simple enough to a couch rosterbator like Bill.

or (b) turn their top-12 pick, Burke, Hood and/or one of their future first-rounders from G-State and OKC into an impact point guard like Lawson (as described above). 

Or just do that. Just do it. How hard can it be to force another NBA team to take these players and give up an impact point guard in return? You just make the offer and then smugly ask, "Who says 'no'?"

Whatever it takes. And yes, these guys would have stolen 2015’s hypothetical Entertaining As Hell Tournament and grabbed one of the no. 8 seeds.

So why are the Jazz twenty percent angel and eighty percent devil again? How are they afraid to get a little engine grease under their fingernails? I guess Bill couldn't find a better quote on IMDB from the "Fast the Furious" for the Jazz.

Brooklyn Nets (36-42)

Now Bill includes a fake quote from Dom in the "Fast and the Furious," which is typical Bill Simmons. He can't even see his contrivance all the way to the end. If it doesn't fit, he'll throw a little humor in there so his lemming readers won't figure out how out of original ideas he is at this point. He shoehorns in quotes that don't make sense in the context of what he's talking about for each NBA team and then he makes up quotes when he can't even shoehorn in a real quote.

Boston Celtics (36-42)

Dom’s greatest quote goes to the greatest on-the-fly rebuilding job in recent NBA history:


The Celtics have the greatest on-the-fly rebuilding job in recent NBA history. They got the 7th seed with a losing record in a weak Eastern Conference. It's historic brilliance at work.

I would be more shocked if Bill didn't call the rebuilding job by the Celtics the best in recent history.

2016 President-Elect Brad Stevens, a coach who’s so ridiculously good that the Celtics might grab a no. 7 seed during the same season in which they dealt their two best players and suited up 22 different players. I’ve never felt better/prouder/happier/giddier about a team that’s six games below .500. What a season.

Yes, Brad Stevens has done a great job in a weak conference to secure a playoff spot. There's no doubt about that. Perhaps just cool down on the hyperbole for a little bit though.

So, what happens going forward? Get a taste of the playoffs, show the rest of the NBA (and every free agent, as well as the agents of those free agents) that you happen to employ a coach who’s a freaking Jedi, keep mastering that pace-and-space/balls-to-the-wall style, and eventually, the Celts can land one or two difference-makers (either with their picks or with a package that comes for those picks).

Go find some difference makers! Go do it! This despite the fact Bill previously stated only two cities (Miami and Los Angeles) really matter to free agents, so why would difference makers come to Boston when they could play for the Lakers in one of the two cities that matter to them as free agents?

They just need (gulp) the franchise player. It’s like watching someone serve an absolutely perfect four-course dinner that doesn’t have an actual entrée yet. Well, that entrée is coming. One quarter-mile at a time, baby.

They could trade up in the draft using some of those picks they have and draft Jahlil Okafor, but watching him, Olynyk, and Zeller fail to protect the rim would murder me dead.

Milwaukee Bucks (38-40)

Allow me a quick Giannis Antetokounmpo tangent: 

You are writing the column. There is no way to stop you from going on this tangent. If I could stop you from going on tangents then I would have attempted to do so many years ago.

He’s been celebrated on the Internet for months if only because few things are more fun in 2015 than a freak NBA athlete with (a) a great nickname, (b) a ton of promise, and (c) a style that translates easily to Twitter, Vine and YouTube. Nobody knows where this is going. He’s only 20. But I’ve seen enough “Milwaukee clears out for Giannis because he’s feeling it” quarters to justify making the following comparison without feeling like a maniac:

Bill, the world's resident NBA expert, is making an official comparison. This is official and not a test, people. So consider it fact until Bill decides he wants you to forget he wrote this.

I attended a slew of Celtics games in the late 1990s because my father (who paid for our tickets) hated watching Rick Pitino and Antoine Walker and never wanted to go. I watched Young T-Mac on Toronto in person probably six or seven times. As a rookie, he looked totally lost. During Year 2 and the first half of Year 3, he looked like a safe bet to be the Robin to Vince’s Batman — the second banana, the defensive stopper, the guy who could carry your offense when Batman was out, Vince’s own personal Pippen.

Holy crap, I watched McGrady on television too and I remember these things too! It's weird how my experience of watching T-Mac on television translates to having as much experience to understand his development as Bill Simmons does by watching T-Mac in person.

But I remember leaving it thinking, Holy crap, T-Mac is gonna be ridiculously good. Suddenly he could handle the ball, shoot 3s, bounce off people in traffic, quick-jump over people for rebounds, defend anyone he wanted … I mean, you could just SEE it.

And other people, outside of you, did SEE it. You are not special in being one of the few who saw T-Mac's development. Sorry.

Here’s the point: T-Mac averaged only 15.4 points with 45-28-71 percent splits that season. His points-per-game for his next three years in Orlando: 26.8, 25.6, 32.1. Everyone knew we were headed for good things with T-Mac in Boston that night, but nobody knew we were headed for THAT.

This is another type of thing Bill likes to do in his columns. He makes a comparison and uses his experience as a Celtics fan watching something great occur, an experience that he thinks no one else saw because they weren't a Celtics fan in the arena watching this great thing occur, as proof this comparison is true. Bill saw T-Mac become great, so he alone has the ability to know when a player is becoming great, and now he'll compare T-Mac to Giannis.

