37. Rudy Gobert...
“Winner Of The Best NBA Nickname Of The Decade.” Ladies and gentlemen, please, give a round of applause to the Stifle Tower, Mr. Rudy Gobert!
Notice how there was no voting or even more informal selection process...he won the award because Bill is judge, jury and executioner.
You know what’s really funny? In November, Carmelo did that now-infamous ESPN The Magazine cover story that pushed his “brand,” his fancy Brooklyn office and his I want to be remembered for more than just basketball nonsense. He painted himself as something of a businessman, which was funny for about 30 different reasons, but mainly this one: If Carmelo WERE a businessman, he would have realized that it was terrible business decision to stay with James Dolan and the Knicks.
A terrible business decision? That netted him like $30 million more in guaranteed salary than he could have gotten anywhere else and allowed him to moonlight as the front man of a tech-focused venture capital in the hub of global finance? And gave him the exposure of playing in a the country's biggest market, without which he's probably not on the cover of ESPN Magazine? Do you even know what business is?
33. Chris Bosh
Future Hall of Famer, two-time champ, 10-time All-Star, career 19-and-9 guy,
Wow, those are impressive. I can't imagine how impressive the rest of the accomplishments in this bloated run-on sentence will be.
beloved interview (his B.S. Report appearance was exceptional),
the accomplished bassist from one of the best NBA “bands” of the past 30 years (that 27-game winning streak is aging nicely),
Horrible metaphor, and no one really gives a shit about their win streak in light of their two titles.
and for a little less than 24 hours last week, an NBA savant for spurning Houston to stay in Miami last summer (thanks to the unexpected Dragic trade).
Houston with Bosh >>> Heat with Dragic
32. Dwight Howard
Ever notice the lag between a celebrity losing their superstardom and everyone else finally realizing it?
A celebrity's superstardom is by very definition dependent on people's perception, so this lag is theoretically impossible.
With Will Smith, I didn’t realize we were on an extended hiatus until a Focus billboard made me think, Hmmmmm, I kinda want to see that. That’s when I realized that I haven’t seen a Will Smith movie in a theater since Hancock.
Your weekly dose of I am the Cosmos. You are not a celebrity unless William J Simmons sees your movie and only IN THEATERS.
Meanwhile, the one quality that made Derrick Rose special (his freakociousness, as covered in Part 1) went dormant in April 2012 and never came back. Many fans didn’t want to admit it. He’s only 26. He’s still rusty. He needs more reps. He needs to regain his confidence. We made excuses for him. At least until last night’s sobering news.
"WE"? I personally thought Rose would never be the same guy from 2011 again, and thought he was likely to get hurt again. Many, if not most, other fans of basketball also thought that. But does that help Bill drive his inane narrative? THEN IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.
And then there’s Dwight. He’s never been the same since his 2012 back surgery, save for six throwback playoff games against Portland last spring.
You know that article on your very website this very week, that showed Dwight Howard is still such a dominant defensive presence that players don't even attempt to get to the rim when he's on the floor? You should read that.
And there’s been undeniable statistical deterioration.
Because he's playing on a better team with a ball-dominant guard who's the #1 option on offense, whereas the Magic offense was built around him entirely? Or because the basketball gods are punishing him for his arrogant team-switching ways?
31. Gregg Popovich
What an asshole. I mean really.
Butler belatedly blossomed into a two-way force, earned himself a market max contract this summer (I made up this concept in Part 1 of the Trade Value column).
You made up the idea that the value of goods and services are determined by what price they fetch in a competitive marketplace? Did you travel back in time four hundred years when we weren't looking?
The good news for Drummond: Along with Moses and Shaq, he’s one of only three 21-or-under centers who averaged 12 points and 13 boards per game … and he’s about to do it twice. Moses and Shaq!
Not that Drummond isn't a beast, but I'm pretty sure that Shaq and Moses averaged a lot more than 12 points in those seasons, making this comparison a bit misleading.
The Trade Value gimmick’s most glaring flaw
That it's written by a self-absorbed moron with petty biases, who compromises every logical point he hopes to make with asinine narratives and huge overreactions?
that uncomfortable section when we veer into the Stars Who Are Definitely Retiring With Their Original Teams group.
