Bill Simmons And The NBA Draft
I’m sure none of you care, but I can’t wait to hear his reaction to last night’s lottery. Really, I’m more excited about the release of his column than I’ve ever been about a pending Scotus case.
Since last fall, he’s been salivating over the prospect of the Celtics getting to draft Kevin Durant or Greg Oden. Earlier this week, he wrote this:
On Monday morning, I flew cross-country to watch the NBA draft lottery back home in Boston. Why? Because I still blame myself for screwing up the Duncan lottery. Instead of watching such a pivotal, franchise-defining moment with my father — the guy who carried me into the Boston Garden since I was 4 years old — I blew him off to spend a weekend on Cape Cod with a blonde sorta-girlfriend who couldn’t understand why the NBA lottery didn’t just work like Megabucks.
Bad move. Baaaaaaaaaad move.
After the Celtics failed to get Duncan, I dumped the blonde a few weeks later, mostly because I never forgave myself for watching the lottery with her. (Don’t worry, we wouldn’t have lasted — sorta-girlfriends never do.) Ten mostly depressing seasons later, with Duncan headed for a fourth ring and the long-suffering Celtics hitting another fork-in-the-road moment, I couldn’t take any chances. I had to come home. I had to watch the NBA lottery with my dad. If only for karmic purposes.
Then he ranked the fourteen lottery teams according to whose karma most favored getting one of the top two picks. His beloved Celtics came in second, with Simmons saying:
I want you to zoom through the 14 lottery teams again. With the possible exception of Seattle (for reasons we’re about to explain), find me a group of fans who’d be more devastated tonight if they didn’t land No. 1 or No. 2. Name me a better home for Oden or Durant from the NBA’s standpoint. Name me a young team that makes a leap more quickly than the Celtics with a Pierce-Jefferson-Oden/Durant nucleus. Compared to the other perennial screw-ups and basketball coldbeds on this list, how could you argue against the Celtics’ karmic rights for a top-two pick? We’re due, aren’t we? Please tell me we’re due. For the love of God, TELL ME WE’RE DUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They weren’t. Portland got the number one and Seattle the number two with the Celts dropping all the way to fifth.
If you’re even a luke-warm NBA fan (or is there any other kind?) you understand what a catastrophe that was. The Celtics had the second worst record in the NBA. In any other league, that would have given them the second pick in the draft, thus Oden or Durant, two players each considered once in a generation franchise saviors. The NBA, though, decides who picks when according to a lottery. The worst teams get a better chance to win, but it’s still up to chance. So if you – like Simmons – are a die hard fan of a crappy team, you could end up not only enduring loss after loss, but then not even getting a decent draft pick as consolation. And it could happen again, and again, and again.
Imagine how this guy would feel if in order to land Nick Saban, in addition to offering him a bazillion dollars, Alabama had to play rock/paper/scissors with the Dolphins in order to get him, and then the Tide lost. It would be kind of like that.
So I can’t wait to hear what the Sports Guy has to say about the draft. It’ll be funny, and it’ll confirm he’s not laying on his dad’s floor, in a permanent vegitative state.
UPDATE. He’s alive, but not happy:
You can’t even fathom the pain. Everyone believes Celtics fans get a free pass with this stuff because we won 16 titles in 30 years. Actually, it’s the opposite. Long-suffering fans of perennial losers don’t know what they’re missing. After all, how would they know? You can’t miss steak if you’ve never eaten steak, right? But if you’re fortunate enough to follow a perennially successful franchise, then that same franchise starts decomposing right in front of you … what then? The Celtics used to mean something; now they don’t. Anyone who remembers the good old days — when the Garden was rocking, when we were always in the hunt, when you honestly believed that we’d win every close game because someone was looking out for us, when everyone else feared us — can’t come to grips with what’s happened. We’re like one of those child actors who peaked at 15, made a ton of money, had everyone kissing their ass for a few years and then everything went to crap.
Well, you know what happens to famous child actors who become irrelevant? They go crazy. They go off the deep end. They chain-smoke, they do drugs, they get arrested, they look like hell, they disgrace themselves on “The Surreal Life” or “Celebrity Fit Club” because they’re so desperate to be famous again. And these things happen because they’re still trapped in the past and waking up every day wondering, “What the hell happened? I used to be living the high life!” Basically, every Celtics fan older than the age of 25 has turned into Macaulay Culkin. And the ones younger than 25 can’t even remember what they’re supposed to be missing.