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Bill Simmons & Zach Lowe's NBA League Pass Index

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Carl Herrera, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

    Feb 16, 2007
    Likes Received:


    With the 2013-14 NBA season just 11 days away, Grantland's Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe decided to blow out the annual League Pass Rankings with categories and an admittedly goofy scoring system. The goal? To figure out which of this year's NBA teams had the best chance to consistently steal our attention every night as we try to watch five games at once. Both Zach and Bill awarded each NBA team between 0 and 10 points in the following five categories:

    Category No. 1: Relevancy to the Playoff Picture
    These teams aren't just contenders, but anyone with a chance to play in the postseason. So, Philly would be a 0 and Miami would be a 10. Really, Philly should be a minus-3, but we didn't want to make it too complicated.

    Category No. 2: Stylistic/Systemic Appeal
    If you're playing 80-79 games and shooting 35 percent every night, that should matter. If you're playing up-and-down games in the 110s, or putting on a defensive rotation clinic every night, or showing off big-ball lineups and small-ball lineups depending on the opponent, that should matter too. We should've called this category "Hoop Nerdgasm Potential."

    Category No. 3: League Pass Experience
    Here we consider the quality of announcing teams (and how often you might have to hit the mute button during their games), sideline reporters, uniform colors, the home arena's floor and, especially, the mascots. You know, all the stuff Zach obsesses over.

    Category No. 4: Individual Player Appeal
    If you have the likes of Durant, LeBron or Curry on your team, you're in good shape. If you're trotting out the likes of Gordon Hayward or Goran Dragic as your biggest star? You're not in good shape. If you revolve your team around Boogie Cousins? You're in good shape … with one of us.

    Category No. 5: Unintentional Comedy/Irrational Affection/Personality Intangibles
    An intentionally vague category that covers areas such as anything and everything relating to JaVale McGee or Boogie Cousins, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings running high screens, LARRY SANDERS!, any and all Gary Neal heat checks, the pathetic love that a Celtics fan feels for his now-pathetic team, all CP-Blake alley-oops, every Nick Young 3 that might get him murdered by Kobe, Professor Andre Miller doing Professor Andre Miller things, any overweight player, every Greg Oden moment, every KG interview, the Rubio-Love reunion, and anything else that would cause a riot on Grantland's Triangle blog.

    We scored each team on our own, then combined the scores into a bigger score. The lowest possible score? Zero. The highest possible score? 100. One of our two judges turned out to be a pathetically easy grader, to the other judge's eternal delight. Who was the Randy Jackson of the League Pass Rankings? Who finished with the best score? And did we really need 11,000 words and two parts to figure this out? Without further ado, the 2013-14 League Pass Rankings, from worst to first. Here's Part 1.


    And here's the writeup on the Rockets, who are ranked 10th overall with a score of 74:



    Zach: Houston at no. 10 seems almost irresponsibly low, since it is one of those rare title contenders with a giant, intriguing question mark: How will the new guy fit? In fairness, you had them at no. 7, and I had them at no. 15, and it's one of those cases where I sort of miss the forest for the trees.

    Bill: Don't beat yourself up — it's rarely if ever fun to watch Dwight Howard play basketball, and you've always been perturbed by his insatiable quest to be considered a larger-than-life personality. One of my social-media joys in life is when you ridicule Dwight for some inane, trying-to-be-funny moment. It's hard to bring out the troll in Zach Lowe, but Dwight does it. Thank you, Dwight Howard. Thank you.

    Zach: I just can't help it, and I don't feel great about it. But, I mean, his ex-teammates happily tell stories about his devastating farts, and he actually praised the Magic for bringing his "favorite candies" to one negotiating session. And I lost it this week when he said he was upset the Magic let Tobias Harris have his old number (12). He actually compared James Harden to Courtney Lee in the same interview. It was really a tour de force in total lack of self-awareness. Wait, what were we talking about?

    Bill: For the record, I ranked the Rockets no. 7 because of Harden, Parsons, Dwight in Eff You Mode (hopefully), Linsanity, McHale, DoMo, a beaming Dork Elvis … I mean, you had me at Harden.

    Zach: But we can't forget the stuff around the basketball. Their announcing crew brings a dangerous mix of misinformation and homerism that mars the Houston broadcast, and as good as Harden and Howard are, their games are going to feature endless parades to the foul line. That makes for a boring watch.

    Bill: How well will Dwight blend in with the Rockets? How healthy will Dwight look on a scale of one to 10? (Let's be honest, he was a five last season.) Combine those two questions and that's the fourth-most riveting subplot of the 2013-14 NBA season behind "Is Derrick Rose 100 percent back?," "How far will lousy teams go with Riggin' for Wiggins?" and "When will Durant finally snap over the fact that his cheap-ass franchise traded the NBA's best 2-guard for two spare bench parts?"

    Zach: You just won't let the Harden trade go, will you?

    Bill: The trade that probably swung five or six Finals this decade? That one? No, I can't.

    Zach: Hell, execs around the league haven't let it go yet, either. It's still a major talking point in team-building discussions. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how often Houston goes to Dwight in straight post-ups after Daryl Morey basically engineered a team last season that did not even have the post-up option — and had to rely instead on 3s, free throws, and rim attacks, just as the stat geeks prefer. They should be fine overall, and it will be fun watching them sort out the Omer Asik issue — first on the court, then on the trade market.

    #1 Carl Herrera, Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  2. dje243

    dje243 Member

    Feb 16, 2011
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    Take note... D-Mo was the only PF mentioned. Just sayin...
  3. Spacemoth

    Spacemoth Contributing Member

    Jul 30, 2007
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    A dangerous mix of misinformation and homerism...sounds like a PERFECT description of our announcers. Although I dunno if you can call anyone more a homer than anyone else given how widespread it is in the league.
  4. Jimes

    Jimes Member

    Mar 28, 2006
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    Yes, great description of our announcers :p

    Hmm... "DoMo". Has anyone used that on CF? Seems like an obvious nickname.

    I do agree we won't be as fun to watch... since we'll be blowing people out.
  5. Nero

    Nero Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    I'm kinda actually thinking 'DynaMo' (tm)

    You saw it here first!


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