As an provocateur, he's burrowed under the skin of old-media types such as Mike Francesa, who don't get him.
But most new-media types -- especially handsome and talented interns -- do get him. He's the 700-pound sportswriting gorilla touting a 700-page tome, The Book of Basketball, and tweeting the tour.
Yet, more than refusing to get off the virtual lawn of curmudgeons or fomenting a fervent fan base or getting this, the third post to feature him today at the 'House, Simmons has often expressed his desire to be an NBA GM. (OK, so not every new-media type finds this endearing.)
Then, it must thrill Simmons that one NBA GM has submitted a plan that would radically alter the NBA postseason in order to prevent teams from tanking. A plan that is very similar to one Simmons proposed in an ESPN the Magazine column in 2007.
As reported today by the always spot-on Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated, Denver GM Mark Warkentien -- the reigning NBA Executive of the Year -- has sent a letter to the other 29 teams and the league office to hold a mini-tournament to earn the No. 8 seed in each conference.
"Under the proposal, nothing would change for the playoff teams that earn the top seven playoff spots. The No. 8 spot, however, would be up for grabs. No. 8 would play a home game against No. 15, No. 9 would play at home against No. 14 and so on.That sounds quite good; and quite familiar. In addition to contraction and changing the Lottery back to a one-team, one-chance at No. 1, Simmons floated the idea of the League's Lottery-bound losers fighting in a mini-tourney. Instead of battling for one seed in a single elimination tourney, Simmons would have teams in a double-elimination tourney fighting for the final two spots in each conference.
The loser of each game would be eliminated, while each winner would advance to the next round. At the conclusion of the mini-tournament, the playoffs would revert to the traditional format, with the winner of the No. 8 seed opposing the team with the best record in the conference."
"Shorten the regular season by four games, guarantee the top six seeds in each conference, then have a double-elimination tourney for the seventh and eighth seeds between the remaining 15 teams. I suggest this for five reasons. First, it would be entertaining as hell. In fact, that's what we'll call it: the Entertaining-as-Hell Tournament. Second, I'm pretty sure we could get it sponsored. Third, the top 12 teams get a reward: two weeks of rest while the tournament plays out. Fourth, a Cinderella squad could pull off some upsets, grab an eighth seed and win fans along the way. And fifth, with the Entertaining-as-Hell Tournament giving everyone a chance, no team could tank down the stretch without insulting paying customers beyond repair."Hmmm, intriguing both, though one could be persuaded to go with the Warkentien proposal considering it would have the excitement of an April Madness (April Anxiousness!) single-elimination tourney.
There's a flip side to this, of course. Do you want to chance rewarding a 19-63 team with a spot in the Playoffs? Doesn't that render the whole regular season meaningless as opposed to just the last few weeks?
Regardless, both proposals (save the contraction -- What cruel bastard would like to see a city lose its team? Besides Clay Bennett, I mean.) have merits. Then again, after the institution of the re-weighted Lottery system in 1994, tanking never made sense anyway. Sure the worst team gets a 25 percent chance of winning the Lottery, but it also means they have a 75 percent chance of not winning it either. Only twice since the new system was instituted has the worst team won the Lottery: Cleveland in 2003 (they tabbed LeBron James) and Orlando in 2004 (they nabbed Dwight Howard).
Still, all of this must make Simmons smile. It's now on the record that one NBA GM thinks a lot like him.