Thursday, June 4, 2015

When Mariotti attacks Simmons, everybody loses, part 2 of 2


Honestly, for an article written by this blog's third most frequently cited moron (and the inspiration for the blog's name for crisesakes), about this blog's most frequently cited moron, this really isn't much to work with here once you get past Jay's own-shit-smelling hatred of bloggers. Let's see what else we can have some fun with.

The network has only itself to blame, enabling Simmons and turning him loose to the point he was uncontrollable.

Except that the only thing that finally got him shitcanned was his direct and pointed insults towards the NFL, the biggest revenue producer (and probably the most powerful entity) in American sports. It's not like ESPN is looking back at how they enabled and supported Simmons and saying "My God, we should have seen this coming! This was obviously the way this would end!" He picked what is probably the one and only insult target that would get him canned, and even still, it took multiple incidents for ESPN to decide they'd had enough.

There is a difference between covering sports with fierce independence — my philosophy —

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Go play in traffic, you twatmunch. It's pretty easy to be "independent" when no one will hire you because your own misconduct makes you toxic as fuck.

and being a megalomaniacal jackass like Simmons,

No argument here.

who never took a law class

Jay Mariotti, Esq., here to opine on defamation jurisprudence. Oh wait, never mind, he's just got his head up his own colon as usual.

and, thus, didn’t understand why the company suspended him for referring to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as “a liar.”

I'm sure he understood. Also, it takes about 90 seconds on Wikipedia to learn that under 1st Amendment caselaw, since Goodell is inarguably a "public figure," Simmons’s remark would only create liability if it 1) was incorrect, which, with a generic insult/accusation like “He’s a liar” is very hard to prove, and 2) was made with "actual knowledge" of the fact that the statement wasn’t true (or "reckless disregard" for the truth, which is inapplicable here since Bill doesn't, like, work in the NFL executive offices and have access to Roger's personal files or whatever). But Simmons (and anyone in America with a brain) legitimately felt that Goodell really WAS a liar. Bill’s mistake wasn’t failing to stay within the boundaries of defamation law. It was publicly insulting a gigantic cash cow that helps make ESPN into a gigantic cash cow.

Goodell may have lied about what he knew in the Ray Rice case, but Simmons did not have incontrovertible proof,

This is not how libel works. At all. ESPECIALLY with public figures. You don’t need “incontrovertible proof” to accuse your fucking neighbor of being a liar. If that were the legal standard (especially for public figures) that would lead to no one ever bringing scandals to light due to fear of owing large sums of money if a court deemed the proof of the scandal to fall short of “incontrovertible.”

which means the league could have sued the network for megamillions —

No. Also, I think you should just say “millions;” Megamillions is the popular multistate biweekly lottery, and really, that’s just good clean fun.

and may have done so if ESPN wasn’t a broadcasting bedfellow.

Yes, they may have sued, but they’d know they didn’t have a case. They’d do it just to rattle ESPN’s cage, because if there’s anything that would make ESPN panic, it would be the possibility of lost profits resulting from a deteriorating relationship with THE SHIELD.

Simmons also was unequipped to be editor-in-chief of Grantland.com — his insensitivity was appalling when he approved a piece that unnecessarily outed a transgender person, who, because of the outing, committed suicide.

Well, I’ll take Jay’s side here. I still can’t believe he can’t find (or perhaps correctly read) a Wikipedia page about libel.

Anyone else would have been fired after the Goodell and transgender mistakes.

Probably not, actually. Definitely not the Dr. V putter story, anyways. And he got suspended for the Goodell remarks. A pretty big deal for a guy with his profile.

Simmons kept his job both times only because ESPN president John Skipper doesn’t acknowledge his own errors until he must.

This is true—Jay knows firsthand. He probably waited about five years too long to ban Jay from appearing on Around the Horn.

Friday was that day, hours after Simmons had appeared on the radio show of another ESPN pariah, Dan Patrick, with another over-the-top rip job of Goodell.

There is no such thing as an over-the-top insulting of Goodell. Goodell and his dumb shiteating fat fucking face are immune to hyperbolic vitriol.

Simmons destroyed the commissioner because he didn’t immediately announce a suspension in the Tom Brady deflated-balls scandal, and while it’s fair to wonder why Goodell is waiting, his weekend pause doesn’t warrant a nuclear explosion.

No, it probably doesn’t, but 90% of everything else he does.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Time for one of my favorite old gags—post a hilariously moronic comment multiple times because it’s so enjoyable to read.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

An excellent point from Jay, paragon of maturity.

Once a fanboy, always a fanboy.

Once a man who is convinced that Ozzie Guillen is responsible for all the evils of the world, always a man who... that.

I’ve had my squabbles with corporate management.

OH HAVE YA

But my complaints were legitimate —

/dying

a Chicago radio station demanded I sign a sheet of paper that I wouldn’t criticize the Bulls or White Sox, which would have painted me into an ethical corner had I agreed.

I’m sure that is about 25% of the story, or possibly less, but I do have to agree that working in sports media probably loses a shitload of its appeal once you get muzzled.

When I refused, I was fired the day after Christmas.

If only you could have been fired while eating dinner with your family ON Christmas, via an in-person visit from your boss, like the end of Christmas Vacation except without the boss changing his mind.

My bosses at the Chicago Sun-Times had business ties with certain sports owners in town, and when they asked me to soften my opinions about those owners, I said no.

Partly because of the whole ethics issue, but mostly because Jay is a petulant baby who hates Jerry Reinsdorf like most people hate Hitler.

Had Simmons used another description for Goodell, he’d probably still be working at ESPN.

No, he would not.

By calling him a liar, and then challenging the network to reprimand him after doing so, Simmons no longer was fighting a free-speech war.

Actually, he was, but it was also a war of “which of these relationships is worth more money to ESPN,” and he lost, badly.

He was leaving himself vulnerable to a mountainous lawsuit.

No, you fucking retard. No. And were that the case, the NFL could just sue Bill directly and bleed him dry, but that’s not happening even though the NFL is endlessly insecure and vindictive, because that’s not how libel law works.

Before he works again, the fanboy needs to take a law class or two.

/still dying

The Internet has enabled recklessness by idiot entrepreneurs — such as the assclown at Gawker Media — who think they can publish lies about anyone because it’s difficult for a public figure to win a libel suit against a web publication.

Wait—what??????? I thought Goodell had an AIRTIGHT case against Simmons! How is Gawker publishing (true) things about Mariotti any different than Simmons saying (true) things about Goodell, then?

So the entrepreneurs hire clueless kid losers for $15 a story and order them to drive traffic, resulting in sleazy techniques and wild inaccuracies.

Hey, much better than paying Jay whatever he made at the Chicago Sun-Times while using sleazy techniques to publish wild inaccuracies. Speaking of wild inaccuracies, Jay needs to take a law class or two.

I told a college journalism class 

shortly before being removed by campus security so the professor could continue their lecture

that you’d be better off cleaning sewage plants than working for something called Deadspin.com,

True from an income standpoint, I’m sure, but those sewage-cleaning plant jobs are probably union and difficult to get unless you know someone. You can probably work for Deadspin, at least on a freelance basis, based solely on your own skills and merit.

where you’re being paid less than a janitor to basically pick up garbage and place it on the Internet. Another website, Bleacher Report, has somewhat higher standards yet also pays peanuts to kids who don’t know what they’re doing. Why? Because entrepreneurs think you don’t have to pay for good sportswriting.

And sadly, as Bleacher Report’s content continues to get less shitty (I know, I know) and Deadspin continues to occasionally publish cool shit alongside all its terrible unfunny shit, they’re right! This is a systemic problem in the journalism industry, driven by supply and demand in both the media and journalism labor markets, and has very little to do with DURR HURR BILL SIMMONS WASN’T ONE OF THE COOL KIDS IN THE PRESS BOX.

The Bleacher Report entrepreneurs, too, are sports fans, making them fanboys much like … Bill Simmons.

OH MY GOD! CONSPIRACY! ALL THE PIECES FIT! JET FUEL CAN’T MELT STEEL BUILDING SUPPORT BEAMS!

One of America’s best sportswriters, Bob Kravitz,

Bob Kravitz is a shitty writer with shitty opinions. We should have posted much, much more about him when this blog was still quasi-active.

broke the Deflategate story in his new position at an Indianapolis TV station/website.

Did he? Did he "break" it? Maybe he did (I’m sure he has sources galore in the Colts organization, which, good for him), and guess how many sports fans give a flying cunt about that? This isn’t the 20th century, Jay, when one newspaper might get a scoop and be the place to read about a story while another has no idea about it until the first newspaper publishes. It doesn’t matter how much you hate the internet—it has reduced the value of breaking a story to essentially nothing. Deal with it, or GTFO of the industry and stop bothering people.

After the Ted Wells report was issued, Kravitz wrote of unprofessionalism he encountered in the New England media the last few months:

Well, come on, what do you expect? It’s the Boston media.

“The people who disappointed me most were the folks at The [Boston] Globe’s website, Boston.com. They are renowned pom-pom wearers, so it wasn’t a surrpise.

Typo is [sic], left in because Jay is such a big fan of professionalism.

But I was struck at the enthusiasm they displayed while carrying the Patriots’ water. It shocked me that a great newspaper like the Boston Globe would employ such rank amateurs and cheerleaders. Sad.”

Because it’s not the 20th century, Bob and Jay, and pretty much all newspapers are shit and are desperate for access. They’ll cut their own dicks off to curry favor with popular local teams. I know it’s hard for you fucking dinosaurs to understand that times have changed, but maybe if everyone else seems out of touch, you’re the out of touch ones.

Where did Simmons grow up? Boston.

HOLY SHIT ANOTHER LEVEL TO THIS WHOLE THING! NO ONE IS SAFE! THE CLOCK STRIKES AT MIDNIGHT!  THE ILLUMINATI ARE ABOUT TO TAKE OVER!

From who did younger Boston.com sportswriters learn? Simmons.

And I’m sure it was only the young Boston.com writers carrying water for the Pats. I’m sure that Dan Shaugnessy, Jackie MacMullan, etc. were NOWHERE near that practice.

Shame on ESPN for empowering Simmons for so many years.

Oh wow, that’s got to sting. “Shame on you.” Go easy, Jay!

ESPN also killed sportswriting when it gave a major platform to a statistics geek, Nate Silver, failing to realize that sport is best covered via the exploration of human emotion, not the joyless crunching of numbers.

BWAHHHHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

SHUT IT DOWN

I DON’T THINK WE NEED TO GO ANY FURTHER

Oh wait, yes we do:

In the process, the network chased off Rick Reilly, only the greatest sportswriter of his generation

Rick Reilly couldn’t sportswrite his way through a wet piece of toilet paper. Fuck him and fuck Jay for cheerleading for him. Die, both of you.

and someone who broke news responsibly,

HEY YOU’RE GONNA SAY I HAD THIS ON TWITTER FIRST, RIGHT???????

covered games and press conferences on site, interviewed subjects, understood libel law and carried the profession with savvy.

/dead

Next, ESPN is trying an African-American site with an editor, Jason Whitlock, who isn’t liked by many African-American writers and is more comfortable in a strip joint than in any mentoring position. The site’s marquee hire so far was a white journalist, Mike Wise.

Come on Jay, don’t half-ass it. Tell us how you really feel. Heat up that taek, it’s a little lukewarm for you.

