Friday, December 7, 2007

Non-Baseball Item, But It's a Slow Day . . .

The cottage industry that has been set up to bash Bill Simmons won't take notice of this, but anyone who glibly rips him for being nothing more than a trafficker in pop-culture and Boston homerism should take notice of his latest piece, in which he deftly constructs and analyzes a four-way trade involving Jason Kidd and a cast of dozens.

Everyone's mileage varies when it comes to the Sports Guy, but the most common criticism -- that he's all flash and no substance -- simply isn't true. It's hard to be a generalist, but if Simmons suddenly found himself in some career-killing scandal, he could easily change his name, pare down the recognizable flourishes of his prose, and instantly remake himself into one of the top basketball analysts in the business.


Josh said...

Bill Simmons is a fantastic writer who really has run with a unique style that tons of new writers try to steal from.

I don't like the NBA, but I read whatever he writes about it because he writes in a manner that I find interesting.

Melody said...

I don't know... I've never thought Simmons' strength was his analytical ability. When I've enjoyed his writing, it's been because of his unique perspective as a fan (rather than an expert), and his sense of humor. I could, however, do without the regular anti-woman comments. He treats this like it's a big joke, but I find it obnoxious and immature.

There are often some holes in his basketball analysis, I think... for example, what makes him think playing with Jason Kidd would make Kobe happy? Kobe usually handles the ball for the Lakers, which wouldn't leave Kidd with much to do (since he's not really a shooter). Their current PG, Fisher, handles the ball when necessary but can also play the part of an additional shooting guard when Kobe takes the ball.

deadguy said...

This is the same Bill Simmons who didn't finish up his basketball previews for ESPN until a month into the season, right?

Originally, I found Simmons amusing. Then I realized he only had about five topics to write about: How the current Boston sports team rules/got jobbed, going to Vegas, his fantasy draft, why Larry Bird made him feel all tingly when he was a teenager, and quoting some combination of Hoosiers/The Godfather films/Scarface/Swingers. He honestly reminds me of the guy your buddies let come along to the sports bar to watch the game because they felt sorry for him, and who has to prove that he belongs by shouting his nonsensical opinions at every opportunity.

Furthermore, his success has opened the door for the raspy-voiced, ethically challenged Colin Cowherd. If that's not a karmic debt to work off, I don't know what one is.

Shyster said...

To be fair, the reason he didn't get his NBA preview up was because his wife had a baby right at the time he would normally have been writing it. As someone who, like Simmons, had baby number #2 while baby #1 was still very small, I can tell you that you don't get nothin' done for a couple of weeks while the dust settles.

Richard Dansky said...

Aha. I stand corrected on the baby issue - thanks for the clarification.

That being said, most of the analysis I'd read from him previously seemed to be split evenly between "here's whom the rest of the league should give the Celtics" and "Larry Bird would have done it better. Uphill. In the snow. Both ways."