I'm a big fan of Bill Simmons, have been for years. One of his biggest flaws, however, is he never ever watches college basketball outside of the NCAA Tournament, yet when draft time rolls around he likes to talk as if he is actually knowledgeable about the players outside of whatever he has recently read or been told. I will never forget his column where he acted like he was breaking the news that Kevin Durant was awesome at Texas, despite it being mid-season. He also likes to form an opinion and refuse to let anything break it, including facts. With this in mind, I listened to the Simmons/Chad Ford podcast regarding the draft. Here are some highlights.
1. Victor Oladipo's upside is a cross between Alvin Robertson and Joe Dumars. Because he was one of the best interviews Bill Simmons did of the future rookies and said that if he had to play the Heat in South Beach he wouldn't go out to the bars the night before a game.
2. Oladipo could have played in the Spurs/Heat Finals because he tries hard.
3. Otto Porter red flag: doesn't think he'll be able to score in the NBA. Porter, who shot 42% from 3, 41% on jump shots, and 66% in the paint. Also said Porter reminded him of Tayshaun Prince and that's a bad thing despite Prince's career 58.6 win shares, which is the fourth highest total of anybody taken in the 2002 Draft.
4. More Porter: Doesn't think he'll really be able to play defense in the NBA (Porter averaged nearly 2 steals per game, which is a good indicator of the athleticism needed to play defense in the NBA something Chad Ford actually talked about maybe 15 minutes earlier in this same podcast). Also worried that Porter couldn't hit threes even though he hit 42% last year, something Simmons actually acknowledges but shrugs it off because "He only took like 3 a game", which, because this is college and not the NBA, actually ranked 30th most in the conference.
5. This one's actually from Ford, but he said Ben McLemore can't get to the rim. Ben McLemore took 31% of his shots last year at the rim. Outside of Oladipo's freakish 61% that's the highest percent among the guards in this draft. Simmons' take was that McLemore can be a three-point machine. McLemore hit the exact same 42% Otto Porter did. Simmons also thought McLemore was a "sweet kid" and it was a great interview. Sensing a pattern.
6. Alex Len "was pretty impressive when we talked to him" followed by a shit load of nice things about him including "he doesn't have any weaknesses except maybe rebounding." First, rebounding is pretty important for a center, but he's wrong anyway. Second, this is again Simmons not understanding college stats because Len was fourth in the ACC in rebounding (but "just" 7.8 per game). Len's offensive and defensive rebounding percentages are both pretty good, but his overall numbers suffer because he played 26 minutes per game. That would be a much bigger concern for me than the rebounding.
7. Did not like his interview with Shabazz Muhammad and it made him like him less as a draft pick. I actually thought this was unconscious bias, but it turns out he's actively admitting to it. I wonder if he can pick up the fact that he's doing things like trashing Otto Porter's game because he didn't like his interview. I doubt it. Also just said he loved his interview with C.J. McCollum and in the next sentence he could be the next Jason Terry with a downside of a better Eddie House. Now I like McCollum, but his downside is a whole hell of a lot worse than a better Eddie House. Sorry if he's super likable.
Actually not as terrible as I was expecting or as he's been in the past. The whole "interview" thing was a nice wrinkle that kept me entertained in the absence of more uninformed opinions. I would say I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed listening to the podcast, but that would be a lie because I promise you I don't care.