I appreciated my eight years at ESPN; the TV show was fun,

I’ll bet he signed a settlement agreement with ESPN that prevents him from saying the show's name.

and when I was on, the ratings were much higher and the banter much livelier.

Kill yourself.

But the culture is not conducive to doing one’s best work. It’s a political loony bin where Skipper, like Goodell, can’t maintain consistency in issuing disciplinary punishments. Seems he finally got one right Friday.

Again, as in the case with Jay, it was a mere five-to-ten years late.

And, no, I would not hire Bill Simmons at this news organization if he applied. Our standards are too high.

Aw, you mean the San Francisco Examiner, the country’s 58th most important newspaper, wouldn’t hire Bill? Pity. My guess is he lands at Bleacher Report and continues to grab a whole fucking shitload of eyeballs and pageviews.

Jay Mariotti is sports director and lead sports columnist at the San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at jmariotti@sfexaminer.com. Read his website at jaymariotti.com.

Never. Never ever ever.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

When Mariotti attacks Simmons, everybody loses, part 1


I mean, not us, the sports-following public.  We all win in the sense that we get to laugh and one stupid asshole with "credentials" picking on another, more popular, stupid asshole without credentials.  But Bill and Jay most definitely both lose.

The Internet has perpetrated too much disarray in the world, 

Could have ended the article right here and actually made a decent point.  Also, get off his lawn and pull your pants up.

giving semi-lives to people with no lives 

Hopefully this is (besides being an obvious critique of YouTube celebrities, etc.) a veiled shot at the people who have exposed Jay as a violent, woman-hitting asshole.

and adding too many reckless, unqualified voices to the daily churn. 

First use of "qualified" or a synonym or related term: 23 words in.  Pay out the winner of your office pool accordingly.

The sports media business is no different. 

Different from what?  The internet?  The sports media business takes place almost entirely on the internet.  Jay of all people should know this, given that his own personal website was the only "outlet" that would hire him for about a six year period there.

A new century gave rise to sports websites that had to compete against legitimate journalists 

Buckle up!  Here we go!  This sentence is like getting pummeled in the face by a boxer whose gloves say OLD and MEDIA on them.

who actually broke news responsibly, 

I'm so tired of these unprofessional bloggers always breaking news irresponsibly!  Why, established media members like Chris Mortensen and Chad Ford and Ken Rosenthal and on and on and on never participate in the race to the bottom that is the effort to get a scoop.  Just because the "instant update" nature of the internet has dragged established media like those guys into its game doesn't mean you can go blaming blogs for it.  And better yet, this whole article is actually a complaint about Simmons, who hasn't broken a fart's worth of news in his whole career.

covered games and press conferences on site, 

Hahahahahahahahahhahaahahaaahhahahaha

interviewed subjects, 

Nothing like a HARD-HITTING Mike Wilbon interview/ball washing session to really get yourself inside the mind of a professional athlete.

understood libel/slander law

Subtext: Jay feels as though he has been the victim of libel and slander.  Reality: Jay has deserved each and every bad thing anyone has ever written or said about him, even the ones that weren't true.

and carried the profession with savvy.

Yes.  Savvy.  So much savvy.

So, to have any chance, many of these new sites went low-brow and hired fans with no training in anything but how to wear a personally customized jersey to an arena, drink three beers and cheer maniacally for one’s team.

Well now you sound like you're just complaining about Simmons and Bleacher Report (They were made for each other, weren't they?), when I really feel like we were building some momentum towards an anti-blogger rant.  Disappointing.

Bill Simmons, for instance.

At least Bill has never (to our knowledge) stalked or assaulted a woman.  Good for him.  Wait, is that libel?  Probably not, since Jay pleaded no contest to charges of both of those in 2011.

ESPN.com, then a digital embryo in a growing corporate empire, lured the eyeballs of sports fans by hiring one. Simmons had some talent, 

Mariotti admitting that Simmons has talent is kind of like a 6 year old admitting that his 8 year old brother is smarter than him.

spoke the fan language and understood the fan perspective, so the hire was a good one … as a blogging niche. But then ESPN did the inconceivable, unleashing him as a sportswriting monster who decided 6,000-word pieces without a quote — 6,000 words of literary masturbation — were good reads. 

Whoa, I have to admit it--all of a sudden Jay is bringing some FIRE.  GO JAY GO.

They were not good reads, 

HOW WILL WE LOOK BACK ON THE MOMENT WHERE WE REALIZED THEY WERE NOT GOOD READS 15 YEARS FROM NOW?  Also, Jay, you're a horrific writer yourself.  Your masturbatory articles just happen to be shorter than Bill's.

but at that point, anything with the ESPN stamp of approval seemed to succeed as the network claimed domination of the industry, 

I will mock Simmons for a lot of things, but one claim I will never make is that he "only obtained his success because he was piggybacking on ESPN's success" or something like that.  He earned all those fans on his own.  Most of them are dipshit morons who know nothing about sports and should never be conversed with, but still: he earned them.

whether it was a revolving all-night cycle of SportsCenter or the quieting of four sportswriters with a mute button on a debate show (I was on that show).

WERE YOU?  REMIND US.  What a monument to the professionalism and savviness of REAL SPORTSWRITERS that show is.

Sports fanboys began to read the fanboy sportswriter. Traffic grew. Advertisers bought in. Simmons wrote two masturbatory books, both best-sellers. Suddenly, it didn’t matter if he never broke news and never quoted anyone but himself and his cousin. 

All true.  Maybe your ire should be directed towards the people who made Bill popular, then, no?  The idiocracy of sports fans creates phenomena like Bill.  Additionally, it's more than worth pointing out that the only person to blame for Jay's lack of success is Jay.

ESPN created the original fanboy sportswriter, spawning a generation of fanboy sportswriters who also don’t know how to break news responsibly, interview subjects and cover sports properly.

I know I've used "hahahahahahaha" already a couple of times in this post, but seriously, how else do you respond to this?  Jay Mariotti just wrote that sentence.  THE Jay Mariotti.  July 2, 2006 Jay Mariotti.  He thinks today's new media sportswriters are irresponsible, shouldn't matter because they don't have ACCESS, and cover sports improperly.  What else do you say to that?

Friday, ESPN uncreated Simmons, choosing not to renew his contract.

VINDICATION!  Maybe they'll hire Jay to fill his shoes!

At long last, an embarrassing business might have a chance again.

Oh my God.  I can't keep going on this tonight.  Someone who simultaneously thinks that Bill only got popular because ESPN got popular first, yet is also to blame for all the shittiness that makes ESPN what it is today, should be placed in a spaceship and immediately shot into the sun.  Seriously, fuck both of these people.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A new low

At least I think it is.  Guess what's on the front page of ESPN.com right now?

Something related to the New England Patriots Official NFL Football Depressurization Scandal (my snappy nickname for it), which, while incredibly fucking stupid, is at least real, hard, sports news?  Surprisingly, nope.

Something related to the NBA, which uses ESPN as one of its broadcast partners, and is in the midst of a relatively exciting playoffs?  Again, surprisingly, nope.

Something related to MLB, which uses ESPN as one of its broadcast partners?  Nope.

Something related to the UEFA Champions League, which uses ESPN as one of its broadcast partners (outside the United States, anyways) and has a crucial semifinal match today?  Nope?

Something related to the NHL?  Well of course not.

No, here's the front cover story on America's most popular sports website during this exciting time to be a sports fan:




















Yeah, the more I consider it, the more I'm sure that this constitutes a new low.  Die in a fire, ESPN.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Not sure if...




...this is a good or bad thing.  In fact, I'm not even sure this will end up being a thing at all--wouldn't surprise me if they came to an 11th hour compromise, since Bill generates clicks and ESPN could give a flying cunt about anything other than clicks (and TV eyeballs).  But for now, I'm going to enjoy it.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, you fucking jackass.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NBA WHO SAYS NO Rankings - Part 5 of 5


Alright folks, apologies for the delay(s)(s)(s).  We're here.  We made it.  Everyone huddle together and let's get this over with.

2. LeBron James


Let’s have one last round of applause for LeBron’s incredible eight-year run atop the Trade Value list.

[gif of the stadium groundskeeper from Rudy applauding after Rudy gets into the game]

That's what applause looks like!  Simmons is so corny and stupid he can't even properly emulate Buzzfeed.  Gifs added to writing like this are supposed to be reaction gifs, not just gifs that say the same thing the words do.  THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN LEBRON FALLS OUT OF THE TOP SPOT IN THE TRADE VALUE RANKINGS!

What happens next? The 30-year-old budding mogul has already logged more than 42,000 career minutes and played more than 1,050 games (including playoffs). 

I get that basketball will eventually wear down the human knees (and ankles, hips, wrists, etc.) but let's not obsess over minute or game counts.  LeBron has played 35,000 regular season minutes.  Plenty of guards have cleared 45,000 for their careers.

You know what that really means? 

IN TEN YEARS WHEN WE LOOK BACK ON LEBRON PASSING THE 42,000 MINUTE MARKER, HOW WILL WE REMEMBER IT?

Apex LeBron is gone. Here, look.

Seasons 1 through 4 (316 games)
41.3 mpg, 26.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.4 apg, 46-33-73%, 8.3 FTA, 3.3 TO, 24.2 PER, .181 WS/48

Seasons 5 through 11 (526 games)
38.4 mpg, 28.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 7.1 apg, 52-35-76%, 8.7 FTA, 3.3 TO, 30.1 PER, .283 WS/48

Ah, the always crucial (and very telling) "first four seasons as compared to next seven seasons" splits.

Playoff Career (158 games)
42.5 mpg, 28.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 6.4 apg, 48-33-76%, 9.7 FTA, 3.4 TO, 27.7 PER, .242 WS/48

Season 12 (57 games)
36.2 mpg, 26.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 7.4 apg, 49-35-72%, 8.0 FTA, 4.2 TO, 26.2 PER, .196 WS/48.

So, cool: he's on a new team, with new teammates, and his PER and win shares are down a bit.  He's mostly shooting the same as he did during his "apex years" (SEASONS 5 THROUGH 11 WHO SAYS NO) and scoring and dishing at basically the same rates.  He's turning the ball over a little more, and rebounding less.  That can probably be written off as a result of moving from a team with Wade and Bosh to a team with Kyrie, suddenly mediocre Kevin Love, and Mozgov (to soak up boards).

The good news: He’s still 85-90 percent as good as that seven-year apex, 

NO, EXACTLY 87.5%

keeping LeBron’s “best player in the league” ceiling the highest of anyone. I just don’t know where this goes. How long can LeBron stay great or even close to great?

He's 30.  Let's use our brain noodles and say "Well, on average, most great players stay great at least until they're 35 or so.  Therefore, LeBron can probably stay great until he's 35 or so."

In NBA history, only 35 guys have played more than 875 games and logged more than 34,000 minutes while averaging 35 minutes per game in their first 13 seasons. (Even though LeBron did it in 12, I added an extra year for everyone else because, you know, LeBron is superhuman.) Only 22 guys played more than 120 playoff games in their first 13 seasons while logging more than 5,000 playoff minutes and averaging 35 minutes per game. And only 12 guys cracked both lists: LeBron, Jordan, Wilt, Duncan, Russell, West, Bird, Pippen, Kobe, Hakeem, Malone and Havlicek.

And this goes to show (fart noise).

