Saturday, May 23, 2015

6 comments Skip Bayless Mindlessly Criticizes Chris Paul, Ignores His Teammates Shortcomings

Skip Bayless was probably salivating, waiting for the Clippers to lose in the NBA Playoffs so he could write about how bad Chris Paul sucks. Skip has this ability to take a team game and make it all about one player. LeBron James isn't clutch so that's why his teams can't win titles. He won two NBA titles? Well, he still passes the ball when it comes crunch time. LeBron made a game-winning basket? FINALLY! This only makes up for all of the other mistakes LeBron made during the game. Kevin Durant needs to play angry and that's why the Thunder don't have four NBA titles right now. Today, Skip takes aim at Chris Paul for having the audacity to not lead his team to the Western Conference Finals. Skip thinks of a cutesy, bullshit nickname for Paul as he always tends to do. There's not much else to say at this point. It's Skip Bayless and he's a shitty troll and a shitty writer. Now he has taken aim at Chris Paul.

After 10 years in the NBA, at age 30, his greatest achievement remains his "twin brother" commercials, Chris and Cliff Paul, both played so convincingly by him.

And after 60 years on this Earth, Skip Bayless' greatest achievement is that he has dedicated his life to make sure as many people as possible hate him. Chris Paul has also earned a ton of money to where his family won't ever have to work again. There's that accomplishment too.

If only Chris Paul played basketball a little less like if he were Cliff Paul, who dedicates his life to helping State Farm customers in need of insurance "assists."

Because helping teammates score baskets is a definite negative to Chris Paul's game. How can Paul be a superstar if he's setting up his teammates to score points? Only Chris Paul's points count towards a Clippers victory, don't you know? By the way, Paul averaged an assist-and-a-half below his 2014-2015 per game average in the playoffs, as well as scored three points more above his 2014-2015 per game average during the playoffs. Paul also averaged a shot-and-a-half more per game during the 2014-2015 playoffs than he did during the 2014-2015 season. So, he did try to score more and pass less in the playoffs.

Obviously, Skip did zero research prior to writing this column. He would never dare do anything like research for his columns (which I'm sure ESPN probably doesn't care about, which is sad to me), but if Skip had done research, he would see Paul too more shots, scored more points and passed the ball less during the 2014-2015 playoffs. So he didn't provide "assists" to his teammates just as Skip requested that he do. Perhaps if Skip thought before he wrote then he would see he sounds ridiculous.

If only when Chris Paul's team needed him most -- in a Game 6 or 7 against Houston -- he played less like his nerdy alter ego in black-framed glasses, trim little mustache and Argyle sweaters and more like the quick-tempered CP3 known for hitting big shots and taking below-the-belt shots.

Paul had 57 points, 12 rebounds, 21 assists, and 4 steals in those two games. He played pretty fucking good basketball in those last two games, yet somehow Skip Bayless is pointing the finger at Paul for the Clippers loss to the Rockets. Of course. Skip would never change his tune in the face of clear evidence he is incorrect. He just doubles down on his stupidity.

They mostly got low-key good guy Cliff.

Unless you want to consider the statistics he put up in those two games, the Clippers got low-key good guy Cliff that played really well in those two games.

His nature is to pass the basketball, which is why he has led the NBA in assists four times, including the past two seasons. Yet his coach keeps pleading with him to shoot more, to be a little more selfish, to take over more and take it to the opposition.

And this is exactly what he did during the NBA playoffs this year. He shot more, assisted less and even hit a game-winning shot against the Spurs. Because the Clippers lost to the Rockets in seven games, Skip Bayless forgets all about this.

As a purely pass-first point guard, Chris Paul is a star, an eight-time All-Star. But when his eyes flash anger and he starts attacking, using his fullback's physicality and ballerina's balance to create space for his jump shot, he can be a superstar.

What is Skip's fascination with athletes "playing angry." It's like some juvenile, 5th grade criticism that Skip has for every athlete. He thinks LeBron, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul should all play "angry" and that makes them become a superstar. It's a ridiculously simplistic way of looking at it.

CPZero, I've called him. As in, zero rings.

HILARIOUS! Get it? Chris Paul hasn't won an NBA Title and his nickname is "CP3" so Skip Bayless calls him "CPZero" in the long line of fun nicknames Skip has given NBA players. "Princess Bosh" and "CPZero" are fantastic nicknames. Two points for cleverness.

Let's see, maybe I should join in the creativity and call Skip Bayless "Bullshit Bayless" or "Skip Clueless."

