The Bill Simmons Thread

joe dokes

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Jon Casey had the technicolor 5 hole.

I still have an autographed mini stick signed by John Blue though. So there's that.

Carry on.
Damn. You're right. I see how I was led astray: Blue....technicolor....mediocre.....
 

Blacken

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Every media company (as opposed to media personalities/"influencers") is a tech company today whether they want to be or not. You have to be. It's how you get to people's eyes and ears. The analogy that comes to mind is how Wal-Mart has one of the best, most forward-looking tech shops in the country--it's what you do, everything else comes from that core.

The Ringer's decision to partner with Medium, which is a failing tech company, was always weird to me. Vox makes a hell of a lot more sense.
 

the1andonly3003

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And it is worth mentioning that ESPN's website did everything to drive traffic away from its website. ESPN was literally one of my first bookmarks in the late 90s. I was visiting the site daily but it wore me down with a terrible interface and an extremely difficult site to surf. I haven't been to the site in years. And if you don't count Grantland, it's been almost a decade.

To lose a customer who is in the habit of using your service is hard to do. ESPN found a way, though.
to be fair, not a lot of well laid out sports websites out there any more. ESPN.com used to be good, SI sucked and now is copying neu-ESPN.com. NBCSports.com is meh. CBS Sportsline meh. TSN? Local sports websites?

Right. It sucks. They could have had an espn network set up that had espn classic, everything they offer as well as their live offerings for $9.99 a month
as a sports fan, I would pay for a sports only bundle: ESPN, NBCSN, CBSSN, NFLN, MLBN any channel that is carrying sports. unfortunately, scripted has drifted past me

Every media company (as opposed to media personalities/"influencers") is a tech company today whether they want to be or not. You have to be. It's how you get to people's eyes and ears. The analogy that comes to mind is how Wal-Mart has one of the best, most forward-looking tech shops in the country--it's what you do, everything else comes from that core.

The Ringer's decision to partner with Medium, which is a failing tech company, was always weird to me. Vox makes a hell of a lot more sense.
in the interview with Julia Boorstin, BS said they wanted to build their own. they just don't have the capital to invest in it now. I'm sure it's cheaper to try out what the new media companies are trying to do and his own team can learn from them
 

Blacken

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Vox is actually good at it, is what I'm saying. It's a better fit.
 

ifmanis5

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Bill was at a tech conference and said some silly things: http://deadspin.com/bill-simmons-says-espns-biggest-mistake-was-not-having-1795732523
I think they should have invested in a Silicon Valley office, I think that was their biggest mistake.
Not sure how this helps them then or now or how that's their biggest mistake.

Also, his Finals predictions were laughably bad. His main thesis was that this Cavs teams knows deep down that they beat this Warriors team in the Finals last year in their building. That Warriors team is not this current team. They added Kevin Durant. Feel free to throw that feeling completely out.
 

Kliq

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Bill was at a tech conference and said some silly things: http://deadspin.com/bill-simmons-says-espns-biggest-mistake-was-not-having-1795732523

Not sure how this helps them then or now or how that's their biggest mistake.

Also, his Finals predictions were laughably bad. His main thesis was that this Cavs teams knows deep down that they beat this Warriors team in the Finals last year in their building. That Warriors team is not this current team. They added Kevin Durant. Feel free to throw that feeling completely out.
I like Bill as much as anyone but he has been saying a lot of dumb stuff lately. His take Monday was that Kyrie gets so hot that NOBODY makes threes like he does when he is hot, not even Steph Curry. It's the kind of dumb SAS take that he would normally make fun of.
 

coremiller

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I like Bill as much as anyone but he has been saying a lot of dumb stuff lately. His take Monday was that Kyrie gets so hot that NOBODY makes threes like he does when he is hot, not even Steph Curry. It's the kind of dumb SAS take that he would normally make fun of.
I also enjoyed his "the Cavs can win because Kyrie thinks he's better than Curry" take. Good for Kryie that he has confidence, I guess, but one problem for the Cavs is that Kyrie is not actually better than Curry, no matter what Kyrie thinks.
 

ifmanis5

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I also enjoyed his "the Cavs can win because Kyrie thinks he's better than Curry" take. Good for Kryie that he has confidence, I guess, but one problem for the Cavs is that Kyrie is not actually better than Curry, no matter what Kyrie thinks.
Agreed. There are plenty of players who think they're better than they are or that they're better than some other star or rival, but it doesn't make it so. How do we know Kyrie actually thinks this? Body language? I haven't seen any quotes to back this up. I'm sure he wants to prove his worth but most star players feel this way.* Bill needs Zach to hold him in check on things like this.