Wait a second … that’s a great list! 

Oh my gosh he's becoming self-aware!  He also still refuses to be edited!

We just ripped off 12 of the 25 best players ever. Just so I can sleep tonight, let’s include Dirk, Magic, Shaq, and Kareem as well, giving us 16 guys who passed 40,000 minutes (regular season and playoffs combined) in 13 years or less. That’s an insane day-to-day burden for anyone’s body, no matter how great you are. 

And now we're going in circles, chasing our tails (classic Klosterman writing technique, by the way) and we're probably going to end up concluding that LeBron is an all-time great, so he'll probably age like other all-time greats.

You’re talking about three-plus presidential terms of grinding out 80-100 games in eight to nine months (and carrying a huge burden, no less). 

Thank you for expressing that length of time in a way that the political nerds who don't follow sports can grasp.

After passing that benchmark, Kobe (four more first-team All-NBAs and a Finals MVP), Havlicek (second-team All-NBA and a ’76 Finals win), Duncan (two more Finals), Malone (1999’s MVP and two top-15 years after that), Shaq (first-team All-NBA and one more title in his 14th season), Dirk (third-team All-NBA in 2012, relevant even now) and Kareem (who doesn’t count because he was an alien) thrived for at least a little while. Nobody else did.

OK, so 7 of your arbitrarily chosen 16 players continued to be effective.  Cool.  I'm not even going to look up the post-40,000 minute stats of the other 9 guys, because I'm sure some of them achieved something significant past that point and Bill is just omitting them to prove his thesis of (fart nose).

But 50,000 combined minutes? That’s the danger number. Kareem passed 50,000 during the 1983-84 season, won the 1985 Finals MVP and remained relevant through ’88 (back-to-back titles), but again, he wasn’t human. Duncan passed that mark last season, then helped San Antonio win 2014’s title. (Of course, he’s also an alien.) 

So, Duncan and Kareem don't count for this exercise because they don't count for this exercise.  But LeBron won't be like them because he's not like them, or presumably not like them, even though you only really know if you're like those guys until you get to where they were in terms of minutes.  This is the level of analysis usually provided by a drunk guy watching TV alone at a sports bar at 2 PM on a weekday.  We are learning nothing, other than "playing pro sports tends to get harder as you get older, although certain players decline more suddenly than other players."  Which is pretty much (fart noise).

No non-center remained a star after 50,000 minutes except for Kobe; he passed that mark during the 2012 playoffs, then thrived offensively the following season right until his Achilles snapped in half. These things don’t end well. I think Kobe knew it too. That last season, he could feel his body breaking down and turned into Quint from Jaws: 

He grew a mustache and started hunting sharks.  Totally agreed.  Flawless analogy.

He started revving his boat’s engine until smoke began pouring out. 

Ah yes, so "turning into Quint from Jaws" means "doing this one thing that that character did for like 30 seconds in a 3 hour movie."  Even when he's making pop culture references, i.e. doing the one thing he should be best at doing, he's fucking atrocious.

He knew. He had to know.

Awesome writing.  Since you have so much access these days, Mr. Big Shot, why don't you just go ask Kobe to his face?  Better yet, ask him if he knew it after the 6 for 24 game in 2010.

Here’s the point: History says LeBron has two elite seasons left after this one, maybe three. That’s it. And you wondered why he didn’t want to wait around for Andrew Wiggins.

No one wondered that.  Literally no one.  A lot of people questioned that trade a couple months into the season, when Wiggins showed himself to be NBA-capable already and Love wasn't playing well, but when the Cavs made that trade, literally no one on earth who knows what a basketball looks like said "WHOA!  WHY DID THE CAVS JUST DO THAT?  IS LEBRON OUT OF HIS MIND?"

On the other hand … LeBron is only 30 years old. That’s the same age as Scarlett Johansson, Matt Cain, Mandy Moore, Adam Morrison, Katy Perry, Rick Nash and Purple Rain. 

So glad you consulted the Wikipedia page for 1984 before writing this.  Really brings it home to the reader.

When Bird turned 30, he was the reigning back-to-back-to-back MVP. When Jordan turned 30, he was four months away from finishing off his first three-peat. When Magic turned 30, he was getting ready for his third MVP season in four years. Doesn’t it seem insane to think that LeBron is passing his prime at THIRTY? Then again, only Kobe crossed 40,000 minutes before turning 31, but it happened over 13 years (not 12 like LeBron), and he didn’t take nearly the same physical night-to-night pounding. So who the heck knows?

Jesus fucking Christ on a fucking tightrope.  What did I tell you Bill was going to do here?  What did I JUST say was going to be the outcome of all of this?  I hate writing this blog.

Either LeBron will make history, or history will catch up to him. It’s one or the other. 

FASCINATING.  Go fuck yourself with a ice pick, Simmons.  You suck.

Just know that he’s no longer our most untradable player. For the first time, you can see a finish line for LeBron James. Unlike …

1. Anthony Davis

So, LeBron is almost certainly going to opt out of his current deal this summer and grab a new one (regardless of the Cavs playoff outcome).  But Davis can enter free agency in the summer of 2016.  I hate to indulge Bill's stupid rules for this stupid exercise, but since we've made it all the way to #1, I will just this once.  If back in January, the Cavs called the Pelicans and offered LeBron, with confirmation that LeBron wanted that trade to happen for whatever reason (i.e., he was just as excited about playing in New Orleans as he presumably is playing in Cleveland now, and would be just as likely to sign long term either this summer or next summer), you don't think the Pelicans would take that trade?  I don't know, they're a young-ish team, but they're not THAT young.  Other than Davis their best players (Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson) are all in their mid 20s.  To an extent, they're built to win now.  I dunno.  Food for thought.  I hate myself for spending 90 seconds typing this.  As Bill would say, let's just move on.

In 2007’s Trade Value column, I wrote that “2007 LeBron and 2007 [Dwight] Howard are more untradeable than anyone in the seven-year history of this ‘Trade Value’ column, 

WHO SAID NO?

even surpassing (gulp) 2001 Shaq and 2003 Duncan.” 

This whole goddamn thing is so dumb.  He's like a little kid playing with Legos and making a Lego town and then arguing with no one about who in Legotown has the best house.  It's simpleminded mental masturbation.  The fact that this guy's book sold a jillion copies is a fantastic indication of how goddamn pathetic America is.

Eight years later, you’d have to belatedly cram 2015 Davis into that sentence while crossing your fingers nice and hard. 

OH GOD BE SURE TO CROSS YOUR FINGERS!  WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?

Why? 

No reason at all, fuckface.

Look what happened to the 2007 guys. LeBron has become a four-time MVP, a two-time champ and one of the best 10 players ever. Dwight has made only one Finals and never won an MVP, and started breaking down four years later. 

It's like we just learned: sometimes, players age well and sometimes, they don't.  Awesome.

You never know. 

It's one or the other.  You never know.  What do you want, real analysis?  Skilled writing?  A writer who isn't a self-obsessed prick?  Don't be greedy.

It’s 50-50 once a young star reaches anything-is-possible status. 

EXACTLY 50-50

You need injury luck, you need the right situation, and you need the player to want it. For every Shaq, there’s a Dwight. For every Magic, there’s a Penny. For every Kareem, there’s a Walton. For every Duncan, there’s a C-Webb. For every Kobe, there’s a Derrick Rose.

STRONG TAKE!

I'm probably not going to make it to the end of this, just FYI.  I'm actually getting upset while writing a blog post that like 50 people will read and for which I won't be paid a cent.  This is not fun.

So cross your fingers for the Brow. Nice and hard.

I'm not a Pelicans fan.  I'm not a Kentucky fan.  I like Davis just fine.  But if he did end up like Dwight (or Penny or Walton or whoever), it would matter about as much to me as whether my shit tomorrow morning was pleasant or uncomfortable.  Life in the NBA will move on.  It always does.  I hate it when people (especially sportswriters, the worst people on earth) try to make everyone think they should feel bad because an athlete didn't achieve his maximum potential.  (See: Rose's injury struggles, Westbrook's team being too shitty to play in the postseason this year, etc.)  GO FUCK YOURSELVES.

He just turned 22 years old and hasn’t even played 6,500 career minutes yet. 

WHY, HE COULD BE AN ALIEN AT SOME POINT IF HE KEEPS THIS UP!

He’s the best screen-and-roller since Young Robinson. Longer arms than McHale. Freakocious athlete like Hakeem. Light on his feet like Young Duncan. Drains 20-footers like Bosh. Protects the paint like KG. I don’t know what else you’d want. Jordan (24 years old at the time), LeBron (24), T-Mac (23) and Davis (right now) are the only under-25 players to post PERs over 30. He’s also one of three under-25 guys (along with ’90 Robinson and ’74 Bob McAdoo) to average 24 and 10 with 2.5 blocks and 1.0 steals. And if he came along 35 years ago, he’d probably be a senior at Kentucky right now.

Haha, now, that last point is actually pretty awesome to think about.  Jesus.  I mean, the level of play all across NCAAB would increase, especially at its upper ranks, if nearly all players stayed for four years.  But still: imagine 2014-15 Anthony Davis playing in the SEC.  That would be hilarious.

And look, I don’t know how this will play out. 

YOU NEVER KNOW.  IT'S ONE OR THE OTHER.  50-50.  BUY THE BOOK OF BASKETBALL TODAY ON AMAZON.

But I have been attending NBA games since the 1973-74 season, back when my father carried me as a tiny 4-year-old into Boston Garden and hoped that I would fall in love with the sport. I did. 

Boy, I guess you're just as qualified to speculate about unpredictable bullshit as the rest of us then!  Please continue!

Over the next 41 years (and counting), I watched maybe 25 up-and-coming stars who just seemed different from everyone else. Young Durant was all arms and legs, and he weighed about 20 pounds, but he had that crazy release and you just knew something unforgettable would happen with him. Young Hakeem and Young Robinson were Greek gods; they moved at a different speed, and with a different level of coordination, than anyone I had ever seen. Young Duncan had those beautiful feet; he just glided effortlessly wherever he wanted to go.

So, your point is that you have watched great players that everyone knows were great and almost everyone agreed were great at the time be great.

Young MJ was indescribable; I’m not even going to betray the experience by cramming it into one sentence. 

I'm pretty tempted to end the experience of reading any more of these sentences by running in front of a moving tow truck.

Young Kobe and Young Penny looked like MJ and Magic had cloned themselves just for kicks. Young Shaq was unfair around the basket; you couldn’t keep him away from the rim unless you had a two-by-four. Young Barkley was a bowling ball crossed with a runaway train. Young C-Webb looked like a combination of everything you’d ever liked about every power forward you’d ever liked. Young LeBron looked and played like he was 28 already; he’s the surest thing I have ever seen, a true prodigy in every sense.

So, your point is STILL that you have watched great players that everyone knows were great and almost everyone agreed were great at the time be great.

So that’s the first stage: the old Gladwell Blink test, 

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA there are like 200 more words in this article but I'm going to end it right here.  I think that's a great stopping point for us on this brutally painful journey.  How can you tell if Anthony Davis is good?  Well, first read 250 pages of nothingness by some asshole pop scientist whose ideas are about as original as Bill's.  That's stage one.