A superstar gets to at least one conference final in his first 10 seasons.

Maybe he does. A smart sportswriter looks at all the reasons a superstar hasn't reached one conference final in his first 10 seasons. A smart sportswriter doesn't blame the superstar solely for his team not making a conference final in his first 10 seasons. Obviously Skip isn't smart so I wouldn't expect him to do either of these things.

CP3 has yet to get past the second round. A superstar refuses to let his team, up 3-1 in a second-round series against an inferior foe, lose three straight games by a combined 46 points.

A superstar can't force his teammates to play well or hit their three-point shots. A superstar can only do whatever he can do in order to help his team win games. Chris Paul was injured for the first two games of the series against the Rockets (after hitting a game-winning shot against the Spurs) and played well over the last three games against the Rockets. J.J. Redick (and other Clippers players) did not play well and the Clippers don't have a very deep bench, which eventually did them in.

For sure, a superstar sees to it that his team does not blow a 19-point lead late in the third quarter of a closeout Game 6 at home.

A superstar can try, but when four Clippers players go a combined 14-46 from the field (Redick, Barnes, Rivers, Crawford), then that superstar can only do so much. Paul took 19 shots in that game, so it is not as if he didn't shoot the ball enough. But again, what good are facts when Skip just wants to ignore these facts and just push through an uninformed opinion?

And if it does come down to a Game 7 back in Houston -- a game Chris Paul's team was favored to win by two points -- a superstar does not allow his team to trail from start to finish and lose by 13, not to a Houston Rockets team it had beaten by 16 in Game 1 (without CP3), by 25 in Game 3 and by 33 in Game 4.

And again, a superstar can only do so much when those same four guys shoot 11-36 in this Game 7. Chris Paul shot 20 times in this game, so it's not like he was too busy dishing out assists to propel his team to victory. In the last two games of the Clippers series Chris Paul played well while the Clippers four shooters went a combined 25-82 (30.4%!) from the field. Let's re-think who may actually be the reason for the Clippers losing to the Rockets. I'll give Skip a hint, it wasn't entirely Chris Paul's fault.

Chris Paul, president of the NBA Players Association, can lead an entire league but can't lead his team when it really counts.

Chris Paul can try to lead his team, but there isn't much he can do if his team doesn't play well enough for him to have success while trying to lead them. What would it take for Skip Bayless to drop the act and understand that basketball is a team game? Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can't outscore the Rockets on their own. They need help from their shooters to score points and stretch the Rockets defense. Four of the Clippers' shooting guards and small forwards did not do this in two straight games. Therefore, because basketball is a team game, the Clippers lost to the Rockets in a 7 game series.

Feel free to blame coach Doc Rivers for the Clippers' epic Game 6 collapse. He deserves some blame for failing to push the right psychological or strategic buttons.

I wonder if Skip knows there aren't real psychological or strategic buttons? Like, there aren't real buttons that Doc Rivers could push and simply "playing angry" isn't going to allow Chris Paul to actually "play better." These are things that are pure hyperbole and couch potato criticism that Skip is engaging in. Doc Rivers deserves some blame, but Chris Paul deserves most of the blame for not using mind control to force the basketball into the basket when shot by his teammates. Skip Bayless needs to see more Chris and less Cliff Paul. Perhaps Skip would have been satisfied if Paul shot the ball 30 times instead of 20 times in Game 7?

By sheer force of will, Chris Paul couldn't say or do the right thing to inspire his teammates to snap out of it?

Again, this is real life. In real life inspirational words don't automatically make a team or group of players perform better. If this were true, all coaches would do is give inspirational speeches and teams would never practice.

No doubt, Chris Paul, as usual, put up superstar numbers in this year's 12 playoff games: 22.1 points and 8.8 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3. But his team was 6-6. His overall playoff record is now 28-37.

Chris Paul played well. Chris Paul's team still lost. Basketball is a team game. The only natural conclusion to be drawn is that Chris Paul is at fault for his team losing the series to the Rockets. Obviously.

You can argue Blake Griffin (who plays full-tilt to a fault) wore down and finally out by Game 7. You can argue J.J. Redick (2-for-9 from 3 with six turnovers), Jamal Crawford (3-for-9 from 3) and Matt Barnes (0 points in 22 minutes) just ran out of mental gas. All are fair points.

Right, you COULD argue that Chris Paul's teammates did their part in preventing the Clippers from winning the playoff series against the Rockets, but where is the hot take potential in that? There's no need to be logical and even handed when there is an easy "Chris Paul isn't a winner" hot take ready and waiting to be debated.