*I'm sure Harden feels he's better than Westbrook or that Ewing thought he was better than Hakeem, etc. but I don't think that's going to predict an outcome.
 

joe dokes

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I also enjoyed his "the Cavs can win because Kyrie thinks he's better than Curry" take. Good for Kryie that he has confidence, I guess, but one problem for the Cavs is that Kyrie is not actually better than Curry, no matter what Kyrie thinks.
But what if Curry thinks that he's better than Irving? Does that mean GS wins?
 

Kliq

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FWIW I could understand why Kyrie would think he is better than Curry because he was actually better than Curry last year. The issue of course is that GS is a much different team than they were last year and GS can win games when Curry is being outplayed by Irving this year.

So many people, not just Simmons but other media members as well as people on this board talked about how Cleveland could win the series and the main basis for that was that they beat GS last year. This GS team is so different than last year; not just with Durant but also they are way more rested after cruising to the finals this year. GS is much, much better than they were last year, and CLE barely beat GS last year. It is such a lazy take.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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What this quote is referring to was the first time I started to think, "You know, maybe Bill Simmons isn't the deep sports thinker that I thought he was."

I felt like Mr. Burns when he found out that Homer Simpson wasn't the deft deal maker he made him out to be in the "So Long Dental Plan!" episode. BTW, I decided that Simmons wasn't the pop culture deep thinker is when he said he never saw a Simpsons episode because "It was a cartoon, and as a rule, cartoons aren't funny."
 

allstonite

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BTW, I decided that Simmons wasn't the pop culture deep thinker is when he said he never saw a Simpsons episode because "It was a cartoon, and as a rule, cartoons aren't funny."
Also Big Lebowski because everyone's seen it and likes it too much. Much like The Wire until he actually watched it and then wondered why others weren't.
 

JohntheBaptist

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BTW, I decided that Simmons wasn't the pop culture deep thinker is when he said he never saw a Simpsons episode because "It was a cartoon, and as a rule, cartoons aren't funny."
Wow reading it again you have to take a deep breath to get past the stupid.

Watching that complete mediocrity plug Silicon Valley buzzwords into a speech like he's Doug Rushkoff or something is fucking hilarious.
 

Leather

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Wow reading it again you have to take a deep breath to get past the stupid.

Watching that complete mediocrity plug Silicon Valley buzzwords into a speech like he's Doug Rushkoff or something is fucking hilarious.
Where are you reading this?
 

Van Everyman

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I actually watched the video of the interview today. And I take back a little of what I said with respect to techno babble. Simmons is generally pretty evenhanded and his criticisms of ESPN are more that Skipper was great at his job overseeing content and that when he moved into the business role no one really replaced what he brought to the content side of things.

He also said a few things I thought were smart: that ESPN is taking all this heat for broadcast rights thing but that those deals are the biggest assets they have and would do them a hundred times over if they could. And he mentioned that notwithstanding everyone dancing on their grave that he thinks ESPN will ultimately be fine – that while they might not be an $8B business any longer they will still be a $6B business and that's hardly Blockbuster on its last legs.

Zooming out a bit, I actually got the sense that Simmons may finally be getting past his anger toward the WWL. As much as he left guns blazing, I have to believe that he probably ate a bit of humble pie with Any Given Wednesday being canceled and the somewhat slow uptake with the Ringer (and now switch over to Vox). As he tries to find his footing, you can see why he might not be as judgmental toward the ESPN layoffs as some – there's just a ton of transition in media right now and no one is immune. And while he's obsessively focused on developing good content (the one area where he did sound like an industry schmo), it's not so clear where it will be living 5-7 years from now.

