The Preview Guy during a happier time. (Mention of Preview Guy's youth+pimping friends: check)
*Bill Simmons does not endorse this mailbag in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I will be calling myself "The Preview Guy" from now on in order to avoid a lawsuit.
As always, these are real (completely fake) emails from real (completely fake) readers:
Q: Hi AK, love the previews. But here's the thing: all this Kyle Lowry talk is getting ridiculous. Just propose to him and be done with it! -Adam, Raleigh, NC
PG: Okay, maybe I have been on Lowry's nuts for most of the year, but he deserves it. Doesn't this remind you of (insert movie character here) in (insert random movie from the 80s here)? I mean, he's just like that guy in every way! (Random movie reference from the 1980s: check)
To make the reference a little more current, remember in 2004 when Matt Leinart led the USC Trojans to the National Championship? Everyone said, "Oh sure they went undefeated, but just wait until they play a real defense." You know the rest. Leinart passed for over 300 yards and 5 TDs in a romp over the vaunted Oklahoma defense. Lowry just has that feel to him like he's taking off and no one is taking notice. But they will.
And in this scenario, Rafer Alston is the Ashlee Simpson halftime show from that Orange Bowl.
Q: You thought the Rockets defense was bad? The Bobcats are giving up 108 points per 100 possessions! That's terrible, right? -Eric, Austin, TX
PG: Here's the problem for Rockets fans. Houston is giving up slightly more points per 100 possessions. It's like the Bobcats are Fredo and the Rockets are the ugly twin that the Corleones gave up for adoption without telling anyone (Godfather reference: check).
On the other hand, at least the Rockets can score, making them at least kind of like Sonny to Charlotte's Fredo (second Godfather reference: check). They're both worthless, but one is less worthless than the other.
Part 2 of the mailbag after the jump.
PG: Weird that you were able to read my previous answer before I published this piece. OK, I'll bite.
Because anytime you can take a young guy with limited offensive skills over a proven winner who willed him team through the Big East tournament all the way to a NCAA national championship, overcoming huge obstacles all along the way, you have to do it (anytime ___, you have to do it mention: check).
PG: Really, it's more like Wayne Knight in Space Jam after they had to inflate him in order to unflatten him. It's really not that bad, though.
The real problem was (wait for it), and you're not going to believe me, but...(wait, here it comes)...and I never thought I would say this (wait some more): the Bobcats were pushed out of relevancy this season due to the loss of Kwame Brown!. Yes, the same Kwame Brown that has been a punchline since Jordan drafted him. Them Jordan got him back before remembering, "Oh yeah, this guy totally sucks. He's been 'developing' for 10 years now!"
So now the Bobcats are stuck with Boris Diaw at center. They should have gone after Chuck Hayes hard. He already knows the "undersized center" job backwards and forwards. He would have been good there.
And a bad center always has a place in Minnesota! (Kaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnn!!!) (David Kahn reference where the name gets stretched out like in Star Trek: check)
PG: (Nodding sadly.)
Q: Kevin Martin is just like Kristen Bell: semi-relevant and underrated one day, and totally grasping for attention the next. -Charles S., Lubbock, TX
PG: (Shakes head slowly.)
Q: This whole Kevin Martin illness plus Courtney Lee's injury means we might get to see some serious minutes from T-Will, right? -Daniel M., Houston, TX
PG: (Nodding happily.)
Q: Hey, I just want to say that there's no way that Kyle Lowry is better than me! I came over here as fast as I could, and if you keep this up I'll scorch the Rockets for 50-25-15 every time I play them. -Chris P., Los Angeles, CA
PG: (Afraid to say anything.) (Nodding, shaking, nodding again, afraid sequence: check).
Q: Who is the most talented player in this game tonight? Me, right??? -Luis S., Houston, TX (via Argentina)
PG: I'm not sure, but I can tell you who was the best player in the 1984 Finals was. It was Larry Legend. You see, that was the greatest finals ever because...
(Insert ~300 words about a series no one outside of Boston cares about anymore)
...and you knew it would be the Celtics because of Larry Bird! He's absolutely...
(Whoops, guess he wasn't done)
...greatest player of all-time not named Bill Russell or Michael Jordan.
(Long tangent on the Celtics that you skim through anyway: check).
Q: I know he can be explosive, but why sign Tyrus Thomas for so much?
PG: Because anytime you can sign a career 8-5 guy who has never played all 82 games to a 5-year, $40 million contract, you have to do it. And anytime you can use the "Anytime ___, you have to do it" phrasing twice in a mailbag, you have to do it.
Q: If Kevin McHale, the best big man in post ever, had a nickname, what would it be? -Bill S., Los Angeles, CA.
PG: Well Bill, no one really gives a crap about his nickname, and I'm surprised Bostonians didn't come up with one already. Also, suggesting that there has ever been a better post-up player than Hakeem Olajuwon is blasphemous, unless he played for the Celtics, which McHale did, so you're okay.
That also makes Len Bias eligible (cries uncontrollably). (Len Bias reference and subsequent depression: check)
Q: Is Shameless the best show that no one talks about? -William M., Chicago, IL
PG: I thought about this for a long time, actually. Way too much time, in fact (Spent too much time on ____: check).
In 2011, the shows that no one watched but should have were Homeland, Shameless, and Community.
The latter is going on hiatus, which is a damn shame. The season started poorly with a couple of clunkers, then hit their stride with some fantastic episodes including the Alternate Dimension episode and the filmmaking documentary. The season crested (use "cresting" in a sentence: check) with its final episode, which humiliated Glee and made us remember how far the show has come. When it comes back, there had better be a Firefly episode!
Homeland is like 24, except it doesn't completely suck. Carrie Mathison is like Tracy McGrady in Orlando. She's brilliant and resourceful, but she's being brought down by inferior talents who are her superiors in the hierarchy of the government intelligence game. Though I do hate shows that are set up perfectly to be a mini-series but then it gets popular and everyone realizes, "Hey, we could totally drag this on, come up with some two-bit plot to keep it going, and make millions!" So, Homeland is more likely to turn into another Lost or Prison Break rather than Breaking Bad or Mad Men.
Finally, there's Shameless. So many British adaptations fail miserably. For every American version of The Office, there's something that worked across the pond but doesn't translate here. Or, it sticks but only so the Preview Gal (mention spouse/girlfriend but calling here _____ Gal: check) can enjoy it since I hate it more than the traffic around Staples Center (mention traffic around Staples Center: check). For example, it's the Brits that brought us the reality show and game show craze. Take it back! I don't want it!
But something happened with the American Gallaghers. William H. Macy has thrown his button-down persona away in favor of a drunk, negligent father character Frank. Emmy Rossum's been hot for a while, but no one knew she had the acting chops to keep up with the rest of the kids, who are all exceptional, and isn't that Van from Reba? Who knew he could act like a dumbass in two different shows? Anyway, he's killing it, too. It's an ensemble cast to be reckoned with, and it's a show that deserves way more attention, no doubt.
PG: Oh my, here we go.
Q: Daryl Morey has to be fired! He's so terrible at his job. His resume looks worse than Sarah Jessica Parker's face!
PG: Oh, so close! And nothing looks worse than SJP's face.
Q: Bold prediction: the Rockets trade for LeBron before this game, and win 200-24. -Random Clutchfans member
PG: Thankfully, these are not my readers.
Q: Oh, you want to know who I am? I'm Bruce Wayne, bitches! -batman713
PG: Yep, these are my readers.
(Getting closer, almost there, these are my readers sequence: check).
Prediction: I've actually got the Rockets winning 102-93.