FIRE JOE MORGAN: Most Popular Sportswriter in America


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Most Popular Sportswriter in America

It's time for more Simmons! On the downside, it's basketball. Sorry, chumps!

On Kevin Garnett:

And we know he can produce in the clutch from that monster 2004 MVP season that culminated in a sublime 32-point, 21-rebound Game 7 against the Kings. We can also agree, his career would have been different if he had somehow switched places with Duncan.

Okay, no real problems here. Garnett had a great game that I vaguely remember.

But maybe KG is too passionate for his own good.

Uh oh. What about that Game 7 ... ?

By all accounts, he's so wound up before games, it affects everyone around him; he wouldn't even allow anyone to listen to music in the locker room before Cassell arrived. He's not above punching teammates in practices. And he's famous for yelping ferociously after big plays, clenching his fists and screaming toward the ceiling like a WWE wrestler.

The first thing is kind of dickish, the second might be a problem chemistry-wise (but I've certainly heard similar stories about Jordan and Bird), the third thing ... not sure that impacts his basketball abilities that much.

He's never learned to adapt his game to the situation; he plays the same in a mid-November blowout and a deciding playoff game, which explains why he seemed spent during the 2004 conference finals against the Lakers.

The argument takes a strange turn here. Kevin Garnett, by Simmons' own estimation the fourth-greatest power forward to ever live, can't "adapt his game to the situation." He's penalized by Simmons for playing hard in the regular season. And he's completely "spent" in the 2004 conference finals, a series that began literally two days after KG dropped 32 and 21 in Game 7 against the Kings. (I looked it up. May 19 and May 21.) Remember that game, Bill? You wrote about it four sentences ago.

That was his longest season by far -- seven months and exactly 100 games -- and in classic KG fashion, he averaged 24-14-5 in the regular season and an almost identical 24-15-5 in the playoffs.

Strange strange strange. What kind of basketball monster magically posts dramatically better statistics in the playoffs? I looked up Michael Jordan's numbers, and even they're not significantly better -- he scores three more points per game than in the regular season (in four more minutes per game), and that's partially because his creaky Washington years lowered his regular season average. So putting up the same statistics in the playoffs isn't "classic KG fashion," it's classic NBA player fashion. It's all players.

Here, just to make sure, let me check Shaq's numbers. Regular season Shaq: 26, 12, and 3. Playoff Shaq: 26, 12, and 3. Hmm. Someone can't adapt to the situation!

Let me also add that there is absolutely nothing wrong with averaging 24, 15, and 5 in the playoffs.

Superstars like Duncan know when to dominate and when to keep something in reserve for big moments.

Aargh. Regular season Tim Duncan: 23.3, 12.7, 3.3. Playoff Tim Duncan: 24.1, 12.7, 3.6. My point isn't necessarily even that Tim Duncan doesn't dominate big moments. It's that these statistics are woefully inadequate for even coming close to proving anything of the sort. It's like trying to split one of Billy Koch's Morgellons fibers with a battle axe. I'd rather he just leave the pretend statistical evidence out of it and just admit that he's writing about a gut feeling and nothing more here.

KG plays only in fifth gear.

Duncan fucking sits on his ass for half the year idling in neutral like the lazy shithead he is. Jordan had an actual mechanical switch in his back that Scottie Pippen would manually set to the proper gear according to the situation. Only Pippen, though. One time Bill Cartwright tried to get at the switch and Jordan bit his left hand off. That's why Bill Cartwright doesn't have a left hand. True story.

P.S. Regular season Larry Bird: 24.3, 10.0, 6.3. Playoff Larry Bird: 23.8, 10.5, 6.8 (in four more minutes per game). Classic Bird fashion.

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posted by Junior  # 7:09 PM
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