In some ways I wouldn't be surprised if he's actually been talking to folks at ESPN – there may be more of a mutual fit there some time in the future than you might think.
 

dirtynine

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What this quote is referring to was the first time I started to think, "You know, maybe Bill Simmons isn't the deep sports thinker that I thought he was."

I felt like Mr. Burns when he found out that Homer Simpson wasn't the deft deal maker he made him out to be in the "So Long Dental Plan!" episode.
Reminds me of my evolution on Perry Farrell. During my teenage years I always figured he was a super deep poet and I never really re-examined that. Then a few years ago I saw him on reality tv - Rock Wives (?) - and he seemed like a total airhead. I started re-reviewing lyrics and stuff like "Standing in the Shower Thinking" suddenly started to come across as pretty dopey.
 

Devizier

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For me, Simmons was pretty great when he was able to write about his experience as a fan. He had a muted gonzo journalism style that worked very well in pieces when he hit (Mr. Weebles, Roger Clemens is the Antichrist, etc.) and wasn't really practiced anywhere else at the time. That stuff from Simmons is ancient history. The pop culture stuff, more of a sidebar in his early work, took over and a lot of people responded. But the problem with hitching your wagon to pop culture is that you get old, and before you know it, your target audience is comprised of people who were born after Saved By the Bell was taken off the air.
 

Dotrat

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I still think he lost about 40-50% of what made him funny and interesting when he first went to ESPN and was no longer allowed to make fun of sports media.
 

Auger34

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I also enjoyed his "the Cavs can win because Kyrie thinks he's better than Curry" take. Good for Kryie that he has confidence, I guess, but one problem for the Cavs is that Kyrie is not actually better than Curry, no matter what Kyrie thinks.
He makes this stupid ass take about everyone. "I think that when John Wall gets on the court and looks at Chris Paul...he REALLY thinks he's better".
No shit Kyrie thinks he's better than Steph Curry. All the guys that are at the star level think they are the best player on the floor, you have to have that type of confidence to be that good. On a somewhat recent pod, House actually stopped him and said something along the lines of "That's not nearly as big of a deal as you think it is". Of course since then he's made the same point around 500 times so perhaps it didn't sink in
 

Auger34

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I still think he lost about 40-50% of what made him funny and interesting when he first went to ESPN and was no longer allowed to make fun of sports media.
He's also become the very thing he used to make fun of. As someone mentioned up thread, the more airtime he gives himself the more "hot takes" he makes. The type of things that he would destroy Stephen A for saying, he makes every time he appears on a podcast.
He also used to talk about how it was important to him to remain afar from the locker room/clubhouse because he wanted to remain objective and that he had witnessed other journalists shift their opinions on athletes due to how much they liked or disliked them. I think his takes on Kevin Durant (and numerous podcasts with him) show that he's definitely lost sight of that
 

cheech13

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Bill's NBA analysis got really good when he was working on Countdown and conversing with guys like Magic and Collins every day and even better when he had Zach Lowe at Grantland to temper his more outlandish statements. Unfortunately there's no one like that at the Ringer and his opinions have increasingly devolved into wacky trade ideas and body language analysis again.
 

Dotrat

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He's also become the very thing he used to make fun of. As someone mentioned up thread, the more airtime he gives himself the more "hot takes" he makes. The type of things that he would destroy Stephen A for saying, he makes every time he appears on a podcast.
He also used to talk about how it was important to him to remain afar from the locker room/clubhouse because he wanted to remain objective and that he had witnessed other journalists shift their opinions on athletes due to how much they liked or disliked them. I think his takes on Kevin Durant (and numerous podcasts with him) show that he's definitely lost sight of that
Absolutely. Between that, his devotion to goofball (at times idiotic) theories, and increasingly outdated pop-culture references, I find little desire to read him.
 

cromulence

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It was interesting...they each had some awkward moments. Bill asked some cringeworthy questions ("Have you talked to Westbrook?") and KD sometimes bristled at things that seemed innocuous. That said, they definitely get into some interesting basketball discussion. At one point, they start comparing Kyrie and Iverson, and KD says he thinks Kyrie is better - that's now a headline on ESPN.com.
 

the1andonly3003

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I actually watched the video of the interview today. And I take back a little of what I said with respect to techno babble. Simmons is generally pretty evenhanded and his criticisms of ESPN are more that Skipper was great at his job overseeing content and that when he moved into the business role no one really replaced what he brought to the content side of things.

