Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bill Simmons: Your Time Has Passed

That's it. I've had it. I'm officially, for the last time, fed up with Bill Simmons and his sycophantic ramblings that ESPN inexplicably pays him for. I cannot possibly fathom why ESPN would want to pay a columnist that has such a slanted worldview. One must wonder if Simmons is channeling Mike Myers' character in All Things Scottish from SNL and walks around muttering "If it's not Boston, it's crap!" over and over to himself.

The sad thing is that, once upon a time, Simmons was actually funny. Sure, he professed his love for all things Boston, but with me and most every other person I know that read his column, it was endearing. Then, Boston sports got good again. The Patriots. The Red Sox. And now the Celtics. The result? An insufferable human being that is completely incapable in writing anything objective whatsoever about any team that his team is playing. Witness this nugget from his latest musings:

We were sitting behind the Lakers bench for Game 5, so please believe me on this one: In the fourth quarter, with the Celtics shooting on L.A.'s basket, Ronnie [sic] Turiaf was throwing a towel up in the air every time a Celtic was about to release a free throw. Talk about dirty pool. Isn't that a technical?
Uh, excuse me? How about Sam Cassell, in all his warmups glory on the bench, slapping his hands together mere centimeters from Derek Fisher's head as he shot a jumper in Game Four? (I'm pretty sure it was Fisher shooting; it might have been Vujacic.) I think that would qualify as "dirty pool," don't you, Billy? Did you miss that one, Bill? Or are you just a blind idiot that sees what you want to see?

Simmons' protestations that he's "Kobe'd out" are ridiculous. Kobe'd out? How about Celtic'd out? All ESPN has done since Boston got K.G. and Ray Allen is unceremoniously shove the Celtics down every basketball fan's throat. It's Boston this, Boston that, Boston everything. It's one thing for, say, a WTBS to promote the Atlanta Braves; they are a regional station, and back in the day they shoved the Braves down the Southeast's throat because the Braves were the closest MLB team by far. I get that. But ESPN's love for the Celtics is ridiculously overdone.

Also overdone? The hoopla surrounding Pierce's "injured" knee. Right. Sorry, Billie, but Pierce playing on a tweaked knee does not invoke images of Michael Jordan doing anything other than walking to his car. Pierce hasn't done anything in this series or any other to warrant such a comparison, and your homeriffic nature is the only reason you would write such a thing. By the way, you do realize that Kobe is playing with a torn ligament in a finger in his shooting hand, right? Funny how no one mentions that. At all. Pierce goes down like a drunken schoolmarm or Tiger Woods grimaces on the second tee and those guys are "warriors" or "courageous"; Kobe plays with a fucked up finger on his shooting hand and nobody talks about it. Yeah, I'd be Kobe'd out, too. (Also, maybe you can explain why Pierce does his best whiplash imitation any time any player from an opposing team breathes on him. You'd think they were pistol-whipping him or whacking him in the back with a tire iron the way he flails about.)

Here's another completely unbiased take from Simmons:

If someone's a little bigger than him, stays between him and the basket and has the reach to contest his jumper, and if that person is flanked by smart defenders who remain aware of what Kobe is doing at all times, it sure seems Kobe has trouble getting the shots he likes. Not to belabor the point because it's a moot discussion at this point, but MJ didn't have a "kryptonite" flaw. He just didn't. Of everyone from the '90s, John Starks probably defended him the best ... and it's not like Starks was shutting him down or anything. He just made MJ work a little harder for the points he was getting anyway. The point is, Jordan did whatever he wanted during a much more physical era, and when he faced great defensive teams -- like the '89 and '90 Pistons or the '93 Knicks -- nobody ever shackled him or knocked him into a scoring funk. Kobe? He looks a little lost offensively against the Celtics.
First, yes, if someone is longer than Kobe and keeps Kobe in front of him AND "is flanked by smart defenders who remain aware of what Kobe is doing at all times," Kobe MIGHT have trouble scoring. Essentially, Bill, you just described a defense whereby all five defenders guard one guy.

Well no wonder he's having "trouble" scoring. What a classic gem, Simmons! You are truly a basketball genius. By the way, Kobe is struggling to score 26.2 points per game this series.

Second, you point out that Jordan had no "kryptonite flaw." I'm sure that it must have been really nice to play in an era that allowed no zone defenses whatsoever. Sure, hand checking was allowed, but big deal--a player like MJ or Kobe can handle that easily. It's completely different going up against off-the-ball defenders who are playing what would've been "illegal defense" in the '90s. Your crack analysis where you mention that all five Boston defenders pay attention to Kobe? Well, they couldn't clog the lane the way they've done all series if these Finals were being played ten years ago. Just a thought, Bill.

One final point: Simmons blames the Celtics losing game five on fatigue. He mentions that they've played 107 games this year plus preseason plus a side-trip to Italy (the horrors that trip must've done to their bodies is frightening, for sure). You see, that's another thing Simmons does: he glorifies his guys and then makes excuses in case they fail, so he can "I told you so!!!" your face off. Frankly, who cares how many games they have played? They're not old men. They are very rich, well-paid athletes whose job is to play basketball. Being tired is a cop-out and everybody knows it. Using Bill's rationale, his prolific output during the Finals must mean that since he's cranking out columns almost daily, he must be tired, and as such, his columns must suffer as a result.

At any rate, I'm done with Bill Simmons. I'm not going to be able to take any more, especially after Boston closes this thing out tonight.

ESPN: Sports Guy's Boston Guy's World


ncsumatman said...

Just waiting for you to post something on the finals. You know that Kobe steal at the end of Game 5 that led to his dunk. I've seen that replay tons of times, and I continue to miss the point of the play where Kobe actually touches the ball. NBA refs suck.

Anonymous said...

Kobe is the biggest reason the Lakers are losing. Everyone expected him to dominate and he hasn't come close he's shooting like 42% and in their losses mostly way below 40%, he's done nothing but settle for jumpers. I can't believe Paul Pierce is outplaying him.