Thursday, February 25, 2016

0 comments Hindsight is a Cold, Cold Bitch to Bill Simmons

What can bring me back? Bill Simmons. That's what. I haven't addressed this but I'm not "gone" and plan on writing here still. I just have to find time. Things get busy, it takes a while to write, so I have taken a forced sabbatical. I loved writing here and it literally took a change in life to where I had zero free time to rip me away from it. So I've moved back into my mom's basement, fired up the computer, and put up my Sabermetrics posters for today.

Scott on Twitter sent me this article and I couldn't not write about it. It's by Bill Simmons and it's from March 2012. It's about how terrible the Golden State Warriors are. It's not true anymore, but hindsight is a cold, cold bitch. As Scott told me, the self-appointed guru of the NBA doesn't look so great on this one. I tend to be long-winded (I know! Me?) so I'm going to only get to the pertinent parts of the column. It's a typical Simmons column. It's too long and he mistakes having a lot of content for quality content.

You might not know this, you might not believe it … but once upon a time, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship. 

Last year. 2015. Three years after this column was written the Warriors won a title.

I know some SimmonsClone is going to read this and bitch I'm being unfair to Bill by using hindsight. Get out of here. He uses hindsight all the time to tell us what "we" thought when he was wrong, and since Bill has enough of a ego to appoint himself as an NBA expert (and really believe he can be an NBA GM), it's not unfair at all to pick at him for writing a column about how terrible the Warriors were when this was no longer true less than a year after Bill wrote this column. The Warriors made the Western Conference Semifinals a year after this was written. Bill has to do better. And of course, Bill will NEVER remember he wrote this column or acknowledge it. He's too busy building a media empire.

And so it began. Three and a half decades later, the Golden State Warriors have morphed into the most tortured franchise in professional basketball. 

Professional franchises and fans bitching about how tortured they are? This is all Bill's fault. His whining about the Red Sox in the early 2000's made it okay to wallow in how tortured a team is.

the Warriors lack an identity beyond the whole “they suck every year, they always screw up, but at least they have great fans” tag.

Again, a whole three years later they won a title. I'll let this statement just sit here and let's think about how the Warriors lack an identity for a minute.

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Okay, let's get back to it. I'm not ignoring the Warriors got booed in their own building. That is true. Bill is correct. What he isn't correct about is his criticism of the 2012 Warriors and the direction the team was taking. Bill starts documenting the terrible moves beginning with the 1976-1977 season in this column. The Warriors made the playoffs six times from the 1976-1977 season until the 2011-2012 season (when this column was written).

Bill counts down 60 reasons the Warriors annoyed their fan base. He, of course, essentially repeats many of the same points along the way. He just re-phrases how he writes, "The Warriors traded for Joe Barry Carroll and had a lot of drug users on their team in the 1980's" a few times.

15. Naturally, the Warriors blew things up again, flipping Richmond to Sacramento for the rights to Billy Owens, a talented but sluggish forward who (you’re not going to believe this) never reached his potential for Golden State.

Oh no! Facts are getting in the way of Bill's argument. This is where Bill hopes no one goes to look up whether this statement about Owens never reaching his potential is accurate or not. Spoiler alert: It's a lie. Owens had his best seasons in the NBA while playing for the Warriors. Yes, Richmond was still great after being traded by the Warriors, but Owens never reached his full potential. He came the closest playing for the Warriors early in his career.

Bill also conveniently skips over smart moves like drafting Latrell Sprewell with the #24 pick in the 1992 draft. This is a footnote to the column so as not to distract from Bill's point the Warriors couldn't ever do anything right.

17. The following year, Mullin, Hardaway and Owens missed a combined 107 games for the 34-win Warriors,

Yeah, but Owens never reached his full potential anyway, right?

This is typical Bill Simmons. He writes that trading for the rights to Owens was a mistake because he never reached his full potential with the Warriors and then uses the absence of Owens as a reason the Warriors stunk during the 1993-1994 season. He wants it both ways.

27. Coming off another lottery season (30 wins), the ’97 Warriors fired Adelman, hired college coach P.J. Carlesimo

Again, Bill only pays attention to facts to the extent they support his argument. "College coach" Carlesimo had a 137-109 record over three seasons with the Trail Blazers as their head coach. But yeah, he was a "college coach" and wasn't qualified for an NBA head coaching job. Sure.

Then Bill continues to show what the Warriors "missed" out on if they had drafted perfectly every single year even though this would never happen for any professional team no matter how smart their front office is.

a Hall of Fame Absolutely-Coulda-Drafted-Him Starting Five (Bird, Garnett, Kobe, T-Mac and Payton, with McHale coming off the bench). 