But the larger point is that "little" Chris played biggest only after a shocking event occurred in the second quarter of Game 7 at home against the Spurs in round one: He felt his hamstring begin to pull late in the first quarter. At first, he appeared devastated, as he sat on the bench with his head in his hands. He went to the locker room, then, just as shockingly, returned to the game five-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter.

Returned mad. Returned with the attitude, "No way I'm going to let this stop me." If the hamstring had torn, no amount of courage could've overcome it. But apparently, it was just strained, and he gutted through the pain and fear of a potential tear to play his greatest playoff game.

See, Chris Paul played angry and that's why he led the Clippers to the playoff victory over the Spurs in Game 7. This victory had nothing to do with Rivers/Crawford/Redick/Barnes shooting 19-42 and scoring 47 points in that game. It's just coincidence that the Clippers won that game while these four players performed well and the Clippers lost when these four players didn't perform well. Obviously, the real determination on whether the Clippers will win a game or not is if Chris Paul plays angry and provides inspirational speeches. Without those 47 points the Clippers still would have won the Game 7 against the Clippers. This goes without saying.

Skip Bayless is the worst. I can't emphasize this enough.

The stars get along OK but don't exactly love each other. Jealousy and finger-pointing sometimes rear their ugly heads behind the scenes. And sometimes on the court, CP3 wears on teammates with his constant complaining to refs and occasional complaining to them about blown assignments.

What one would call "leadership" where Paul tries to get his teammates to stop missing assignments, Skip Bayless would call "complaining" to them about their missed assignments. There's a thin line between complaining and leadership sometimes and that line is often drawn based on whether a team wins or loses a game or series.

Yet CP3's damn-the-hamstring demeanor in Game 7 against the Spurs inspired his teammates in ways he couldn't against Houston in Games 6 and 7. The Spurs had seen this CP3 once before, in Game 7 in New Orleans in 2008. Then, Spurs insiders told me they feared CP3 because he could channel his psycho side -- his rage to win -- into a virtually unstoppable offensive force.

Skip's insistence that athletes "play angry" all the time is exhausting. Playing motivated or playing with more vigor can be a good thing, but Skip's lazy fallback to explaining why an athlete's team win or lost inevitably goes back to whether that athlete "played angry" or not. It's just such lazy analysis...not that I expect anything more from Skip.

This is where I disagree with my First Take debate partner, Stephen A. Smith, who always reminds me Chris Paul is only 6 feet tall, so his "superstar" ceiling is lower. 

If you watch "First Take" then you are aiding and abetting obnoxious, ridiculous discussions such as this one. Chris Paul is short, so his "superstar" ceiling is lower. Okay then.

Stephen A. calls Chris Paul a superstar point guard but not a superstar, period.

Considering Stephen A. says a lot of stupid shit, this is a really stupid comment, but not up there with his pantheon of dumbass comments. If Stephen A. says it, just assume it's stupid. That's how I work.

Take it from a Spurs fan: Every time the ball left CP3's hand in this year's Game 7, I thought it was going in. He made nine of 13 shots, including 5-of-6 from 3. He was just too quick and shifty, even protecting his hamstring. He got a "superstar" call with 13 seconds left -- on the great Tim Duncan, no less, who was called for not giving CP3 room to come down on his jump shot. Of course, he made both free throws (he was 48-for-51 in the playoffs).

Paul must have shot his free throws angry. I love how Skip attributes to Clippers winning Game 7 of the Spurs series to Paul playing angry and well, while Paul played well in Game 7 of the Rockets series, and the Clippers lost. I like it because Skip ignores the variable in there that the supporting cast around Paul played well against the Spurs in Game 7 and didn't play well against the Rockets in Game 7. There is one constant in both series and variables changed in both series, yet Skip thinks something was wrong with the constant that affected the outcome of the series against the Rockets.

Then, with the game tied, Chris Paul ignored the Cliff Paul inside him and took the shot himself, blowing past Danny Green, somehow launching a runner over Duncan's outstretched fingertips with one second left, high off the glass ... and in.

That was the CP3 we failed to see in Games 6 and 7 against the Rockets.

Because the game wasn't close enough to where it was up to Chris Paul to hit a game-winning shot. The game wasn't close enough because Chris Paul was one of the few Clippers players to play well in these two games. Of course, if Paul had played angry then his teammates would have upped their performance as well. This makes sense in the fantasy world where Skip Bayless spends most of his time.

