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The Bill Simmons Thing

Well, it's linked on a FanPost by Citizen surfertony, and it's been referenced on a couple of comment threads.  And then I got an email about it from the Hornets blogger from At the Hive a litte while ago.  I read the article and responded to the email, and then I realized... hey, this is... what do you call it?  Content! 

To recap - In Bill Simmons' latest Page 2, he goes through 10 NBA items.  The last item (scroll way down, he's almost as verbose as me) has the following title:  In the post-Isiah era, is Mike Dunleavy the single most destructive coach/executive in the NBA right now?  I think you all see where this is going, but in case anyone is confused, he ends his rant as follows:

My point is this: Somehow, someway, in one of the most inexplicable turn of events that's ever happened in this league, Mike Dunleavy is the only person currently coaching an NBA team and handling personnel decisions at the same time. Mike Dunleavy! How does this happen? My head hurts.

Here's what At the Hive asked me about it:

Wondering if you saw Bill Simmons' article trashing Mike Dunleavy? Seemed pretty harsh and unfair to me, but I haven't really watched the Clips much. Is he way off base?

Here's my response:

What can I say?  It's Bill Simmons.  There's a bit of hyperbole involved, you know?

There's also some blatant untruths.  "Forget that he blew the only asset he had after Elton Brand screwed over the team -- cap space -- by acquiring 34-year-old Marcus Camby."  This presumes that he could have used that cap space on something else.  What, praytell?  Josh Smith?  Emeka Okafor?  Luol Deng?  Not only would their teams likely have matched, I'm not actually convinced any of those guys are better than Camby.  And Camby only for two years, when once again the Clippers get cap space.  So to complain about wasting cap space in a move that isn't bad and preserves future cap space is... let's say disingenuous.

So he trots out the 'Baron Davis doesn't fit the system' argument and the 'Zach Randolph creates a logjam in the front court.'  OK.  Fine.  But again, what were the alternatives?  "Let me get this straight... instead of getting paid $17M in Oakland next year, you're willing to come to LA and be the best point guard in the history of the franchise for $11M?"  Was he supposed to say 'No" based on "artistic differences"?

Anyway, the team is in a bad way right now, and he owns season tickets for the sole purpose, as he admits, of watching the opposition.  He's allowed to pile on.  And MDsr has to take some responsibility at some point, right?  I mean, he's the coach and GM of a team with $37M worth of bigs and 2 wins. 

And that play against the Spurs was indeed a train wreck, which I pointed out myself.

But it's a cheap shot.


The point is, anyone can very easily pick out a handful of really bad decisions and rant about them.  About anything.  And if you're a relatively clever guy, which I think Simmons is, you can do it in a relatively clever way.  But can we please stop trotting out the 'Daniel Ewing' thing?  (That goes for all of you Citizens as well.)  It was 32 months ago.  Get over it.  And for him to lament the treatment of Elgin Baylor, when he regularly lambasted the guy as a horrible GM is more than a little hypocritical. 

So, his argument boils down to -

  • Acquiring Baron Davis was a bad idea - debatable, and probably wrong.  He's a great point guard and he took a pay cut to come here.
  • Acquiring Marcus Camby was a bad idea - debatable, and almost certainly wrong.  It only cost the team cap space, and they had no other good options for using it.
  • Acquiring Zach Randolph was a bad idea - debatable, possibly correct, but we don't really have any way of knowing right now.  It only cost the team two guys that didn't figure into their future plans and (this part hurts) 2010 cap space.  So it's a risk, and there's no data right now on whether it will pay off.
  • They played bad defense against the Spurs on the last play and then ran a bad play themselves - true.  However, I'm not sure how a player's defensive mistake can be blamed on bad coaching.  In the post game press conference MDsr said Ricky and Marcus didn't play it the way he told them to.  These things happen.  As for the Clippers' final play, that was a train wreck. I won't debate that.

So for me, his argument boils down to one poorly designed play.  I hardly think that in and of itself qualifies MDsr as "the single most destructive coach/executive in the NBA right now."  But what can I say?  It's Simmons.