By the time McGrady and Garnett were any good Bird and McHale would have been retired/too old to contribute. But again, let's ignore facts and the passage of time relative to each player's ability level to focus on the point Bill wants to prove. Bill lives in a fantasy world where he is an NBA guru anyway, so may as well just drag ourselves into this fantasy where Larry Bird and Tracy McGrady would be playing meaningful minutes together.

39. The 2001 Warriors had more players (22) than wins (17). The league’s second-worst record earned them the fifth pick (Jason Richardson); they also drafted Troy Murphy (with the pick from the Blaylock/Terry trade) and stole Gilbert Arenas in the second round. Naturally, they celebrated that draft haul by egregiously overpaying Jamison (six years, $85 million). 

A 24 year old in the prime of his career who averaged 24.9 points per game? Was it really an overpay?

47. The ’08 Warriors won 48 games — their highest win total since 1994 — but somehow made history by winning the most games by any team that didn’t make the playoffs. Only the Warriors. 

Or only any other NBA team like the Sonics, Clippers, Cavs, etc that Bill feels like writing a "woe is them" column about. "Only the Warriors," unless this column is about another NBA team. In that case, just exchange "Warriors" for that team name.

53. In July of 2010, former Celtics minority owner Joe Lacob purchased the Warriors from Cohan, said all the right things, seemed intelligent/confident/competent and promised to turn things around.

ONLY THE CELTICS AND THEIR LARRY BIRD MAGIC COULD SAVE THE WARRIORS! NO ONE DENIES THE LUCK OF THE IRISH!

55. The facts heading into this season: The Warriors missed the playoffs 29 times in 35 years … the Warriors won four playoff series total in 34 years … the Warriors haven’t made the playoffs for two straight seasons since 1977 … the Warriors haven’t made the Conference Finals since 1976 … the Warriors haven’t had an All-Star since 1997 … the Warriors have earned spots at 16 of the last 17 lotteries (impossible but true) … the Warriors have made 22 top-14 picks since 1985 (including 11 in the top eight and five in the top three) … and the Warriors made so many bad first-round picks and overpaid so many guys over the past 35 years that I don’t even have time to type all their names again.

It's almost like what a team has done in the past doesn't necessarily matter as it pertains to moves they would make in the future. After "this season" the Warriors made the playoffs three straight years and won an NBA title. Bill Simmons thinks it's crazy that a team's past can't dictate their future. It's crazy because Bill prefers talking about non-sports related reasons why a team can/can't win games.

"This team gives a lot of high-fives! This has directly led to their success!"

"This team has more than one knucklehead on the roster! That means they can't win games!"

"This team has a curse on them!"

"This team isn't fun to watch, which happens to coincide with the team not winning games!"

56. For some reason, despite everything you just read for more than 4,000 words, Lacob decided to guarantee these tortured fans that their Warriors would make the playoffs this season. 

And then the Warriors made the playoffs the next season, made the playoffs again the season after that, won the NBA title that next season, and now are making a run at being one of the best NBA teams in history. Lacob missed by one season. Bill missed by a lot more in writing this column.

57. He hired Mark Jackson as his new coach (someone with no coaching experience whatsoever)

The Warriors then fired Mark Jackson after a 51-31 season and hired another coach WITH NO COACHING EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER! Again? Why?

This other head coach the Warriors hired with no head coaching experience then immediately led the Warriors to an NBA title. So the Warriors went 188-124 when hiring coaches with no prior coaching experience whatsoever. What dumbasses the Warriors are.

and signed off when Jackson vowed to turn Golden State into an elite defensive team despite the fact that, you know, its best three players couldn’t defend anyone.

How silly of Jackson to vow that he would turn the Warriors into a great defensive team. It would have been better if he had just not tried to teach the Warriors defense at all. That's a much better method of coaching.

Using Bill Simmons' logic, it's ridiculous for a head coach to vow that he will fix his team's biggest deficiency. Remember, Bill considers himself to be brilliant.

58. His team used its amnesty on Charlie Bell (one year, $4 million) instead of Andris Biedrins (three years, $27 million) so the Warriors could overpay DeAndre Jordan (four years, $43 million) … only the Clippers matched their Jordan offer, leaving Golden State without any outs with Biedrins (who’s been in a funk for four solid years, but hey, who’s counting?).

The Warriors later cleared Biedrins' contract by trading him to the Jazz  in order to gain salary cap space that led to them signing Andre Iguodala. Iguodala was a key to the Warriors' championship run and is an integral part of the current Warriors historically great team. But hey, who's counting?