Maybe too often, he tries to live up to being president of the players' association or the twin good guys in the State Farm commercials. Maybe the commercials have done his psyche more harm than good.

Yes, that would explain nothing absolutely perfectly. Maybe two things that have nothing to do with each other do have an impact on each other. When you are Skip Bayless and aren't smart enough to use logic and reason to explain an event, you have to reach for an explanation to make it seem like you know what you are talking about.

Playing for Wake Forest, that CP3 once punched Julius Hodge in the privates midway through the first half at North Carolina State. CP3 eventually won that game with a buzzer-beater.


This certainly isn't to say Chris Paul needs to do more of that, just that he needs to summon and channel his competitive anger more.

I have an about Chris Paul's teammates channel their competitive anger more. That way they don't go missing in the middle of important playoff games? If Paul's teammates played angrier then the Clippers would win every series, because after all, playing angry leads to a better performance on the court. Or is this conclusion to partially blame Paul's teammates for the series loss to the Rockets not "hot tak-y" enough and too even-handed?

If not, at this rate, he'll be best remembered for selling insurance.

Or he will be remembered as a Hall of Fame point guard who just happened to never win an NBA title. I realize that Skip is brain dead, but Chris Paul doesn't actually sell insurance and he's probably the best point guard in the NBA. Paul may never win a title, but he's also not 100% to blame for never having won an NBA title. His teammates have to play well too.


Slag-King said...

This is lazy writing. Ugh!

The way CP3 played against my beloved Spurs reminded me when Kyrie went supernova against them back in March. He made ridiculous shots that have no business being made--off-balance shots, hand in face contested shots, 8-8 3pt shooting. No matter who was on him, he just drained it. He could have been in another state, blindfolded and still made those shots. There are some nights when shots just hit nothing but net, even in absurd situations like CP3 did with buzzer beater 3 pt shot. Barnes could not miss despite the tight defense by Leonard.

To say a superstar can will the shots to fall when he wants it to is just something a twelve year old would write. Ugh our sports writers are regressing to towel ism and no one in authority cares.

Slag-King said...

Hmm, I meant "twelvism" not "towel ism" (stupid autocorrect)

Snarf said...

It's maddening to me how it's such a zero sum game with writers (as well as many internet commenters). To be fair, I somewhat agree with the notion that to be the greatest ever in your sport, you need to have some level of championship success (weighted more heavily based on an individual's ability to impact his given game, i.e. basketball > baseball). That said, it leads to lazy narratives too often. If someone wins the title, that means someone else (or multiple "someone elses") choked. It's never simply that someone deserved to win. I can see it now, if the Cav*s lose, then Lebron couldn't will his team to victory and it's a knock on him. Conversely, If GS* loses, then we'll probably see articles on how Curry is a regular season player who isn't ready for the finals. I just have trouble believing or take issue with the sports writer notion that no matter what happens, someone sucks.

*Yes, I realize these series are not yet finished.

Chris said...

Snarf with Lebron it's already bad enough having ESPN report on him overriding David Blatt's timeout in a game or some supposedly passive aggressive tweet about being all in that apparently had to do with Kevin Love which in the end is all just troll bait to get Facebook commentators to engage in flame wars with each other all for the sake of page views and clicks

Bengoodfella said...

Slag, it was bad writing. I'm not a fan of Chris Paul. He went to Wake, he's sort of a little bit that punches people in the nuts, etc. I find hard to blame Paul for the loss to the Rockets. He can't will his teammates to make jump shots. The Clippers just weren't deep enough.

Snarf, you are right. Winning a title gives credence to a player as one of the best. I would never disagree with how important a title is. It's also tough when you look at the era these guys played in. I wonder if Malone and Stockton had not played in the Magic/Bird/Jordan era where those guys dominated if they wouldn't have a title also.

The bottom line is the Clippers weren't deep enough and their shooters went cold. It's not much more complicated than that.

Chris, in the Love/LeBron fight, I supremely would fall on the side of LeBron. Love came to Cleveland and had never had success winning. LeBron has won games and a few titles. What did Love think would happen when he joined the Cavs? Everything would stay the same as it was in Minnesota. I know there probably isn't real tension there, and I don't like the attention on LeBron's Tweet, but I agree with LeBron. Of course, writing that is how the flame wars get started.

Joel said...

I seriously don't know how you summon up the fortitude to actually read and dissect an article from someone like Skip Bayless. How the fuck is he still being paid to talk about sports (or anything else)?