Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Would It Kill You to Read a Box Score, Bill Simmons?

Predictably, Bill Simmons thinks that the Hawks are making a mistake by drafting Shelden Williams. Here's his reasoning:

They made a promise to Shelden Williams here. Everyone swears it's true.

WHAT THEY SHOULD DO: Here's my question: Why promise a guy with no chance of going in the top four that you'll take him fifth? Are they trying to distract everyone from last year's Chris Paul/Marvin Williams and Boris Diaw debacles with a fresh dose of idiocy? And how could you possibly take Williams over Thomas when Thomas killed him in the NCAAs? It's just common sense.

WHAT THEY WILL DO: Exercise a complete lack of common sense. One mitigating factor for Hawks fans: My dad loves Shelden Williams; he's my dad's favorite player in the draft. He's adamant that Williams will be a 20-10 guy. We'll see.

THE PICK: Williams.

He's right that it makes no sense to make the promise to Williams, but that's a peripheral point. As to Tyrus Thomas "kill[ing]" Williams, here are their stat lines for the game:

Williams: 23 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks
Thomas: 9 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks

I know that Simmons likes to make sweeping generalizations as to the NBA futures for various players based on the one game he sees in the NCAA Tournament, but would it be too much to ask for him to actually get that one game right? And if he's going to overrate the importance of NCAA Tournament games, then how does he ignore Thomas' sterling line in the loss to UCLA in Indianapolis: five points, six rebounds, three blocks?

And isn't Simmons' draft philosophy supposed to be that NBA teams should take proven college production over potential? Wasn't that his reasoning for advocating for Jay Williams over Yao Ming? Or to advocate on behalf of Luke Walton? Can't it be used now to explain why it was a mistake to let Dwyane Wade slide to the 5th pick in the Draft after he took Marquette to a Final Four? With that reasoning, how can he claim that it's a huge mistake to take a player who averaged 19/11/4 as a senior after a similarly productive junior year over a player who redshirted (warning sign, perhaps?) and then averaged 12/9/3? And that's before we get to the fact that Thomas is redundant with Josh Smith, whereas Williams plays a different style than anyone else on the roster. But hey, why make arguments based in logic or fact when you can recycle the same old jokes about Boris Diaw and Chris Paul?


Anonymous said...

Bobby P

Thomas was redshirted because he only played one year of ball in high school, and wasn't really recruited by LSU. He apparently grew five or six inches during his senior year of hs and frosh year of uni.

That said, nothing wrong with taking Williams over potential. Nothing at all.

Eric said...

What? A non-reactionary response to the Williams pick? This makes no sense.

Man, reading the comments on Sekou's blog this morning is mind-numbing. The Hawks may have the dumbest fanbase in the Southeast, Considering this is SEC country, that's saying alot.

But, you know, a 6'9" 260 Paint Monster is the same kind of player as the 3 swingmen we took in the last 2 drafts. At least, that's what the Knight haters all think...

Michael said...

The worst was Mayhem in the AM this morning. I had to turn it off because they were bitching incessantly about the pick without ever going to the trouble of saying "I would have taken ______," most likely because they are hung up on drafting a PG and want to ignore the fact that there was no PG worth a #5 pick and the Hawks had no good offers to trade down. Steak then bitched about the fact that we didn't take a LeBron or Carmelo or Wade with the pick, as if there are any such players in this Draft. The show ended up devolving into petty complaints that Knight doesn't come on their show (and why not, since two of the three of them know absolutely nothing about basketball and the third overrates his knowledge severely?) and that he doesn't have good PR skills. Who gives a flying fuck if he drafts good players who make the team better?

Eric said...

That's the whole thing that bothers me. People have suggested that the Hawks trade down.

My question for them would be, what do they gain by doing so? And what team is going to give up anything of signifigance to trade up in THIS draft?!

They would likely have had to take on the contract of an aging, undeperforming player like Brian Grant or Raef LaFrentz in doing so...what's the point?

The Billy Knight vitriol in this city is so thick, it's suffocating. I really hope that this team gets in the playoffs next year, so all these douchebags who think they can run an NBA team better with just STFU.

JMar said...

"People have suggested that the Hawks trade down. My question for them would be, what do they gain by doing so? And what team is going to give up anything of signifigance to trade up in THIS draft?!"

Did you watch the draft? Congratulations, that is the most retarded thing I have read concerning this draft, because it's not even a speculative question: all one has to do is look at what actually happened to see that somebody would have made a trade.

Portland traded rights to G Randy Foye and cash to Minnesota for rights to G Brandon Roy.


Memphis traded F Shane Battier for rights to F Rudy Gay.

Portland wanted Roy. Minnesota wanted Foye. And I guarantee you that neither wanted Shelden Williams. You don't think Minnesota would have traded up to get their man if the Hawks were going to take Foye? And since they're actually jumping Minnesota, who still probably would have taken Roy, given up more than cash? Or even if the Hawks had gotten cash just for that move, while it certainly wouldn't have made the fans happy, it would have at least shown that Knight had a clue as to what Shelden was worth.

Meanwhile, Memphis clearly wanted Rudy Gay, and while the Hawks have zero need for Shane Battier (though at 6-8, 220, I'm sure Knight would have been thrilled with that deal), a guy that also legitimately could have gone at the Hawks' pick, it's not a stretch of the imagination to have Memphis trade something else for him or have Houston trade up three spots to get him and move him for Battier, giving the Hawks the 8th pick, where Shelden would probably still be on the board, and whatever Houston was offering.

Michael said...

The Foye-Roy trade proves my point. Minnesota and Portland traded cash to make the deal, meaning they couldn't even find a player who would be worthwhile as a swap for those picks. The mere existence of two trades does not establish that another team would have given anything "of significance" to move up to the Hawks spot. What would Minnesota or Portland have give the Hawks to move into that spot? Billy Knight has his flaws, but his refusal to take back useless parts from other teams that take up roster spots and cap space is a positive trait and that's all the Hawks would have received from moving down from 5 to 7 or 8.