I hate Bill Simmons.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NBA WHO SAYS NO Rankings - Part 4 of 5


Before we get started, let me just remind you that ESPN and its incessant NFL draft coverage can go piss up a rope and die of AIDS.  And also OMYGOD as I type this, the NFL schedule is being released.  I know everyone is on pins and needles like I am: is my team going to play six divisional games, four games against the NFC division we last played in 2011, four games against the AFC division we last played in 2012, and finally two additional games against the two teams in the other two AFC divisions that finished in the same place in the division that we did last year?  There's really no way to tell--I should probably tune into ESPN to watch this big reveal.  God, fuck the NFL.  Moving on.

GROUP A: “Completely and Utterly Untouchable”

5. Russell Westbrook
4. James Harden
3. Stephen Curry

For the first time in the history of my Sports Guy column, 

You're going to provide analysis that isn't self-important, isn't full of idiotic pop culture references, and most of all isn't terrible?

we’re dusting off the old Dr. Jack Breakdown gimmick and turning it into a threesome. 

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

I’m gonna throw my Eyes Wide Shut mask on, take a half-Viagra, throw down two glasses of wine and really get into this. 

Hey, that's kind of a funny "pop" (term used loosely here) culture reference with the Eyes Wide Shut thing.  It's also very self-important and I'm sure it will be terrible, but one out of three isn't bad.

Please, I implore you, for your own safety, don’t try this at home. I’m a professional. 

Go fuck an elephant.

Anyway …

SALARIES: Harden (signed through 2017-18) and Westbrook (signed through 2016-17) are max guys earning $16 million to $17 million per season … a paltry number in two summers when the NBA salary cap starts taking steroids and HGH, 

LIKE KOBE AMIRITE????????????????

but still. Meanwhile, Golden State has Curry locked down for $10.63 million (this season), $11.37 million (2015-16), and $12.1 million (2016-17). He won’t make as much money over those three years as Marcin Gortat. Anytime someone can make $11 million per year and you feel bad for them, you know they’re a bargain. ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Curry signed that deal just before the start of the 2012-2013 season.  He had been injured for much of the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season, playing in just 26 games and averaging a paltry 14 and 5.  Looks like one of those "it makes sense for both sides" contracts, really, since Curry would have been wise to take some guaranteed money, and the Warriors were paying him, at the very worst, to be a three point specialist.  Whelp, guess it worked out for the Warriors.  As a Nuggets fan I hate them, but I do love parity and fresh blood in the winner's circle so I wouldn't mind seeing them win a title this year.  JUST this year.  After that, fuck them.  Every important player on that team besides Curry and Bogut is a flaming cuntrag.  Also, if they pull it off, it'll be just the fifth title since 1991 (exceptions: that goofy 2004 Pistons team, the 2006 Heat team that had Shaq and Wade and every call in the Finals, THE FAWKIN' 2008 UBUNTUS, and the magical LeBron-defeating 2011 Mavericks) won by a team that didn't have Jordan, Olajuwon, Kobe, LeBron or Duncan.  And if Jordan hadn't gone to play baseball (IT WAS A SECRET GAMBLING SUSPENSION WHO SAYS NO????) we might be able to take Olajuwon off that list.  The more you know.

BEST GIMMICK: 

Oh yeah, this is crucial.  So glad we made it here after hitting all the important categories like "Salaries" and "nothing else."  BUT WHICH ONE OF THEM WOULD YOU WANT TO WATCH CASTAWAY WITH?

Sorry, fellas, you’re not topping Harden’s beard. Greatest NBA facial hair of all time in no particular order: 

Oh no you don't, buddy.  No cutting corners here.  I expect these lists to have a set order upon which any basketball worth a damn would definitely agree.

Wilt’s goatee; Bird’s wispy almost-mustache; [rest of list deleted]

I'm just going to stop you right there.  Thanks so much for your time.

SHEER AWESOMENESS OF THEIR CONVENTIONAL 2014-15 NUMBERS:Spectacular all the way around. Through Sunday’s games …

Westbrook 27.5 ppg 8.3 apg 7.2 rpg 2.1 spg 43-30-84% 9.4 FTA 3.7 3FGA
Harden 26.9 ppg 7.1 apg 5.8 rpg 1.9 spg 44-38-87% 9.8 FTA 6.7 3FGA
Curry 23.6 ppg 7.8 apg 4.4 rpg 2.2 spg 48-42-90% 4.3 FTA 8.0 3FGA

And Westbrook finished even hotter than that.  I hate him, he's a dick, I've definitely written here before that he is overrated, but damn.  Not sure I am going to ever write that again.

Some highlights: Westbrook working on the third 27-8-7 with a 30-plus PER in NBA history (the other two: 1989 MJ and 2013 LeBron) … 

He ended up just missing, with a 29.1 PER.

Steph knocking on the door of the 50-40-90 Club while jacking up a staggering EIGHT 3s per game (good luck ever seeing that again) … 

Just missed, shooting 48.7% from the floor.  But Steve Nash pulled off 50-40-90 twice while shooting between 4 and 5 threes per game.  I don't think it's some kind of Cy Young's win total unbreakable record.

Harden trying to become the first lefty 

OK, for fuck's sake, I appreciate that this breakdown category isn't dedicated to something as inane as facial hair, but this isn't baseball.  Who gives a flying sloppy fuck about basketball player handedness when it comes to statistical achievements?

to average 27, 7 and 6 

Just missed--only 5.7 boards.

while also trying to become the third player (after Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas) to attempt 500 3s AND 750 free throws (the 500/750 Club!) … 

He got there easily.  Man, that guy gets to the line.  I thought there was a chance Curry was close to this as well, but not even.  He only attempted 337 FTs.

did I mention that Westbrook is a guard and he’s averaging eight freaking rebounds per 36 minutes? … my God, look at that Westbrook season!!!!!! Are those numbers real? Can we check the math again? ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

I'm going with Curry, given that he did what he did on a team that had plenty of other good players, while Westbrook, minus Durant and Ibaka for chunks of time, was really the only guy on the Thunder capable of scoring or assisting.  But there's probably no wrong answer here.  WHAT IF WESTBROOK WAS LEFT HANDED THOUGH, CAN YOU EVEN IMAGE?!?!?!?!!

SHEER AWESOMENESS OF THEIR ADVANCED 2014-15 NUMBERS: Some of this stuff is bat-shit crazy. Through Sunday’s games


Westbrook 29.7 PER 38.4 usage 53.9% TS 6.6 RPM 8.4 WS; .234 WS/48
Harden 26.6 PER 30.9 usage 60.8% TS 8.51 RPM 13.2 WS .265 WS/48
Curry 27.8 PER 28.7 usage 62.9% TS 8.55 RPM 12.4 WS .286 WS/48

Some highlights: Steph’s WS/48 will be top 20 all time … 

He ended at .2881, 19th all time.

we’ve had only 17 30-plus PER seasons and 86 27-plus PER seasons (and Westbrook is knocking on the door), as well as just three guards who have cracked 30 PER (MJ, Wade and T-Mac) … 

Westbrook didn't make it, but Anthony Davis (who finishes at #1 in these rankings, deservedly so) did.  Make that eighteen 30+ PER seasons.

only Kevin Johnson (in 1997) ever averaged 20 points and eight assists with a 63 percent true shooting percentage … 

OK, you're starting to really reach now.  Also, as the three ball becomes more and more popular and players shoot it better and better, TS% league wide among guards should continue to increase.

West, Magic, Jordan, Oscar and CP3 are the only guards to ever finish a season with 16 win shares … 

Ah, the coveted 16 win share cutoff point.  Both Harden and Chris Paul made it this year.

and if we want to get super-fancy, Harden leads the NBA in points per game on drives and has assisted on more made 3s than anyone … 

I think I also wrote on this blog several times back in 2012 that contrary to what Simmons said, the Thunder didn't commit some kind of sin against humanity when they traded Harden.  I'm not going to take that back, because in-the-moment analysis is in-the-moment analysis and I stand by the idea that the trade was justifiable at the time, but wow.  Harden is really, really good, and the Thunder traded him for really, really nothing.

and Westbrook’s usage rate is threatening to break 2006 Kobe’s all-time NBA record (not necessarily a positive). 

He came up juuuuuuuuuust short, 38.7 to 38.4.  That Kobe team made the playoffs, though, which proves something, but I'm really not sure what.  So I'll just go ahead and remind you that Simmons is a fucktard.

I give Curry’s season a slight edge for its unselfish efficiency and efficient unselfishness. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Really awesome wordplay there, Kerouac.  Knocked that one out of the park.

MOST MANAGEABLE GLARING WEAKNESS: Golden State hides Curry on D as much as possible, but he’s a better and smarter defender than people realize. (Maybe he’s not Chris Paul on that end, but he’s not Damian Lillard either.) 

Ooooooooh. Cold blooded.  Lillard had basically the same defensive advanced metrics (defensive rating per 100 possessions and defensive win shares) as Westbrook this year, and was only slightly worse than Curry and Harden.

Westbrook plays with so much confidence/swagger/ferocity that he can’t stop going into 2006 Kobe mode, especially late in games, which is the best and the worst thing about him. 

More top-notch writing from this guy who gets paid to use words to express ideas.  Klosterman probably thinks that sentence is nectar from the Gods.

(I mean, are YOU gonna tell Westbrook not to shoot every time? I didn’t think so.) 

Aw snap!  In your face, readers!

And Harden’s night-to-night defense used to be somewhere between “reprehensible” and “he’s trolling us,” but he took enough guff that he actually started trying on both ends this season. Great for the Rockets; terrible for everyone who loved reading 1,200-post NBA Reddit threads centered on GIFs of Harden standing in cement as his man darted by him for a layup. He’s the most well rounded of the three. ADVANTAGE: HARDEN.

Indeed, the metrics bear it out.  Harden had more defensive win shares than the other two guys.

BEST NICKNAME: I enjoy “The Beard” and like “The Splash Brothers” a tiny bit more. 

Both of those are terrible, especially since one is a reference to a video game that was most popular ten years ago.

But you know how you’d never call Liam Neeson “Liam” or “Neeson,” or nickname him, like, “Li” or “The Angry Irishman”? He’s just “Liam Neeson,” right? Same for Russell Westbrook. He’s too cool for a nickname. He’s transcended nicknames.

That's simply untrue.  I have heard many commentators and dozens of NBA fans call him "Russ" this season.  You're making stuff up again, Bill.

Damn, I’m at capacity for Liam Neeson references in this column already. ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

You've been at capacity for references to anything other than sports since 2002.

ONE-MAN-WRECKING-CREWNESS: 

Pretty dumb category (not that most of the rest of these aren't).

Um, Westbrook threw up 40-13-11, 39-14-11, 49-15-10, 30-11-17, 36-11-6 and 48-9-11 just in the past five weeks. Curry and Harden can eviscerate opposing defenses — and have — but only Westbrook makes you feel like you’re watching Lia— whoops, 

HIGH FIVE!

like you’re watching a WWE star sprint into a crowded Royal Rumble ring 

Yes, basketball is wrestling is basketball is Taken.  Couldn't agree more.

and immediately start clearing it out. He doesn’t need a nickname, but he might need his own entrance music. ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

Topping off the wrestling motif there, with another wrestling reference.  Great stuff.

BEST QUALITY AS A TEAMMATE: Harden is a famously fun off-the-court guy — the kind of star who seems like he’d stay out with a new teammate until 6 a.m. and, um, show him around. 