59. His team waived Jeremy Lin to sign second-rounder Charles Jenkins, then claimed after Linsanity took off in New York that they loved Lin and never wanted to lose him.

Jeremy Lin then came back to Earth, was overpaid by the Rockets and now plays in the desolate NBA wasteland known as "Charlotte" for a team run by an owner who also seems to have no clue how to build an NBA team.

60. When his team struggled to compete in a brutally tough Western conference, Lacob’s staff promptly reversed course and made two of the weirdest trades in a while: sending Ellis and Udoh7 to Milwaukee for the defensive center/rebounder they’d been recklessly pursuing for months (settling on Andrew Bogut, who’s injured until April and missed a whopping 108 games these past three-plus years)

This trade added another piece to the current Warriors team that is winning games at a historical pace. Bogut is a great defensive center (which of course, who cares if the Warriors are trying to have a good defensive team, that's ridiculous) who has helped the Warriors in ways Udoh and Ellis could not.

and Stephen Jackson’s Non-Expiring Contract (two years, $19.3 million remaining), then flipped Jackson’s Non-Expiring Contract for Richard Jefferson’s Apocalypse of a Contract (three years, $30.5 million remaining) and a late first-round pick

The Warriors later flipped Jefferson to the Jazz, thereby clearing more room for Iguodala's signing, and the late first round pick turned into Festus Ezeli who is another good defensive player that has continued to improve through his career with the Warriors.

AND THEN tried to spin the deal as “We can’t make the playoffs, we need to bottom out this season so we finish in the top seven of the lottery and don’t lose our first-round pick to Utah.”

The Warriors then bottomed out and finished at #7 in the lottery, drafting Harrison Barnes, who has (you guessed it!) been an important part of the 2014-2015 NBA title team and has continued to improve throughout his NBA career. So as dumb as these trades seemed at the time, these two trades ended up netting the Warriors four players that contributed to an NBA title. When writing a column about how dumb these trades were and how the Warriors continue to screw their fan base over, it's probably best Bill just forgets he wrote all this. He hopes we forget too.

Imagine you’re a Warriors fan. Imagine you just endured everything just laid out these past 35 years. Imagine you didn’t trust your owners, your front office, anybody. Imagine they just traded your most entertaining player for an injury-prone center who can’t play,

Yes, imagine the Warriors are building a historically great team that can play and Bill totally went all-in on how bad the franchise was. Imagine that. Imagine how embarrassing that would be in hindsight that Bill wrote this column.

and imagine knowing that you can’t sign anyone else for two more summers because Biedrins and Jefferson

Imagine Bill's assumption are incorrect and they signed Andre Iguodala because they were able to clear Biedrins and Jefferson off the cap.

Imagine you have some of the best fellow fans in the league, only you rarely if ever have a chance to cheer anything

Imagine this isn't true anymore. Imagine this stopped being true less than a year after this column was written.

Imagine hearing that, after months and months of Chris Paul rumors and Dwight Howard rumors

Imagine that Bill Simmons dangles Dwight Howard here as a great free agent signing/trade target and then a year later Bill writes off Howard as a franchise player. Imagine it. You don't have to. It happened.

and “PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS!” rhetoric,

Imagine if this happened a year later. We can only imagine...

your team just abruptly told you, “Oh, by the way, we’re going to tank the rest of this season because we don’t want to be haunted by a stupid trade from four years ago, but seriously, thanks for paying for season tickets this year.”

Imagine the Warriors were literally building the skeletal core of their championship basketball team as Bill wrote this column criticizing these moves. Imagine...

Imagine you were a paying customer and Chris Mullin Night doubled as the last bankably fun night of the season. Imagine the emotion inside the building with those Warriors legends on hand. Imagine everything cresting with Mully’s humble speech. Imagine the arrogance of Lacob grabbing that microphone — somehow deciding that he should be the last speaker of the ceremony, not Chris Mullin — and imagine your resentment over the past 35 years suddenly swelling as you realized, “Here’s my one chance to be heard.” 

I ask you … would you boo?

Yeah, I might boo. Imagine you were a huge NBA fan who prided yourself on your knowledge about whether a team was making smart moves or not. This is your identity in many ways. Imagine you were a huge NBA fan and you were also a (part time) writer and struggled when not using hindsight to show how "we" were wrong about something. Imagine you wrote this column about how the Warriors were on the wrong path...again. Imagine you were not correct about this. Imagine you suggested the Warriors fans should have been excited about the prospect of signing/trading a player you would write off a year later.

I ask you .... would you be worried people who read your columns notice you aren't as much of a guru when you can't use hindsight to defend your opinions that are passed off as fact?