So Bill Simmons offered a "sneak" preview today of the third part of his NBA Trade Value column. And yes, his self-mythologizing has gotten to the point where he a) breaks some random-ass rankings into three parts, b) releases a "sneak preview" of the third part of those rankings because "we couldn't resist" (and by we, he means him), c) repeatedly refers you to the archive of that column, as if you really need to know the 2006 trade value ranking of Shaun Livingston, and d) treats said rankings as the fucking Ten Commandments, as if the people couldn't live without them.
Simmons now lives in a bizarre one-man ecosystem where everything he writes must be placed in the context of some other shit he's written before. Like so …
For Grantland's Trade Value TV special that ran on ESPN on February 8, I ranked Kyrie 26th overall and sent Cleveland fans into a rancorous frenzy.
Okay, first of all, no one watches that show. We've seen the numbers. It gets beaten by a test pattern over on CSPAN-12. Who are the rancorous Cleveland fans who give a shit about this? Nowhere, that's where. There's probably like, ONE GUY, watching that glorified vidcast on his phone at a Buffalo Wild Wings, shaking his fist for three seconds because Simmons relegated Kyrie Irving to the Ryan Reynolds tier.
In January, everything started to flip: Cleveland made two shake-it-up trades, came together defensively and ripped off a 12-game winning streak that included Kyrie's 55-point game against Portland. Cavs fans started feeling themselves a little. Kyrie … 26th??? He's only 22! If he played for Boston, you'd have him ranked in the top 10!!!! CHOKE ON YOUR OWN #%@%@, YOU #&#$%!%!%!
Again, it always comes back to Simmons. Kyrie Irving is good. Now let's see how that made Cleveland fans feel about Bill Simmons saying he's not quite that good. That's the REAL story.
I spent the next two weeks watching Cleveland more closely, ultimately bumping Kyrie's ranking before Part 2 of the written column was posted on February 25.
OMG STOP THE FUCKING PRESSES, or whatever McSweeneys-approved parchment the Grantland Quarterly is printed on.
But no, it gets worse from there …
When Jalen Rose and I taped The Grantland Basketball Hour with Kobe last month…
"He's just Kobe to me. We're friends now."
..we were killing time during one of the commercial breaks and I asked Kobe if he had any "new" favorite players. You know how great chefs always identify the other up-and-coming great chefs?
(Kobe) loves Kyrie. So that was a game changer for me.
BILL: I don't like Kyrie.
ACTUAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: Actually Bill, that guy is good.
BILL: Whoa! Game changer! I've been thinking about this all wrong! Tell me: How is Kyrie with desserts?
When Chef Kobe blessed Chef Kyrie, I knew it was time to wipe my Kyrie Opinion Hard Drive and start over.
The hard drive is where Chef Kobe keeps all his best steaks!
You know who loved hearing Kobe praise Kyrie? Jalen.
So? Fuck Jalen Rose.
We had been arguing about Kyrie's potential for months. Now Jalen was smiling like someone had just served him a 7-pound lobster.
Welcome to my column, where I recap an old TV show and then tell you how things have changed SINCE that TV show.
Which brings me to Tangent No. 2 …
EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER DONE IS A TANGENT.
One of the coolest things about my job as it has evolved these past few years: getting access to so many memorable basketball players and basketball minds.
Could you list them for me?
Bill Walton and Larry Bird changed my too-harsh opinion of Kobe's style…
No way! Two great basketball players told you a great player was great? WHAT A REVELATION.
Shit, the epilogue of my NBA book…
Oh, you wrote a book, too? What other properties of yours can be synergized into this post? Tell us how Kyrie Irving completely changed the latter portion of your old screenplay: "J-Bug Needs A Toilet."
…told the story about Walton and I arguing about "The Secret" or "The Choice."
What am I reading? What is this? Are those recipes?
I spent a year watching basketball games in a tiny conference room with Magic…
So small! I actually watched games on his shoulders! Chef Magic's hair smells like tulips.
…and then a second year with Doug Collins.
Those are basketball people! I know them! I AM ZELIG.
I talked shop with Kobe, off the record, a number of times. I spent a whole day with the great Bill Russell. I got to know Steve Nash and Steve Kerr. I spent multiple days with Charles Barkley. I spent three hours with Durant and Harden once. I've picked the brains of dozens of famous NBA people on my podcast. I've spent the past three years talking for hundreds and hundreds of hours with Jalen. I spent an afternoon in Vegas with Isiah Thomas that became the second chapter of my book. And I've talked basketball with dozens of ex-players and ex-coaches who passed through the league — everyone from Kiki Vandeweghe to Danny Ainge to Doc Rivers to Elgin Baylor to Jeff Van Gundy to Hubie Brown…
And over the years, I have learned HOW to listen to that community.
Have you really? Because all I see is you name-dropping a bunch of fuckers to burnish your credentials. If you were a point guard, you'd be Nick Van Exel, who I'm told Jalen Rose adores.
Just put it through its own little filter. For instance, Jalen enjoys Jamal Crawford's work for a variety of reasons…
Why are you still talking about Jalen? Have HIM write the fucking column if he's so jazzed. Chef Jamal makes a MEAN pecan pie that Jalen can't stop raving about!
Jalen has raved about Kyrie's ceiling for three years and learned to discount MY unenthusiastic opinion; Jalen knew that I wasn't totally seeing what he saw. I wanted Kyrie to be something that he could never be: basically, late-'80s Isiah or Right Now Chris Paul, the point guard who spends 42 minutes making everyone better before taking over in the final six minutes. Jalen maintained that Kyrie wasn't that guy. I maintained that, until anyone proved they could win with him, I was out on him. We were in no-man's-land.
We're not even talking about Kyrie Irving anymore. This column could have been about a fucking rock. I know LESS about him than when I started reading. This column is, "Jalen and I were arguing about a basketball player … YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!"
If Kyrie keeps blossoming over these next two months, then it will start to feel like Miami in 2005 — Shaq's first year, when Dwyane Wade made a massive in-season leap and suddenly they looked like Kobe-and-Shaq reincarnated. The biggest difference: 2015 LeBron is better than 2005 Shaq. The second-biggest difference: Kyrie is two months younger than Wade was in 2005. Sticking him 10th might not be high enough. Regardless, I'm glad I came around on Kyrie. Better late than never.
Good for him! He might even make it onto your podcast one day!
Simmons has become so insufferably wrapped up in his own Bill Simmonsness … don't you people see this? Don't you Simmons fanboys get it? JUST OPEN YOUR EYES AND FUCKING GET IT. This is shameless, name-dropping horseshit. Motherfucker gets paid bank to blow smoke up his own ass, and can't even file on time! God dammit. I want to punch a cloud.