He's not going to be your friend, Bill.  Let it go.

Westbrook would fight for any teammate or coach on and off the court; he even holds grudges on the level of, Even though Grantland has thrown more love my way than toward Kanye and Drake combined, I’m not appearing on the All-Star Break B.S. Report because Simmons is the asshole who keeps bringing up the Harden trade and saying that Scott Brooks isn’t good enough. (By the way — guilty!)

YOU'RE NOT THE CENTER OF THE FUCKING UNIVERSE YOU NAVEL-GAZING DIPSHIT!  JESUS CHRIST ON A FUCKING TRICYCLE

But Curry is turning into this generation’s Tim Duncan — an unselfish superstar who doesn’t want to be an alpha dog, 

I like Curry just fine, and I don't think this is a bad thing to say about him, but he most definitely wants to be an alpha dog.

pulls for everyone else at all times, 

That's what 99% of all pro athletes do.

has an infectious personality 

Duncan has an infectious personality?

and lacks any semblance of an ego. 

Yeah, those walk-away-before-the-ball-reaches-the-rim threes really scream "quiet guy who just wants to get the job done."  Again, not that that's a bad thing.  If I shot 48% from three, I'd do it too.  But what in the holy hell is Bill talking about?

I loved that he loved Klay Thompson’s 37-point Über–Heat Check quarter more than anyone. 

Who, among every player in the NBA, wouldn't have loved that if Thompson was their teammate?  What is this garbage?

He’s the best player on a team with phenomenal chemistry. That matters. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Excellent paragraph.  Full of sound, fury, and nothingness.

NIGHT-TO-NIGHT YOUTUBE/GIF/MEME/VINE POTENTIAL:

All of them.  Who gives a flying fuck?  It's 2015.  We all can watch all of their highlights every night.  It's not like there's limited space on the internet for them.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING/STEALS: Good place to save some words. ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

"Good place to admit that I actually don't know that much about basketball."

DURABILITY: Here, too. ADVANTAGE: HARDEN.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR GIRLFRIENDS?  WHOSE IS HOTTEST?  WHY AM I READING THIS IF I DON'T GET TO SEE THEIR PICTURES?

POPULARITY: 

Yahtzee!

Big year for Curry — not only did he fetch the most All-Star votes, but LeBron’s departure from Miami allowed Golden State to become the NBA’s biggest bandwagon team. If your child is under 10 and searching for a hoops team that not-so-coincidentally might have a chance to win multiple titles, or you’re one of those secretly shady NBA fans-for-hire who drifts around from contender to contender because “I just root for players I like,” or you’re a casual fan who just likes watching dunks and 3s and that’s it, or you grew up in the Bay Area and wore a Warriors hat for 10 minutes when you were 8 years old back in the 1990s, then we have the bandwagon contender just for you! 

And there's your one place in the whole column where Bill actually says something funny.  Drink it up, people.

And yes, my daughter jumped on the Warriors bandwagon a few months ago. They’re irresistable. They’re bandwagon catnip. ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Fuck those GSW fans.  They're horrible.  Even the long-suffering mainstays.  Fuck 'em all.

MEDIA SAVVY: You’d think Curry would win this in a landslide. 

You'd think, wouldn't you?  Finally, something fans really need to read more about.

But what about Westbrook’s tough-love strategy? 

YES, WHAT OF IT?  THIS IS FASCINATING.

I kind of dig it. Total dick for a week, goes generic for a week, becomes nice and thoughtful the next week. He’s like the arrogant, hard-to-get ladies’ man in a rom-com who keeps playing the frazzled-but-successful woman in his office who’s way too cute not to have a boyfriend (only she’s all about her work and her home life is a mess). 

That's how you think of yourself, isn't it?

Russell thanked us today! What does this mean? Does he like me? I love Russell Westbrook. 

Barf

If he punched me in the face the next time I saw him, I’d probably justify it by saying, “I probably deserved that.” Wait … don’t actually do that, Russell. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

No one cares.

MOST ANNOYING QUALITY:

Tie among all three of them, for being discussed extensively in this article.  Done and done.

BEST “WHAT IF?” BACKSTORY: 

WHAT WILL WE THINK ABOUT THESE POTENTIAL BACKSTORIES IN TEN YEARS WHEN THEY HAVE BECOME NON-STORIES?

Curry almost got traded to the Suns during the 2010 draft; nearly got dealt to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut; and could have ended up in Minnesota had David Kahn not taken Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn over him. Westbrook trumps Curry with the whole “What if OKC never traded James Harden?” question lingering over his entire OKC tenure like a pungent fart on an airplane. 

I agree with the very mild intrigue of the Curry stuff.  The Westbrook stuff: sorry Bill, but the Harden trade isn't about Westbrook.  It's about Harden.  Let's see if he can get there...

And James Harden IS the James Harden from the previous sentence. ADVANTAGE: HARDEN.

He made it!  Go Bill go!

SWAGGER WHILE WALKING DOWN A RUNWAY BEFORE AN ESPN GAME DURING THOSE LUDICROUSLY LONG CAMERA SHOTS THAT

Don't care, we're skipping this category, you're not funny.

UNIQUENESS FACTOR: Brutal category. 

Totally brutal.  Oh wait, who gives a fucking runny shit?

Westbrook is basically Jim Brown 50 years later with basketball shorts on. 

Basically like literally OMG that's so what he is I can't even

And I just compared him to Teen Wolf 

Check that spot on your bingo cards, people.

and a poisoned movie character who uses so much of her brain that she becomes a robot, then turns invisible. 

I lost whatever reference he was making in copying and pasting this over to Blogger and removing the formatting--I can't guess it, and don't even want to know.

Somehow, I have him ranked third. 

He's a great athlete, who plays like another great athlete from a while ago, and a fictional great athlete from a bad movie.  So unique.

Curry is the greatest shooter I have ever seen in my life; he’s like Maravich reincarnated crossed with Steve Nash crossed with some sports movie character that hasn’t been invented yet. Somehow, I have him ranked second. 

He's a basketball player who is good at shooting basketballs into basketball hoops.  So unique.

And Harden is a true original – I’m half-convinced that Dork Elvis, Goldsberry and Hollinger wanted to see if there could be a superior and much more durable American version of Manu Ginobili, so they created Harden in an MIT lab in 2007 during the first-ever Sloan Conference. A left-handed scorer/creator who cares only about getting to the rim, getting fouled or shooting 3s?

He's just like this other guy who is about ten years older and also plays in the NBA.  So unique.

Important note:

No.  Moving on.

“SEEING THEM IN PERSON” FACTOR: Christ. This one isn’t fair, especially with Westbrook in Jim Brown/Bo Jackson/Young LeBron/Lucymode right now. But I saw Curry in Brooklyn earlier this month, and lemme tell you something: 

Hey, let us tell you something: most of us don't just travel around watching basketball as part of our jobs.  If we can make it to the arena nearest where we live when the Rockets, Thunder or Warriors are in town: great.  If not: we'll watch them on TV like everyone else.  You out of touch stereotype of an asshole journalist.

There is nothing — repeat, nothing — more exciting as an NBA fan right now than being in the house when Steph Curry is feeling it. Bird had the same quality, by the way. 

IT AWWWWWWL COMES BACK TO THE FACKIN' C'S!  I BET YOU THOUGHT IT WOULDN'T!  FACK YOU!

And these Curry shots are SWISHING. That’s the other thing. 

Not as SWISHINGLY as LEGEND'S, but they're still SWISHING.

When it starts happening, the energy in the building actually shifts and becomes something else. 

More exemplary use of the English language.  This guy knows how to paint a beautiful piece of shit with words.

It’s tangible. His teammates rise from their bench. 

Something unseen anywhere else in pro sports!

The fans start buzzing like they’re waiting for a band to make a Coachella entrance or something. 

MAYBE YOU HAVEN'T HEARD BUT BILL LIVES IN SOCAL NOW

Everyone stands because you simply have to stand. 

No, everyone stands because it's exciting, which happens all the time in every sport.

And all the limits of the sport we thought we understood get briefly removed. 

Barf

It’s amazing. Utterly, completely amazing. 

Barf barf

If you have the money and the Warriors are passing through your city, go see Steph Curry. 

Oh, you can't see them in person whenever you want?  Pity.  Perhaps you need a more connected family to get your media career off the ground.

You want to be there if he starts feeling it. Trust me. 

"You wouldn't know from watching on TV, peasant."

ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

I'm not even finishing this fucking segment of this shitstain of an article.  Here are the categories you missed, and the correct picks each:

NIGHT-TO-NIGHT COMPETITIVENESS: 

All of them, regardless of the fact that Westbrook looks meaner than the other two.

GUY YOU’D MOST WANT FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS: 

All of them.

MOST VALUABLE RIGHT NOW:

Curry, I'd guess, but you can't pick wrong.

MEANING TO THEIR CITY:

NONE OF THEM, BECAUSE NONE OF THEM PLAY IN BEANTOWN AND THEY-AHFO-AH, NONE OF THEM AHHHH PROPAHLY APPRECIATED!

I'll wrap it up with LeBron and Anthony Davis in the next post.  Seriously, fuck Bill Simmons and fuck anyone who reads him for any reason other than to complain about him.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NBA WHO SAYS NO Rankings - Part 3


Are you finished feeling guilty for what YOU'VE done to DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins, America?  Have you thought about what you did?  Good, now we can move on to two players who I genuinely dislike (one of whom does not belong this high on the list) and one who Bill is GENUINELY WORRIED ABOUT, GUYS.

8. Blake Griffin

Things that concern me in no particular order …

Oh wait, Bill is GENUINELY WORRIED about lots of things.  He's fretting.  His palms are sweaty.  WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?  Will NBA fans everywhere finally agree that Griffin is a manbaby hothead who is responsible for about 99% of every on-court scrape/half-fight/actual fight he gets into?  WILL PEOPLE STOP BUYING KIAS?  OH THE HUMANITY

A. Why didn’t Blake’s elbow injury submarine the Clippers’ season? 

Well, he only missed 15 games.  His shooting and rebounding are at career worsts, but his assists are at career highs and his PER is pretty much holding steady.  He's a good player.  He's not an irreplaceable player.  His absence probably cost them a win or two.

This is a team that gives real, actual, tangible minutes to Hedo Turkoglu, Big Baby Davis and Occasionally Fredo Rivers. They just signed The Artist Formerly Known As Nate Robinson and made him a rotation guy. They were upset when they couldn’t get Tayshaun Prince or Kendrick Perkins. They could sign literally any washed-up former star (Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Gilbert Arenas, Shawn Kemp, etc.), play him 12 minutes tomorrow night and you wouldn’t be shocked. And they went 9-6 without one of the league’s best 12 players? Where was the 15-game swoon?

I don't like Griffin's game at all, I think he's overrated, but Jesus's hairy balls, dude.  It's not that weird.  They have one of the three best PGs in the league, a good coach (even if he can be a total shithead) and an elite rebounder/rim protector.  What were they supposed to do, go 0-15 without him?

B. He’s headed for his third straight Antoine Walker Award, given annually to the NBA star who provokes the highest ongoing level of disdain from opponents and referees. 

Herrrrrre we go.

