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Jason Rosenthal is my new hero

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:04 pm
by Thunder
Deconstructing Bill Simmons

February 26, 2007

By Jason Rosenthal

In his latest column, cleverly titled, “Welcome to the No Balls Association,” Bill Simmons, AKA “The Sports Guy,” takes the opportunity to lambaste virtually every NBA GM for not doing more to shake up their team’s roster before last week’s NBA trade deadline.

Skimming through most of the article, it appears Simmons has spent far too much time playing with RealGM’s Trade Checker. For full disclosure, I couldn’t read the entire column because I consider reading about fantasy trades a waste of time. To sum up my thoughts on the column: it's a lot easier said then done.

But the problem is that your casual Wizards fan will read this on the Worldwide Leader’s web site, and give Simmons’ column far too much credence. The casual fan might even think it’s on the mark. Or even close. Because I don't have the time to point all the mistakes, inconsistencies, and generally misguided thoughts throughout the column, I'll concentrate on what he said about the Wizards. In truth, Simmons’ take on the Wizards isn’t just wrong. In Simmons’ parlance, it’s a train wreck. Let’s first look at what Simmons said:

WASHINGTON: F-plus The Wizards have an MVP candidate and a likable team in a crappy conference, but with a catch: their two centers (Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood) despise one another and fought three times in the past two seasons. Most teams would proactively try to move one of them -- for instance, they could have offered Haywood, Jarvis Hayes' expiring deal and their No. 1 for Jamaal Magliore and Portland's No. 2 -- but since this is the NBA, and nothing makes sense, the Wiz chose to stand pat. I asked my buddy House (a Wizards fan) about this and we had the following exchange:

House: "They like Thomas and Haywood together because they play 42 minutes a game combined and give them a 12-11 every night. ... They didn't want to mess that up."

Me: "Wait, they were worried that their production would drop from a position that was giving them a 12-11 every night?"

House (after a pause): "Whaddya want from me? I didn't say it made sense."

First of all, the Wiz aren’t trading Haywood for cap space (Magloire). We wouldn’t expect the mainstream media to pay attention, but Haywood has a huge impact on the game when he's on the court for the Wizards. Yes, that's right. Haywood has a positive effect when Eddie Jordan chooses to keep him on the court.

The Wizards are one of the worst defensive teams in the Association. But they are more than 7 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Haywood is on the floor. (Note: It’s best to use "per possession" stats to compare offenses and defenses because per game stats are affected by "pace" — different teams play at different speeds.). Last season, they were 4.1 points per 100 possessions better; in 2004-05, 9.9 points better; in 2003-04, 5.1 points better. In comparison, the Wizards are just 0.5 points per possession better defensively when Thomas is on the floor. Last season, they were 0.9; in 2004-05, they were 4.5 points WORSE; and in 2003-04, they were 1.6 points worse. It’s stomach-turning to keep reading the media's conventional wisdom that Etan and Haywood are interchangeable. For five consecutive years, Haywood has been a much more effective player.

Haywood is by far the team’s best defender and underrated by almost everyone, especially the mainstream media folk who strictly look at per game averages to make up their minds. Eddie Jordan goes small a lot, and often times, it’s to the detriment of the team.

And what does Simmons expect from conventional statistics out of his centers when there are three guys dominating the shots? Did he bother looking around the league to see what other centers are doing? Do I need to mention the likes of Bill Cartwright and Bill Wennington? Where does it say you need a center, or a center-combo, to put up huge statistical numbers to have a successful team? Sure, the Wizards aren’t fortunate enough to have a Yao Ming or a Dwight Howard on their team, but how many teams can say that they do?

Secondly, the Haywood/Etan feud has been, predictably, blown out of proportion by the media as elucidated by Boswell’s Centers of Dissension article a couple weeks ago.

The Wizards’ season could get derailed for any number of reasons, but it won’t be because the two centers hate each other. If anything, it will fuel them to improve their game. I must have missed the memo that if teammates don’t like each, then they MUST be traded. Good — even great — teams never have internal feuds, do they? The '86 Celtics sang kumbaya after every game, right Simmons?

Boswell and Simmons are dead wrong in asserting that until the Haywood and Etan feud ends “little good can happen.” Oh really? Haywood and Thomas fought just before the season started and since then they’ve sat atop the Eastern Conference standings, led their division much of the season, and sent two players and their coach to the All-Star game.

Fighting in practice generally isn't a good thing. But is it a bad thing? Properly channeled, Haywood and Thomas disliking each other is a good thing. It provides a never ending supply of motivation, which should translate to better things on the court. Their spat will have ZERO impact on the Wizards win/loss record because the Wizards locker room isn’t divided by it — they’re amused. But, fights and made up locker room intrigue make for good copy, even if that copy doesn’t make sense.