Fair enough, that must be difficult
it would be insane for Detroit to trade Drummond for Duncan, and even more insane for San Antonio to demolish the Duncan era’s homestretch by exiling him to Detroit
Yeah, but there are any number of teams closer to contending for a title that would love to have Duncan. And if Duncan weren't still so good, there would be any number of players that the Spurs would trade him for. Don't abandon the premise of your column just because you have to do actual thinking.
The lesson, as always: Spend a little extra time enjoying this 2015 Spurs run.
YOU BETTER APPRECIATE THE SPURS EXTRA HARD THIS YEAR BECAUSE IT'S ALL OVER AFTER THIS, said every sports columnist every year since 2009.
25. Dwyane Wade
He’s the fourth-best shooting guard of all time.
Okay, but what does that have to do with his trade value?
He competed in five Finals, won three rings, averaged a 24-6-5, played for one of the 21st century’s two best NBA teams, and won himself a Finals MVP — a résumé that, through 12 years, looks just as good as Kobe’s first 12 years (it’s true). He lives in beautiful Miami and earns $15 million per year on top of the $120 million he already made.
Okay, but what does that have to do with his trade value?
He’s never getting traded.
It's not like his team is run by someone who's legendary for his lack of loyalty.
1. Has Hakeem’s undisputed three-decade reign as the “Best Foreign NBA Player Ever” finally come to an end? Did Dirk steal the crown from him? (I’m not ready to answer this yet. Need more time. It’s too important.)
No, not even close.
When is this ending?...could he finish the 2010s in Dallas? Could he break the Stockton/Kobe record for most NBA seasons with one team?
Is this a 30 for 30 promo? Will you keep asking meaningless open-ended questions?
And what about George changing his number and going through with my PG-13 idea from two years ago? PG-13!!!!
That joke just keeps on getting funnier. I'd stick with it if I were you.
I love Wiggins. He’s a sure thing.
That sounds reasonable. So guess who's right above him on the list
21. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Oh fuuuuuuuuuck you. Fuck you. Seriously fuck your face in half.
Seeing the Greek Freak in person is like seeing Young Scottie Pippen crossed with Young Kevin Durant crossed with an octopus.
Comparing someone with Giannis' shooting abilities to Kevin Durant? What the flying fuck machine is wrong with you?
There’s a 20 percent chance he becomes Darius Miles 2.0 (freak talent, no position, never puts it together), a 30 percent chance he becomes a genuinely valuable two-way talent, and a 50 percent chance he makes a Westbrookian leap within the next three years.
So a guy with a 20% chance of being a bust and only a 50% chance of being a star by your own goddamn admission is more valuable than "a sure thing". Awesome. So glad you thought this through and took the time to write it.
Abrams wrote a Conley feature that included this killer quote: “I have a clock in my head for Zach. For Marc. For Courtney [Lee]. For anybody on the court. There’s guys that don’t need to play with the ball. Tony Allen doesn’t need to have the ball to be effective. I say, ‘Zach needs to get the ball. He’s working very hard on the defensive end and on the offensive end.’...THAT’S WHAT I WANT FROM MY POINT GUARD. Right there. That’s how Magic thought. That’s how Isiah and Stockton thought.
That's how 95% of point guards think, except for the rare talents who are so good at scoring that they're allowed some leeway.
Then again, Kyrie Irving doesn’t think that way. Neither does Russell Westbrook.
OKay, see how this works now?
19. Serge Ibaka
Who cares about Serge’s Trade Value ranking?
Umm, people reading this column? People writing this column?
Who cares that he’s inexplicably turning himself into an outside shooter and not spending nearly enough time in the paint?
It was obviously Ibaka who decided to change his game unilaterally and had no input from the coaching staff. And why shouldn't he be spending more time in the paint, where he can't score from the post and can helpfully block driving lanes for Westbrook and Durant?
Who cares that his numbers leveled off until the All-Star Break, after which we witnessed a full-fledged Renibakassance and went back to doing Ibaka things? Who cares that Serge might become this summer’s panic trade fall guy if OKC misses the playoffs or gets bounced in Round 1?
OK, so what's the redemption factor that counteracts all his flaws?