Look, it’s hard to stand out on the 2014-15 Los Angeles Bitchers — 

Horrible, unfunny, corny nickname.  (I don't think he's got another "Jackass Central" in him.)  But it is most definitely accurate.

an irascible bunch that spends an unfathomable amount of time griping about calls, stink-eyeing officials, taking hard fouls way too personally and reacting to unexpected whistles by sprinting in short bursts with outstretched arms and their faces contorted in disbelief (or as it’s better known, “The Doc”). 

Wow--shocked that he would admit to as much.  I guess he's still sour about that time Rivers (rightfully) called him a know-nothing dumbass live during the NBA draft, as well as the fact that Rivers is no longer coaching his beloved C's.

But Blake has managed to do it. Opponents believe they can get in his head. And they usually do.

Go buy a lottery ticket, everyone.  I agree with Bill Simmons about something.  (Although I disagree that it's cause for concern about his status/value as a player.  I mean, he's a good player who has a short fuse.  Plenty of those guys have had successful and productive careers.)

C. A 6-foot-10 power forward who’s built like a Greek god, plays waaaaay above the rim and once averaged 12 boards a game as a rookie can’t grab eight rebounds a night in his fifth NBA season? That’s an astonishing drop-off, no?

Excuse No. 1: His offensive rebounding fell off (3.3 as a rookie, 2.0 in Year 5) because he shoots more jumpers now.

Love Bill's thinking here: he's grabbing 4.5 fewer rebounds per game than at his rebounding apex.  First possible reason: he's grabbing 1.3 fewer offensive rebounds per game.  Mystery: solved.

Excuse No. 2: There aren’t enough available rebounds now that Contract Year DeAndre has become possessed by Wilt Chamberlain’s ghost.

This one is actually pretty legitimate--Jordan is grabbing 15 boards a game.  That's nuts.  When Griffin was a 12 RPG rookie, Jordan averaged 26 MPG but only grabbed 7.5 boards.  It's like they've switched roles, and then some.

Excuse No. 3: Blake has bigger ambitions; he wants to be more of a playmaker now. That brings us to …

Probably fair, given that he's handing out more than five APG.  I don't like the guy, I think he's overrated, I think he's too high on this list (I'd take Cousins over him ten times out of ten), but that's pretty impressive for a guy who also scores 22 a game and plays most of his minutes with Chris Paul.

D. I voted Blake third for MVP last season and believed he was heading for a decade-long run of 24-and-10 seasons. 

Bill's obsession with HOW WILL WE LOOK BACK ON THIS IN X YEARS continues, only now he gets to unsubtly drop in the fact that he has an MVP vote.  Go fuck yourself, Bill.

This generation’s best power forward, basically. Well …

Mailman (Years 4-10): 28-11-3, 53% FG, 10.2 FTA, 2.5 stocks, 25.1 PER
Duncan (Years 4-10): 22-12-3, 51% FG, 7.7 FTA, 3.3 stocks, 25.8 PER
Barkley (Years 4-10): 25-12-4, 56% FG, 9.3 FTA, 2.4 stocks, 26.3 PER
Dirk (Years 4-10): 25-9-3, 47% FG, 7.1 FTA, 2.1 stocks, 25.5 PER
Blake (Year 5): 22-8-5, 50% FG, 6.6 FTA, 1.3 stocks, 22.9 PER

Why are FTAs in there?  I'm not saying it's a useless statistic, but the way games are reffed has changed so much over time that I really don't see the point of comparing Malone's and Barkley's numbers with Griffin's.  Look, the facts that his PER is materially lower than any of those guys, and his rebounding is disappearing (whether in deference to a teammate or not) are enough to convince me.

And I had to round up from 7.6 to get to eight rebounds. Shouldn’t he be trending up? Last season, after Blake carried the CP3-less Clips for a month and showed off a better all-around game than we ever imagined, Kirk Goldsberry called him “the most prolific interior scorer in the NBA” and backed up that progress with year-by-year shot charts. 

Difficult title to bestow on someone who plays with CP3 (who I also hate, but do not think is overrated).  With his post game, his insane vision on the pick and roll, and his ability to space the floor (not to mention frequent punches to opponents' dicks), Paul makes life easier for any big man.  With the Hornets he made Tyson Chandler and Emeka Okafor look like legitimate inside scorers.  He could probably get 2015 Charles Barkley 15 points a game if Barkley suited up and went back out there.

This season, Blake wanted to show off his improved jump shot and admitted as much in a piece in The Players’ Tribune 

Side note: the Players' Tribune is a great idea.  It's also a tire fire in terms of execution.  Much like Grantland.

that contributing editor Blake Griffin headlined, “Why Ain’t He Dunkin?” Kudos to him for spending thousands of hours fixing a once-broken jump shot, but man … we have 100 guys who can make 20-footers. As Goldsberry joked last week, nobody ever watched Blake and said, “Someday, maybe he can become the next David West.”

Well, in theory, a professional athlete should have so much time available for practice that they can work on one skill without having others deteriorate.  Maybe the reason Griffin's improved jump shooting has come at the expense of his interior efficiency (and possibly his offensive rebounding) is that he's just not as good as everyone thinks he is.

Like everyone else, I loved watching Year 4 Blake — the reckless super-athlete with a blossoming inside-outside game who searched for GIFtims (GIF victims) 

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

every time he careered toward the hoop. But Year 5 Blake? Let’s play America’s hottest game show, “When The Eye Test Meets Advanced Metrics!”


KIRK GOLDSBERRY/GRANTLAND

Hate to show too much love to Grantland, but those shot charts are fucking cool.

Goldsberry’s translation: “The good news: He’s finally converting all of those elbow shots at above-average rates. That will help him extend his career. The bad news: He’s gone from ‘great’ to ‘good’ in the paint. Not only is his efficiency down close to the basket, but his usage is way down, too; for the first time in his career, the majority of his shots are jumpers. So he deserves credit for improving as a jump shooter, but he may have already peaked as an interior force.”

Is he afraid of contact?  Do hard fouls get to him?  Is he getting lazier as he ages?  I don't really give a shit, but he's not the #8 trade asset in the league.  Especially not when he's getting ~$20 million a year through 2018, and his contract includes a 15% raise if he gets traded.

Ideally, you would want to combine Great-In-The-Paint Blake with Above-The-Rim Blake, Crash-The-Boards Blake, Sneaky-Good-Passer Blake and Above-Average Elbow Shooter Blake and create Super-Blake. 

America's most popular basketball analyst, and bestselling author of "The Book of Basketball" shares his really interesting thoughts about Blake Griffin.

(Right now, only Anthony Davis trumps Super-Blake as an all-around “JESUS! HOW DO YOU STOP HIM???” forward.) Will it ever happen? 

I mean, it sort of already has happened; he's a really good player who's good for 22 and 8 or so.  If he wasn't playing with Jordan it would probably be 24 and 10.  Please stop concern trolling about him.

Should we be concerned that, 

Please stop concern trolling.

during his age-25 season, Griffin’s rebounding, free throw attempts, blocks, steals, in-the-paint numbers and everything else that signifies “I am zipping around like a force of nature!” are drifting the wrong way?

Please stop concern trolling.

Super-Blake was and is untradable. But Not-As-Reckless-Above-Average-Elbow-Shooter-Who-Can’t-Get-Two-Rebounds-A-Quarter Blake? You tell me.

He's not untradable, other than perhaps from the perspective of the other 29 teams in the league with that 15% escalator.  He's still really good.  We have learned nothing from Bill's 500 words on Blake Griffin.  We're done here.

7. Chris Paul

Fucking complainy-pants asshole extraordinaire.  Unlike Griffin, though, I think he is properly ranked on this list.

“Teammates lived in perpetual fear of letting him down. Coaches struggled to reach him and ultimately left him alone. 

And just like that, Adam Morrison was out of the NBA."

Referees dreaded calling his games, knowing they couldn’t toss the league’s best player even as he was serenading them with F-bombs. 

I wish he were talking about Tim Duncan.

Fans struggled to connect with a prodigy who had little interest in connecting with them.”

Now he's talking about himself, maybe?

Did I write that in my NBA book about Chris Paul … or Oscar Robertson? (Checking.) 

OK, I'm out of bad "lol he was talking about someone else" jokes.

Whoops, Oscar. But Chris is really three people: Cliff Paul 

Darren Rovell just got half a boner upon reading that Simmons has internalized State Farm's marketing.

(the bespectacled guy from the State Farm commercials), 

Cliff Paul stinks.

Chris Paul (the media-savvy brand who gives thoughtful interviews, runs the NBPA and always does the right thing) 

Again, except when he's taking cheap shots, flopping, or bitching about the correct call.

and CP3 (the player himself). And you know what CP3 is? An impossible crank, an unforgiving perfectionist, a drill sergeant, a weirdly joyless player who struggles to resonate with teammates and home fans … and someone who plays point guard about as well as that position can be played.

And who has never been past the second round of the playoffs.  I hate that kind of criticism in most sports, but in basketball, great players have the ability to carry teams.  Paul is exiting his prime.  Within a couple of years it'll be pretty much impossible for him to be the best player on a championship contender.  But still, fuck, he's pretty good.

CP3 spent the first half of this season getting into shape (it’s true) while remaining supernaturally efficient; he’d routinely take quarters off and halves off and seemed even grouchier than usual. 

For fuck's sake, Bill.  You don't know the guy personally.  Who the hell knows how he was really feeling?

When Blake went down, CP3 unleashed holy hell; he has vaulted to that Westbrook/Harden/LeBron/Davis/Curry level for a solid month (and counting) while carrying a limited team. 

HE IS A TOP SIX PLAYER, MOST LIKELY EXACTLY SIXTH BEST.  NOBODY SAYS ANYTHING BUT YES

As Doc loves to point out, CP3 actually plays both ends and loves disrupting other point guards; new advanced metrics even back up CP3’s defensive brilliance. 

I'm not sure which ones he's referring to, but given his "the sun shines on things because I cast my eyes upon them" attitude, they're probably metrics that have been around for like five years that Bill just discovered.  Thus they are brand spanking new.

(I went to a Grizzlies game a few weeks ago in which he absolutely destroyed Mike Conley, who’s only one of the league’s best 25 players.) 

I like Mike Conley, but no he's not.

And CP3’s pull-up elbow jumper remains the NBA’s best crunch-time weapon. It’s about as sure of a thing as you can get these days.

"These days."  What the fuck is he talking about?  Is it way harder to get crunch time points now than it was ten or twenty years ago?  What?

And yet … CP3 is also a basketball curmudgeon, someone who dominates the ball in close games to an almost harmful degree. He doesn’t trust anyone else late; he’s like one of those moms who won’t let anyone babysit her kids. 

He also plays on a team with little scoring depth and no shooters other than "35 and not aging well" Jamal Crawford and "can't be on the floor continuously during crunch time because he can't guard anyone" JJ Redick.

His teammates know it, and even worse, his opponents know it. Can you win in the playoffs that way? 

Well, he hasn't yet.

Doesn’t it open the door for what happened in Game 5 of last spring’s OKC series? Can you point to another example of a ball-dominating little guy who also won four straight playoff rounds? 

We got it--enough with the fucking non-rhetorical rhetorical questions.  Also, how about Isiah Thomas?

He’s certainly the best pure point guard since Isiah Thomas — another fiery competitor who demanded perfection from everyone around him. But Isiah trusted his teammates way more than CP3 does. 

WHO SAYS NO?????  Thomas averaged 16 FGA per game for his career.  Paul, playing in a higher-scoring era on a very fast team, is averaging 14 this year and for his career.

