Update Jan 15, 2014: Read how Tom Haberstroh agrees with me.
I am a fan of Bill Simmons. I enjoy his writing and podcasts. But as would be expected, the downside of his ESPN ubiquitousness is that he now has to go on record about the type of things he used to be able to poke fun at after the fact. Just google David Kahn for a sample.
Miami Heat and Dan LeBatard radio show fans have long enjoyed their various rants based in part on the “gasbags/experts” who have been predicting the Heat’s demise with impressive persistence and inaccuracy. Simmons can be considered the ring leader of those efforts, hilariously extrapolating the body language he supposedly observes when attending NBA games to fit the point he is attempting to make. Simmons has never made it clear the distance at which body language observation would be better served by an HD TV roughly the size of an area rug. [Perhaps Stub Hub is the next jewel in his empire?]
On last Friday’s NBA Countdown show, Simmons attempted to agree with Doug Collins that there were no “franchise players” or “LeBrons” coming out in the 2014 NBA draft. The show’s moderator, Sage Steele, playfully called out Simmons for flip-flopping on that point within just a few weeks.
At which point Simmons did something surprising. He attempted to weasel his way out of appearing to flip-flop by noting that what he said was that “the draft was deep, not great.” To which Steele, God bless her, read the quote back to him where he described the draft as “great.”
Here’s what my body language analysis took from that exchange, Simmons really thinks of himself as a basketball expert. He no longer sees himself as mainly a good writer who carved out a unique niche for himself by mixing his NBA obsession with pop culture utilizing unlimited bytes.
That Bill has sailed. Say hello to the new boss and NBA expert.
Back to Friday’s show, Simmons then moved on to his favorite non-Boston topic, ‘Something looks off with LeBron and/or the Heat.’ On this evening, his point was that LeBron looked tired [he did]. Simmons then suggested that the Miami Heat were wearing Lebron out.
Aside from body language observations from court-side seats, I assume the best indicator of how an NBA team is wearing out a player would depend on their average minutes per game.
The snapshot below shows that LeBron James average minutes per game this season is the lowest in his NBA career. Now someone can still try to make the argument that the Heat are handling LeBron incorrectly, but they really can’t ignore the fact that their assertion contradicts the most fundamental measure of how much a player is being used.
Question, if Bill Simmons is an NBA expert, what do we call Doug Collins and Jeff Van Gundy?