Bill Simmons and Chad Ford did an interactive mock draft yesterday, in which they alternated selections, with Simmons taking the odd picks and Ford taking the evens. Therefore, Simmons had the top pick and predictably he made himself look like an idiot. Bill has been slobbering all over Kevin Durant’s knob for roughly six months now and finding every way to discredit Greg Oden’s game. All this campaign has done is prove he knows absolutely nothing about basketball.
Simmons claims that there are too many questions about Oden and Durant is a sure thing, a stone cold lock. He sees Oden as the next Ewing. Never mind the fact that Ewing only had a passing interest in defense and wasn’t nearly as athletic as Oden. For a guy who loves Tim Duncan so much, he rips on Oden’s laid back demeanor far too much. Name the last time you saw Duncan snarl on the court? Don’t worry, I’ll wait … He says Oden doesn’t have the “killer instinct” that Durant has, but Ford points out that Oden has only lost 17 games in his career. That’s insane. Obviously the guy knows how to win and frankly no quality is more important in a player. Ford is totally right when he adds that the wins will be far sexier than the “sizzle” that Durant will bring.
Anyway, here’s my favorite line from Bill in the piece:
“So if Portland takes Oden, it will happen because of conventional NBA logic (you always take the franchise center), because their fans are pushing for him (obviously, nobody watches college basketball in Portland)…”
-Well, either that or they all watch college basketball and saw Oden’s team IN THE FREAKING TITLE GAME! Oh and refresh my memory of what happened in that title game … oh right, he dominated – 25 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Look, I like Durant, he’s a nice player and should turn out to be a great one. But Oden has been the top pick in this draft for two and a half years. He’ll step on the court and immediately make you a playoff team. Plus, we know Oden doesn’t have to score 20 points to change the face of a game. He’s fine deferring to other players on his team and might be the best passing big man since Bill Walton. How will Durant handle having to rely on his teammates to be successful? I’m sure he’ll figure it out but he’s never had to do it before since he’s always been a one-man wrecking crew.
Sure Durant is exciting, but if you want to win a title, you build from the inside out. After Jordan’s Bulls, every title team has built around the interior. The Rockets had Hakeem, the Spurs had Robinson and Duncan, the Lakers had Shaq, the Pistons were a different team once they got Rasheed (if you combine the Wallace boys, you get a complete post player who can also hit three’s) and the Heat won only after they got Shaq.
Meanwhile, teams centered around Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter have so far netted zero titles. Sure those players are all exciting but when you base your franchise around a perimeter-oriented player, it’s far tougher to build a champion.
Simmons fancies himself an expert on NBA matters, but really he just likes the fast-paced, Phoenix Suns-style teams. He wrote at length this year about how the Suns were the best team we’ve seen in the NBA in years (oops). I’ll take solid defense, low scores and titles over fast and fun every time. This is also the same Bill Simmons who said LeBron would never live up to the hype and that Carmelo Anthony was the better pick, that Yao Ming was the next Shawn Bradley and that Andrea Bargnani would be horrible. Let’s just say I don’t really trust his talent evaluation skills.