If CP3 is more dictatorial, then Isiah was more democratic. 

You didn't use either of those words correctly.

He allowed Dumars and Vinnie to freelance in big spots and never needed the ball late like CP3 often does. 

I very much doubt that he "never" needed the ball late.

You would have loved playing with Isiah. You wouldn’t have loved playing with Oscar. And CP3 is floating somewhere in between those two extremes. It’s crazy that he hasn’t played in a conference finals game yet … but it’s also not that crazy.

Excellent writing.  Top notch.  When is this guy going to give up on the whole TV/podcast thing and just start cranking out some novels?

6. Kevin Durant

I’ll be honest, the broken foot debacle freaks me out.

Crank up the BILL IS WORRIED, GUYS tornado siren.

A quick recap: KD suffers a Jones fracture in mid-October … everyone spends the next few days writing that it’s a secretly dangerous foot injury and that you CANNOT rush back from it … Durant promises not to rush back, then comes back in six and a half weeks … 

Great job providing context to readers as to what would constitute rushing back.  Hey look, a Google result that says that for certain types of Jones fractures (of course Bill doesn't tell us which one Durant had, why would he) six to eight weeks is normal recovery time.

he doesn’t look quite right heading into the All-Star break and plays only 10 minutes in the All-Star Game (uh-oh) … 

THAT'S your barometer for "something might be wrong?"  Fuck the All-Star Game.  Fuck all all star games in all sports.

right after the All-Star break (February 23), OKC shelves him with a “minor procedure to help him reduce pain and discomfort in his surgically repaired right foot” because of a faulty screw, saying he’ll be reevaluated in a week … and three weeks later, the team announces that he’ll return within “a week or two weeks.” (Sorry, I can’t fight off these 2009 KG flashbacks.) 

IT AWWWWL COMES BACK TO THE C'S.  IT AWLWAYS DOES!!!!!  Too bad those 2009 Celtics couldn't even deal with a Magic team that was Dwight Howard and a bunch of mid-rotation guys, let alone the Cavs or any team that could have come out of the West that year.

If KD weren’t an incumbent MVP coming off of one of the best offensive seasons in 40 years, I would have panic-dropped him to sixth. 

Well, I'm certainly glad you didn't resort to such--

Oh wait, I just did.

OH SNAP, AMERICA!  Truth bombs, falling all over your head!  Protect your neck!

Confession time: 

Please no.  You self-important twat.

The thought of a “recovered” KD getting thrown into this late-season playoff push scares the bejesus out of me. 

Well, fortunately that's no longer an issue.

They’re supposed to protect his minutes and his twice-repaired foot when the alternative is “If we miss the playoffs, we’ll take one more giant leap toward becoming one of the most snakebitten almost-dynasties in NBA history”? 

They're no snakebitten.  They're just dumb.  Here's your annual "Bill was right" admission from Larry B: the Harden trade is such a gigantic disaster I don't even know what to compare it to.  It's like all the classics--Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen, an entire draft for Ricky Williams, Wayne Gretzky for not Wayne Gretzky, etc.  But it's worse.  Man, Harden is good.

They’re going to protect his minutes with Serge Ibaka out indefinitely? They’re going to protect his minutes in an up-and-down, testosterone-fueled, run-and-gun Round 1 bloodbath against the Warriors?

They'll be golfing in about a week.  Rest easy, Bill.  KD will have all summer to recuperate.

The storied history of the National Basketball Association 

THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION OF BASKETBALL TEAMS ON BASKETBALL COURTS

has taught us a variety of valuable life lessons, ranging from “If you make $100 million, that doesn’t mean you can actually spend $100 million” to “Always use the condoms that YOU brought” to “Don’t ever ask your casino host for a second marker”

Some good mealy-mouthed New England racism in all of those.

to “Don’t ever marry anyone with the last name Kardashian.” 

Are you kidding?  Humphries and Odom are doing just fine.

But this lesson ranks way up there: “If you break anything in your foot, don’t come back until you’re 100 percent healthy, and then wait ANOTHER two to three weeks just to be safe.” Can’t mess around with feet. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t. Not in basketball. 

Not in any fucking sport, you moron.  Human feet (and knees) are not at all designed for what athletes do to them.  We all know this.

I’m worried.

I don't care.

More later.

Friday, April 3, 2015

NBA WHO SAYS NO Rankings - Part 2

Deeper down the rabbit hole we go.

GROUP H: “Stop It, He’s a Young Stud, No Way!”

There's got to be a less sexual way to word that.

30. Bradley Beal
29. Jimmy Butler
28. Andre Drummond

Beal is under contract for next season while Butler is not, but boy, there is a very wide gulf between those two guys in terms of ability.  Very wide.  Granted, Beal is still young after spending just a year in college before being drafted, but he has not improved at all since his good-not-great rookie year.  He's still a deadly three point shooter and not much else.  The Wizards will have a difficult decision to make with him in two offseasons if he's still just a 15/3/3 guy next season.  Meanwhile, Butler has turned into an all star, and does everything better than Beal does besides shoot 3s.  I don't think the fact that Beal has another cheap year on his rookie deal really accounts for that.

UPDATE: We need to find the right teammates for Drummond soon. I’m convinced that SVG traded D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler for Reggie Jackson as a stealth tanking move. And if he did, congratulations. It worked.

Huh?  Jackson is going for 17 and 9 (plus 5 boards) since joining the Pistons.  Augustin is somewhere between has-been and never-was.  Singler is terrible.  I'm getting to this article quite a while after Bill published it--maybe Jackson wasn't meshing with Drummond in his first few games in Detroit.  For what it's worth, Drummond is averaging 16 points a game since the trade, compared to 13 before.  So as usual it sure as hell sounds like Bill has no fucking idea what he's talking about.

GROUP G: “Sorry, Too Many Karmic Implications”

Bill's constant references to karma: more or less obnoxious than Gregggggg's incessant references to the Football Gods?

27. Tony Parker
26. Tim Duncan
25. Dwyane Wade
24. Dirk Nowitzki

Well hey, lookie there, it just so happens that four veteran superstars with titles who have never changed teams all have EXACTLY the same trade value!  Go figure!  Actually, I kind of sound dumb making that point since they really DO have the same trade value--their current teams are never going to trade them unless it's at the player's explicit demand.  Still though, come on.  

23. Paul George

What's he doing in this group?  I guess Bill was like "He's probably not going to play this season... fuck it, just throw him in with the aging superstar group.  WHO SAYS NO?" while talking to a houseplant.

UPDATE: Parker is starting to look like Parker again. Oh God … oh no …

Parker has always looked like Parker.  He's 32.  His points and assists have taken a dip this year, but so have his minutes.  I assume in the original rankings he was like "PARKER IS FINISHED--HE'S DONE."  And now he's acting like it's some revelation that he's not done.  Exact same thing happened with Wade (who is 33) a couple of years ago.  Bill has the cognitive capacity of a goldfish.  

GROUP F: “Hold On, I Have to Finish Guffawing”

22. Andrew Wiggins
21. Giannis Antetokounmpo

UPDATE: I blew it with Wiggins. He’s a top-12 trade asset. 

Given who you put in the next group down, sheesh, I have to say you blew it with the Greek Freak (hate that nickname but not going to type out Antetokounmpo more than once) too.  

(Stop looking at me like that.) I don’t know what else to say. (Seriously, stop shaking your head.) We’re moving on. We’re moving forward.

Wiggins, of course, is having a great season.  Greek Freak just turned 20 in December, is 6'11" (so he's probably still growing into his frame and learning how to maximize his athleticism) and is good for an efficient 13 and 7.  If he were a Celtic, Bill would have put him in the top five.  Meanwhile...

GROUP E: “Well-Priced Impact Stars”

At least there's positional, contract, and experience variety here.  Lowry, Conley, Horford and Ibaka are all signed at least through 2016 and for roughly $10-$12 million each.  That security is nice, and they're all good players, but I would be shocked if more than just a few "win now" teams value each of them over Wiggins (which Bill admits), Greek Freak, Paul George (who's on an expensive deal, but is locked up through 2018) or Jimmy Butler.  Meanwhile, Lillard is 1) awesome and 2) locked up on a cheap rookie rookie deal through 2016.  Definitely right to have him at the top of this group, but I think he'd go above the guys in the next group too.  Leonard is also awesome, but more of a question mark, and he's an RFA this summer meaning he's about to get expensive.  I don't think he belongs here at all.  But enough of this levelheaded analysis.  Let's see what Bill manages to fart out onto his keyboard about these guys.

20. Mike Conley
19. Serge Ibaka
18. Kawhi Leonard
17. Al Horford
16. Kyle Lowry
15. Damian Lillard


UPDATE: I’m not rattled by having Lowry too high after his January-February offensive swoon. He’s too good. 

OK.  Good for you.  Way to show conviction, dumb person who is often wrong (although not here, necessarily).

I’m mildly rattled by Ibaka’s mysterious knee injury, along with the fact that I wouldn’t let OKC’s medical staff help me with a head cold at this point. 

And since that was written, Kevin Durant has started falling apart.  Hardly the fault of the OKC training staff, though.  Or so I'd think. 

Kawhi’s electrifying two-way showdown with LeBron on Thursday made me wonder if I ranked him too low, 

As Bill so often says, CONTRACTS MATTER BLAH BLAH BLAH

but man, when are those 3s coming back for him? How bad is that mysterious hand injury? This isn’t a normal trend for 3-point shooters: 37.6 percent (2012-14 regular season), 41.6 percent (2012-14 playoffs) … 32.2 percent (2014-15 season). 

Actually, that's really not that weird.  The playoff number is great, but even with all the playoff games the Spurs have played while making the Finals two of the last three years, that 41.6% is on fewer than 200 attempts.  The 2012-2014 regular season vs. 2014-2015 regular season comparison is more valid, especially since Leonard is also shooting worse on his twos and worse at the line this year.  But a dip from 37.6% to 32.2% isn't catastrophic, especially for a stretch 4 type guy who, as Bill knows, might be hurt.  Anyways, he's talking out of both sides of his mouth as well as his ass.  Suffice to say that Leonard is going to get paid this summer, whether by the Spurs or someone else.  But at this year's trade deadline, I'm not sure he'd be an asset on par with a cost controlled Horford or Ibaka.

San Antonio can’t win four straight playoff rounds and realize their ’69 Celts destiny 

LIKE I SAID IT AWL COMES BACK TO THE FACKIN' C'S.  

if Kawhi’s 3s don’t come around and defenses start leaving him wide open. It’s true.

Thanks for arguing with no one ("It's true, DON'T DENY IT") about something no one fucking cares about ("AHHH THE SPURS AS GOOD AS THE '69 C'S????????").  I'm sure they'll be just fine come playoff time.  They only have the best (ageless) PF ever, an elite point guard and the best coach of his generation to back Leonard up.  I don't think the difference between Leonard shooting a sub-average but still acceptable percentage on a handful of 3s per game versus him shooting the lights out on a handful of 3s per game is going to make or break them.