Serge Ibaka is the star of Grantland’s first feature documentary film, Son of the Congo, premiering at South by Southwest next month.
Serge Ibaka: True Movie Star!!! Watch your back Ryan Reynolds! Bill Simmons should be run over by a herd of stampeding buffaloes.
Six sarcastic retorts if/when a buddy says to you, “I just don’t know if Kawhi is a max guy. He’s putting up only 15 and 7 every night and he hasn’t been healthy all season … I think he might take a discount to stay.”
1. “Yeah, it’s not like the league is drifting toward über-athletic forwards who can make 3s, defend both forward spots and thrive in small ball AND big ball.”
OKay, that's true, but it still doesn't prove that Leonard is a max player.
2. “Great point, David Kahn.”
Oh ho ho, burn. Considering Kahn has zero to do with Kawhi, that's basically saying "You're stupid for disagreeing with me." Good comeback.
3. “You’re right, half the league’s teams have enough cap space to offer him a max contract this summer — there’s no way someone will bite.”
True, but wouldn't you still have to provide an argument that some team might hypothetically consider him max-worthy? I think there's an argument for that, but let's see it.
4. “No way he can put up better stats — NBA players always peak statistically at 23 when they’re the fourth option on a contender.”
If he goes from 15-7 on a contender to 19-8 on a shitty team, then he's obviously worth 17 million per year. IDIOT.
5. “Yeah, he’ll take a discount to stay — he’s made less than $8 million playing basketball these last four years. He’s definitely ready to leave gobs of money on the table.”
GOBS. I'm guessing he'd leave for a substantial raise, like $5 million+ more per year, but who knows? The idea that he'd take a discount isn't so crazy, these are the Spurs after all.
6. “Hold on, I’m gonna make a list of everyone who can successfully defend LeBron or Durant in a seven-game series. Kawhi Leonard, and … oh, wait, we’re done.”
The master of ambiguous categories strikes again! If the list is "everyone who can shut down LeBron or Durant in the playoffs" it's empty, but if it's "everyone who can bother them" or "everyone who can make them work for their points", then there are a ton of people on that list.
Also, I'd like to point out that Tayshaun Prince "successfully defended" Kobe Bryant in the Finals, put up worse but not terribly worse numbers as Kawhi, and no one ever considered him a max player.
17. Al Horford
Do we spend enough time talking about how blatantly Atlanta ripped off the Spurs?
Who ripped off the Suns' offensive system by Poppovich's own admission? Of course not, because Pop is a genius and D'Antoni sucks lololololololol.
Or DeMarre Carroll doing his damnedest to play like Kawhi?
They both have braided hairstyles, isn't that something?
Or Kyle Korver somehow resembling every Spurs shooter in heat-check mode?
A guy who makes shots is like another guy who makes shots. This is some really deep insight here.
You know how every woman feared Sharon Stone, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson and now Jennifer Lawrence in the “I Cannot Leave My Husband Alone With This Woman For Five Minutes” sense? Only two American sports franchises have Scarlett/J-Law status with their competitors right now: Belichick’s Pats and Popovich’s Spurs.
Jesus, Simmons has mentioned in every single fucking column since 2010 about Dallas, Houston, Miami and Orlando being destination franchises because of the weather and no state income tax, in addition to the oft-mentioned NY, LA and Chicago. Since then those cities have combined to sign LeBron, Bosh, Amare, Carlos Boozer, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, not to mention Melo/CP3/Deron forcing their way there via trade demands, while San Antonio has signed who...Marco Belinelli? Did he take five fucking seconds to think this through?
11. Klay Thompson
If the Warriors make the 2015 Finals, they’ll also crack the “Smartest Non-Trades of the Past 40 Years” list.
Did you over-the-top criticize them for not making the Thompson for Love trade? Of course you did.
Fall 2007: On The Grantland Basketball Hour last Sunday, I asked Kobe Bryant if it was true that he vetoed a trade to Detroit for Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and picks. He said yes.
Way to confirm a story that broke 8 years ago. Journalism ftw.
Second, they thought Klay could develop into an elite 2-guard — doubly important since it’s such a hit-or-miss position.
Shooting guards: More hit-or-miss than other positions in basketball! I totally thought this and wrote this before I decided to throw it into this random-ass point!