Thirdly, the Wiz probably would have traded Etan and Hayes for Magloire's expiring deal and a high second, simply to rid themselves of Etan’s contract and free cap flexibility to resign Andray Blatche and DeShawn Stevenson. But that deal probably wasn’t on the table.

Fourthly, what about Jamaal Magloire (note: Simmons spells his name wrong, nice editing ESPN), the guy Simmons wants the Wizards to trade for? He’s a shell of his former All-Star self, averaging 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. His teams have been trying to get rid of him for the past 3 seasons. He’s a plodder that would be a bad fit for any team that likes to get up and down the court. You know, a team like the Wizards.

Finally, House is a moron.

So, in summary, Simmons wanted the Wizards to trade their best center and best defensive player, who's signed cheaply for the next 3 seasons, AND throw in a 1st round pick in a deep draft, for an overrated aging plodder, who’s gotten progressively worse in each of the past 4 seasons, and who would be an awful fit for the fast-paced Wizards.

Yup, makes perfect sense to me.

“I am more convinced than ever that I would be one of the top-seven best GMs in the league. No, seriously,” Simmons writes.

Don’t quit your day job, Billy Boy.

This has nothing to do with Warriors basketball but knowing how many other Bill Simmons bashers are on the board I thought I might pass this along. Finally someone in the media is putting this clown in his place. I wish other writers would point out how poor of a "journalist" Simmons is. If you don't watch the games, don't open your mouth. Certain sports can be dissected by statistics (read: baseball) but basketball is not one. ESPN continues to lose credibility by having this D-bag on the payroll.

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:24 pm
by 32

Now if only we could add Tim Kawakami, John Hollinger, and Chad Ford to that article... :wink:

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:01 pm
by tHe_pEsTiLeNcE
I hate bill simmons, but that guy who wrote the article is an imbecile and made very bad points which I will deconstruct later when I have time

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:03 pm
by 32
tHe_pEsTiLeNcE wrote:I hate bill simmons, but that guy who wrote the article is an imbecile and made very bad points which I will deconstruct later when I have time

I agree. Not a very logical guy at all... but at least he slammed The Sports Moron.

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:20 am
by TMC
Hey, I like Simmons. I don't really agree with him most of the time, but it's usually a fun read, as opposed to many others journalist.

The focus of articles shouldn't always be on being informative... having fun while reading is also important.

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:52 am
by 32
Is it fun because it's so absurd...? :wink:

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:15 am
by TMC
32 wrote:Is it fun because it's so absurd...? :wink:

Yeah, at times... :wink:

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:28 pm
by coltraning
For me, the best and worst bball writers are both on espn: Marc Stein is excellent and thoughtful and has good info and a wry sense of humor. Hollinger is a f**king cancer. He is the poster boy for lies, damned lies and statistic. His latest atrocity is insisting that the Spurs are ahead of the Mavs in the power rankings...a complete drag infatuated by #s...

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:32 am
by Thunder
To be fair Colt, the Mavs did just drop a game on the 25th.

It's still January right?

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:33 pm
by coltraning
Thunder wrote:To be fair Colt, the Mavs did just drop a game on the 25th.

It's still January right?

:mrgreen: January, 2005 to precise

btw, here's an amazing stat: The Mavs are 44-5 since their 0-4 start and on a pace to win 69 or 70 games...A Mavs/Suns final will be something to behold, and yes, I deliberately called it the finals.

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:09 pm
by 32
The Mavericks and Suns would definately put on the best show in the Finals.

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:29 am
by migya
coltraning wrote:
Thunder wrote:To be fair Colt, the Mavs did just drop a game on the 25th.

It's still January right?

:mrgreen: January, 2005 to precise

btw, here's an amazing stat: The Mavs are 44-5 since their 0-4 start and on a pace to win 69 or 70 games...A Mavs/Suns final will be something to behold, and yes, I deliberately called it the finals.

Pretty incredible they started 0-4. They have ben amazing since and it would be great to see them win 70 but that is unlikely nut you never know with them

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:44 am
by 32
I doubt they'll hit 70.

And even if they do, I don't think it'll be nearly as impressive as when Michael and the Bulls did it. The league is not as competitive as it once was.

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:55 pm
by xbay
Yeah, I think they'll hit the high 60's though. But they are in a great position to win it all. Every team in the history of the NBA that won more than 80% of their games in a season along with going undefeated in one month of the NBA season go on and win the NBA Finals that season. Nowitzki is on fire right now. And Avery is doing very, very well.

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:05 pm
by JayPat
I predict the Suns go to the Finals.