GROUP D: “The Mega Free Agents”

THEY ARE EQUALLY VALUABLE!  Actually, you know what, after looking at their lines--these two really do probably belong together.  They're about the same age, are both UFAs this year (who will probably look for short term deals due to the big salary cap bump that's on the horizon), and they do post pretty similar numbers while kind of sort of playing the same position.  Aldridge has the sexier raw stat line, but he also plays for a faster-paced team and doesn't share big man responsibilities with anyone as capable as Z-Bo.  Fine.  They deserve to be in "Group D" together.  Thank you for not calling them "young studs."

14. LaMarcus Aldridge
13. Marc Gasol


UPDATE: No regrets. 

NONE!  I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF, AMERICA!

Although it’s bizarre that Aldridge (23.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 22.3 PER, playing hurt for two-plus months, carrying a possible no. 2 seed) has been left out of the MVP race. It’s almost like the national media ignores Portland or something.

Well, first of all, fuck you and your own personal biases that cause you to ignore anything in baseball that's not BOS/NYY or relevant to your fucking AL-only keeper league full of zeroes.  Second of all, sure, Aldridge is having a nice season, but that PER is only good for 11th in the league.  He's not exactly within shouting distance of Davis, Westbrook or Curry, either.  But good job kissing babies and winning hearts and minds in RIP CITY.  I'm sure you appreciate all the dumbshits from there who will write you emails praising that blurb.

GROUP C: “No Offense, But I’m Hanging Up”

12. John Wall
11. Klay Thompson

Here again we have two guys who are almost the same age, with nearly identical contract situations (both locked up for big money through 2019), with similar PERs.  But in this case, I think the value comparison falls apart pretty quickly.  Whereas Bill overrates Bradley Beal pretty heavily, I think he's probably underrating Wall (or rather, overrating Thompson).  Thompson plays on the league's best team, alongside either the best or second best point guard in the league (who creates tons of wide open shots for Thompson every game), with a bunch of other very strong role players/semi-stars who make the team hum like a well-tuned engine.  Meanwhile, Wall carries the entire burden on offense for his poorly-coached team of good-not-great overpaid players (Nene, Marcin Gortat) and dinosaurs (Paul Pierce, Andre Miller until the Wizards cut him).  

He leads his team in scoring by a good margin while also handing out ten assists per game (second only to CP3 in the league) and grabbing a not-insignificant five boards.  He's the only guy on that team that can create his own shot and he plays 36 minutes per game.  It's a bit of a weird exercise since it would be chaotic to play Wall alongside Curry, but imagine switching these two guys and I think the Warriors come out way, way, way ahead on the deal.  In fact, better exercise--switch Beal and Thompson.  I think their numbers probably switch too.  Thompson is nothing special.  He also looks like he's probably an asshole off the court.  There, I said it.

UPDATE: If I had to do it over again, I’d give Wiggins and Kawhi these two spots and bump Wall and Thompson back a few spots. We’re stuck with those first two parts for eternity. Without further ado, the 10 most untradable players of 2015.

Yeah, people are really going to be looking back at these rankings five years from now.  You'll rue the day you improperly valued Wiggins in your bullshit rankings until you're in the ground, Simmons.  Totally.

GROUP B: “The Untouchables”

10. Kyrie Irving
Covered in detail in Friday’s 1,900-word “sneak peek” of Part 3. I can’t even pull off a sneak peek correctly.

I'm impressed you're even able to maintain your job at ESPN without being curb stomped by someone there who has actual knowledge and charisma yet makes 20% of your salary.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  Also, everyone go read this again.

9. Boogie Cousins

Hard to critique this part since I'm a DeMarcus Cousins fan, for reasons beyond his game.  Just kidding!  (Not about being a fan, but about this being hard to critique.)

In Part 2, I mentioned the smartest non-trades in recent NBA history — 

An easy set of non-events to compile, since we know all of them that have ever occurred, and teams definitely would never leak incorrect information about non-trades in order to further shape the market, affect free agent salaries, placate angry fans, etc.

including the time Houston dangled Hakeem Olajuwon for a Godfather offer (Steve Smith, Glen Rice AND Rony Seikaly), got turned down, then rejected Miami’s counteroffer (Seikaly, Grant Long and Harold Miner). How on earth was the window ever open to steal one of the NBA’s 12 greatest players ever? Because you are what you’re worth. 

Gee Bill, thanks for answering a question no one asked.  Let's see.  Kareen was traded in his prime.  Shaq was traded as he entered his prime.  Barkley was traded in his prime.  Kevin Garnett was traded at the tail end of his prime.  Could the answer to the question be one that every sports fan already knows: "These things fucking happen?"

For the previous five seasons, an increasingly unhappy Hakeem had been stuck playing with so many past-their-primers, never-made-its and never-got-theres that everyone inadvertently forgot that the Dream was unfreakingtradable. 

No.  Go fuck yourself with scissors.  No one "forgot" that.

Had the Heat countered with Rice (a top-15 trade asset that summer), Seikaly (averaged 16 and 12 in ’92) and either Miner or multiple no. 1 picks, then the deal would have gotten done 

WHO SAYS NO

and we would’ve had a different champ in 1994 and 1995. Instead, Houston won the ’94 and ’95 titles and Hakeem unleashed one of the NBA’s most iconic three-or-four-year runs of the past 35 years: 

I'm glad we are evaluating the trade value of DeMarcus Cousins right now.

the short list includes Jordan from 1989 to 1993 and 1996 to 1998, Bird from 1984 to 1987, Magic from 1987 to 1990, Shaq from 2000 to 2002, LeBron from 2012 to 2014, Hakeem from 1993 to 1995, and Kobe from 2008 to 2010 

Great.  Cool.

(and probably in that order).

THAT ORDER AND ONLY EXACTLY THAT ORDER.  NO ONE SAYS NO.

Maybe 2015 Boogie isn’t 1992 Hakeem, 

So, thanks for the tangent, then.

but he is definitely on pace to earn the same level of career-related empathy. In less than five seasons, he’s played for six coaches, two GMs and two super-shaky owners. He lived through consecutive seasons in which the Kings were moving … and then weren’t … and then were … and then weren’t. 

The Kings had the worst owners in the league (yes, worse than James Dolan).  Then those guys sold the team to some other asshole who doesn't know what he's doing.  I'd feel worse for their fans if they didn't live in the only part of California that 1) is close to cool shit 2) doesn't have THAT much meth and 3) is not outrageously expensive.

When I asked him during All-Star Weekend 

I HAVE ACCESS!!!!!  EVERYONE LISTEN TO ME MY OPINION MEANS MORE NOW!  Bill is really stealing a page from the Peter King playbook there.

how many starting point guards he’s played with, he couldn’t remember everyone off the top of his head. Maybe he took much-deserved Internet heat for a variety of foolish young-guy mistakes, and maybe he could have been a better teammate at times. (I’m being kind.) 

More King-isms.  SHAME ON YOU, BOOGIE.  WHY DO YOU GO BY BOOGIE?  THAT'S CHILDISH.  I'M GOING TO CALL YOU BOOGIE FROM NOW ON BECAUSE I FIND IT AMUSING.

But ever since he got himself into terrific shape last year, everyone has HAD to double-team him. I mean …

Boogie, last two seasons (123 games): 33.0 mpg, 23.1 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 48% FG, 25.5 PER
Duncan, ’01-’02 and ’02-’03 (163 games): 39.9 mpg, 24.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 51% FG, 27.0 PER

Maybe he isn’t Apex Duncan, especially in the defense/teammate/leadership/intangibles/getting-thrown-out-of-games-for-wonky-behavior categories, 

I'm glad someone taught you the word "wonky."  It should never be used, ever, but if you're going to use it that is not how you do so.  WHICH IS THE WONK TEAM?  Remember that horseshit?  That was also not a correct usage.

Boogie HAS improved. Did you know his rim protection numbers are slightly better than DeAndre Jordan’s numbers this season? And with the spacing that Boogie creates and the numbers he’s putting up, you could absolutely run a world-class offense around him. Only you can’t … because he’s wasting his pre-prime playing for Jackass Central on a perpetual lottery team in a stacked conference.

Haha.  No sarcasm, that last one is a good line.  "Jackass Central."  That's pretty good.  Bill does induce one chuckle from me about every six months or so.  HE'S STILL GOT IT!

So if you were Boogie, what would make you feel good about playing in Sacramento other than the city’s fantastic hoops fans? George Karl? Too soon to say. 

Yeah, the guy only has like 1,000 wins as an NBA coach, all in mid-sized or small markets.  Probably not a good fit in Sacramento.

Ben McLemore? Too soon to say. 

I don't think he belongs on this list.  I'd hate to be a guy picked 7th overall in a super thin draft and have someone be like OUR BEST PLAYER IS COUNTING ON YOU.  GET IT DONE.  That would suck.  McLemore left Kansas after just a year, and wasn't even the best fucking player on the team for that one year.

Cap space this summer? Crap, they don’t have it. 

Dang, now they don't have a chance to get turned down by Gasol and Aldridge, whose styles of play wouldn't mesh with Cousins's at all, or to overpay Goran Dragic!  Nuts!

Their next lottery pick? Crap, it’s headed to Chicago unless Sacramento finishes in the bottom 10. 

Which they are almost mathematically assured of doing at this point, so, let's not shit our pants just yet.

This is bleaker than bleak. 

No, that is your narrative that you are constructing because Hakeem once almost got traded or something.  In fact, watch this: Knicks, Lakers, Nuggets, Pistons, 76ers, Nets, Heat, Thunder (very suddenly on this list), Magic, Timberwolves (even with Wiggins).  There's a list of teams with bleaker futures than Sacramento's.  Fuck, the Knicks might not be a playoff team again until like 2020.  That's hard to do in a league with 16 of 30 teams making the postseason.  I'll bet you a shiny nickel the Kings get there before all the teams on that list that aren't in the playoffs already this year (i.e., the teams on that list that are also rebuilding right now).

My advice to Kings fans: You better keep showering Boogie with love. Because the moment he checks out and says to himself, “I cannot play for these jackasses anymore,” there’s no going back. (And we’re damned close.)

He's under contract through 2018.  They'll be fine.

Last Boogie note: Check out these names: Wilt, Kareem, Barkley, Pettit, Duncan and Elgin. That’s the complete list of players, along with Boogie, who averaged 23 and 12 with a 25-plus PER in their fourth and fifth NBA seasons combined. 

HOLY SHIT DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THIS MEANS????  It means that when a player is really good, like Cousins is, you can concoct a moderately complex set of criteria and show that only that player a few other all time greats have met all the criteria.  Very cool stuff. 

Boogie isn’t THAT good. 

Jesus, whose side are you on, here?  I thought we were all in the DEMARCUS (I hate people like Bill who over-embrace nicknames) fan club together.  He has a good chance of being every bit as good as Barkley, Kareem and Baylor.  The other three, maybe not so much.  But still.

But he’s really, really good. And he’s saddled with Vivek and the Bumbling Vivikettes. 

Forced.  Just stick with Jackass Central.

We’re well past the point of using New Owner Syndrome as a viable excuse. Too much has happened. We wasted five years of Boogie’s career. Next year, we’re probably heading for a sixth. Might be time to get Liam Neeson involved.

"We" haven't wasted anything.  You're not the center of the universe, you cunt.  You're not in charge of basketball.  You're not in charge of anything other than a vastly overrated "sports" (ok, it's really like 25% sports, but who's counting?) content mill and a shitty TV show that ESPN airs at 4 AM.  Just stay in your lane and come up with funny nicknames for dysfunctional franchises.  Christ.

More next week.