He also said a few things I thought were smart: that ESPN is taking all this heat for broadcast rights thing but that those deals are the biggest assets they have and would do them a hundred times over if they could. And he mentioned that notwithstanding everyone dancing on their grave that he thinks ESPN will ultimately be fine – that while they might not be an $8B business any longer they will still be a $6B business and that's hardly Blockbuster on its last legs.

Zooming out a bit, I actually got the sense that Simmons may finally be getting past his anger toward the WWL. As much as he left guns blazing, I have to believe that he probably ate a bit of humble pie with Any Given Wednesday being canceled and the somewhat slow uptake with the Ringer (and now switch over to Vox). As he tries to find his footing, you can see why he might not be as judgmental toward the ESPN layoffs as some – there's just a ton of transition in media right now and no one is immune. And while he's obsessively focused on developing good content (the one area where he did sound like an industry schmo), it's not so clear where it will be living 5-7 years from now.

In some ways I wouldn't be surprised if he's actually been talking to folks at ESPN – there may be more of a mutual fit there some time in the future than you might think.
based on ESPN's shake up today (http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Morning-Buzz/2017/06/16/ESPN.aspx) John Skipper finally replaced himself

seems like Bill's enemies are also gone because of this shakeup
 

ifmanis5

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Anyone listen to the pod today w Durant? The first two he did with KD were tremendous.
It was good since Durant is really smart.
It lasted too long but there's one great moment where KD lists off all the typical media hot take criticisms of the Warriors during this year's Finals and one that he highlighted as false was the theory that the Cavs would have a mental edge because they won last year. Bill quickly denied this and stated that he watched the Cavs closely against the Celtics in the ECF and noticed that the Cavs gave up lots of open looks which the Warriors could exploit. Bill never mentioned that he had just spent an hour in his Finals preview podcast detailing how the Cavs would definitely have lots of confidence in this Finals since they won Game 7 on the road in last year's Finals (and that's the hardest thing you can do in sports!) and that Kyrie knows how good he is; better than Curry. Amazing Simmons moment of deflection.
 

nattysez

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Snark aside, the Will Ferrell podcast is fantastic.
This is super-judgmental and probably exposes me as an overprotective parent, but I continue to be amazed by the shit he allows his kids to watch. His 9 year-old is watching "Daddy's Home" and "Step Brothers?" Really?
 

MarkBT

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This is super-judgmental and probably exposes me as an overprotective parent, but I continue to be amazed by the shit he allows his kids to watch. His 9 year-old is watching "Daddy's Home" and "Step Brothers?" Really?
Movie choices aside, it sounds like Sporty Simmons is actually a great dad, but I too (not a father, btw) find myself 'judging' the choices he makes on movies. What's also weird, is the amount of times he seems to off-handedly mentions movies he 'allows' his kids watch... almost like he's proud or trying to sound cool?

At any rate, if/when I'm a father, I don't want to give my 9-yo a 'blessing' to watch R-rated comedies...if he wants to find them with his friends, so be it, but I don't want to endorse it. Now get off my lawn.
 

allstonite

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If the Celtics ever move on from Danny Ainge they could always replace him with Bill's dad who seems like he would be the best drafter ever (given years of hindsight).
 

blueline

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Listening to him complain about Danny successfully drafting good role players like Tony Allen late in the first round did not make great listening. Really the whole podcast fell apart once Kevin O'Connor left.
 

m0ckduck

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What was the reference to his Dad not reading ESPN about? At first, I assumed related to Bill's firing, but as they innuendo-ed further, I got the sense it was about something more topical/recent.
 