I’m telling you, real stuff is happening here — glimpses, pieces, flashes, but real stuff. In his second year, Giannis isn’t even scoring 13 points a game. I bet that doubles within three years. I know they don’t sell Bucks stock, but buy it anyway.

So a young player is continuously improving and Bill thinks this player will continue to improve as he gets older and more experienced? I don't know, that seems like a risky opinion.

Phoenix Suns (39-40)

They turned Eric Bledsoe into a borderline max guy. They antagonized Goran Dragic by bringing in a third point guard, played him out of position for three months, took it personally when he bitched to the press, then panic-downgraded from Dragic (I voted him second-team All-NBA last season)

This is your yearly reminder from Bill's ego that he has an All-NBA vote. Bill has to swing his dick around a little bit to remind you of how important he is.

Oklahoma City Thunder (42-36)

Tao of Dom: “You’ve got the best crew in the world standing right in front of you. Give them a reason to stay.”

Very, very subtle. I should just feel lucky that Bill doesn't go into a "Why did the Thunder trade James Harden" rant again.

They made the Finals in 2012.

They lost in Round 2 in 2013.

They lost in Round 3 in 2014.

They probably aren’t making the playoffs in 2015.

Harden plays for Houston.

Durant’s contract expires in 2016.

Westbrook’s contract expires in 2017.

Oh Bill, why must you leave out relevant information as to why the Thunder lost in Round 2, lost in Round 3 and aren't making the playoffs this season? Very few other contending teams have faced the type of injuries over the last three years that the Thunder have faced. The Thunder have lost all three of their stars at some point for the playoffs over the last three years. They lost Westbrook in 2013, lost Ibaka in 2014 and now they don't have Kevin Durant in 2015. I would think the loss of Durant during the 2015 season may have a little to do with why the Thunder won't be making the playoffs.

I ask why Bill leaves this out and the answer is simple. Bill has a point he is looking to prove and he'll be damned if he is providing information that may topple his point in any way. Yes, Durant and Westbrook have expiring contracts in a few years, but the team isn't on the decline because they haven't made it back to the NBA Finals since 2012. Injuries (and yes, the trade of Harden) have a lot do with this as well.

(So, um … )

(Let’s just wrap the column up … )

(Thanks for reading … )

Yep, there's no hope for the Thunder. Bill has that right. I wonder if there is a Dom quote for being incredibly in love with yourself and believing your assertions are indeed facts?


JBsptfn said...

Nothing but the quintessential Bill Simmons column to brighten your day.

Steve said...

In the past Bill has warned other NBA teams to "Not be the Bucks" in regard to fighting for an 8th seed only to bone themselves out of a lottery pick. It's funny that when the Bucks drafted Giannis he was the first pick after the lottery while Milwaukee got swept in the first round. Bill loves Giannis and has mocked Hammond a lot over the years, but he won't mention that the Bucks selected him in that dreaded 15th spot out of the lottery. Having said that, if Bill Simmons had gotten the Bucks GM job back in 2008 they probably would have had multiple championship titles by now so I can't complain.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, I know. I love bring misery on to others by posting Bill Simmons columns. When I post them, who says "no"?

Steve, that's a great point. I didn't think about that. Actually, if you look at the Bucks roster that Bill likes they have guys drafted in the first round at the following spots:


That's five guys on the roster drafted in the dreaded spot where Bill says teams don't want to be.

The Bucks would have won at least 10 titles since 2008. At least.

JBsptfn said...

Ben, I know because it's funny when you break down a Bill Simmons column. Those are the best blog entries on here.

Anonymous said...

Why would a fan of any non-contending NBA team want to read an article by a gloating braggart whose teams win all the time? He spews praise for his brilliant Celtics organization and manages to mention the Patriots here, know....the Kings and Patriots are similar, or something. Seriously, he brought up the Patriots when he was discussing the Sacramento Kings, I give up. But yeah this guy really understands the state of mind of all those long-suffering teams out there.

One other thing, Bill takes a backhanded shot at the Pistons and how many coaches they've employed in their history. Since Bill's graduation (a logical starting point) they've had FOURTEEN coaches. Wow! How many titles has this miserable team had in that timespan?

Pistons: 1
Celtics: 1

Hmm, that's weird. Pistons won in the 80s too, but I guess every team is a long-suffering dunce outside of the Celts and Lakers.

Anonymous said...

Why does he talk about Lawson going "back" to Charlotte? Hasn't Lawson played his whole career in Denver? I guess to Bill all of North Carolina is the same, so going to play for the Hornets is like going back to Chapel Hill

Bengoodfella said...

JB, I have had less of a chance to break them down since he hasn't written as much lately. I can't believe he's withholding material from me like that.

Anon, Bill seems to forget the Celtics are just a below average team in a crappy conference. It's okay though, I wouldn't expect him to have anything but praise for them when's not otherwise busy talking about they are the most cursed franchise in history.

It's 149 miles to Charlotte from Chapel Hill. It's like right around the corner.