MarkBT

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Listening to him complain about Danny successfully drafting good role players like Tony Allen late in the first round did not make great listening. Really the whole podcast fell apart once Kevin O'Connor left.
This was painful. Complaining about Avery Bradley at 19? That was a brilliant fucking pick. Would he rather have James Anderson, Elliot Williams or Dominique Jones (the SGs who went immediately after Bradley)?

Complaining about Gerald Green at 17? That's the type of swing you take outside of the lottery, and it helped us net Garnett. Smart was the 'right' pick in 2014 (unless you'd rather have Randle, Stauskas, Vonleh, McDermott, etc). Even Rozier isn't a complete disaster they both Simmons and his dad seem to think it is
 

allstonite

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It was insane. He was questioning Delonte at 24 who was pretty solid for a few years and Tony Allen who is still in the league 13 years later, made three All NBA 1st team Defense and two 2nd Team All Defense at 25! He begrudgingly admitted Al Jefferson was a good pick for 15. Also he wanted to get Jahlil Okafor because at least he's a low post presence.

He seems like a nice guy and he can be pretty funny when not complaining about Boston sports but most of the time he comes off as no better than a WEEI caller.
 

kenneycb

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What was the reference to his Dad not reading ESPN about? At first, I assumed related to Bill's firing, but as they innuendo-ed further, I got the sense it was about something more topical/recent.
I assume it had to do with the recent ESPN org announcement linked above. The guy promoted to EVP of Content was the other guy who came up with the 30 for 30 idea, so I imagine it had to do with corporate politics of some sort.
 

MarkBT

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It was insane. He was questioning Delonte at 24 who was pretty solid for a few years and Tony Allen who is still in the league 13 years later, made three All NBA 1st team Defense and two 2nd Team All Defense at 25! He begrudgingly admitted Al Jefferson was a good pick for 15. Also he wanted to get Jahlil Okafor because at least he's a low post presence.

He seems like a nice guy and he can be pretty funny when not complaining about Boston sports but most of the time he comes off as no better than a WEEI caller.
ESPN.com actually had an interesting 'piece' today that assessed the best picks in each slot [1-60] in NBA Draft history. The methodology is based on career win shares. By this measure, Al Jefferson is the third best pick at 15 of all time. Even when Kawhi passes him, he's safely in 4th place. Somehow, Ryan Gomes is the 4th best 50th pick of all time.

http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/19657372/the-best-picks-every-nba-draft-slot
 

moondog80

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ESPN.com actually had an interesting 'piece' today that assessed the best picks in each slot [1-60] in NBA Draft history. The methodology is based on career win shares. By this measure, Al Jefferson is the third best pick at 15 of all time. Even when Kawhi passes him, he's safely in 4th place. Somehow, Ryan Gomes is the 4th best 50th pick of all time.

http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/19657372/the-best-picks-every-nba-draft-slot
Most people set the bar ridiculously high when determining whether or not someone is a good drafter.
 

kenneycb

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The wasteland that is pick 59 is pretty amazing. It's Pat Cummings, who average 10 and 6 over 12 seasons, two guys with 0.1 win shares and then the rest have 0 or less.
 

allstonite

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ESPN.com actually had an interesting 'piece' today that assessed the best picks in each slot [1-60] in NBA Draft history. The methodology is based on career win shares. By this measure, Al Jefferson is the third best pick at 15 of all time. Even when Kawhi passes him, he's safely in 4th place. Somehow, Ryan Gomes is the 4th best 50th pick of all time.

http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/19657372/the-best-picks-every-nba-draft-slot
That's really interesting thanks. I'll read through that. As a PC/Celtics fan who once drunkenly shook Ryan Gomes' hand in a McDonalds I could be convinced he was better than Steve Kerr. Not really but Gomes is exactly what you should hope for around 50.

I think Danny is great at getting value for where he's drafted. He's had some misses (I hated the Giddens pick immediately even for where it was) but I've been mostly happy with his drafts.