Before I get into this edition of the ridiculously stupid statements that Skip Bayless said recently, I must offer to you a bit of a background about my family, and their knowledge of sports (or lack thereof).
Other than my brother, who has a decent knowledge of sports, and my mother, who has the knowledge of knowing that the Red Sox suck this year, and that the Celtics are in the playoffs, the rest of my family probably could not tell the difference between a basketball and a bowling ball. That’s fine. They have incredible knowledge in other aspects that I could not dream about knowing, like politics and such.
However, that is not where the story gets interesting. Sometimes, the family tries to argue with me about sports. Now, if we’re dealing with strictly credentials to be able to argue sports, the discussion between my family and I would look like your local little-leaguer trying to hit against Stephen Strasburg. Unfortunately, arguments are not won with credentials. I lost the last argument against my family. Why? Because sometimes they throw out a statement so ridiculous, that it actually makes me question whether my opinion, which I know is 100 percent right, might somehow be wrong.
This particular time, we were not talking sports. Instead, we were talking music. My Aunt is obsessed with country music, a genre that I find particularly deplorable. Regardless of the stance on whether the music is good, I was arguing that country music artists do not sell as well as others because they create no controversy, using Eminem as my example. My Aunt tried to tell me that Toby Keith has sold more albums than Eminem, going so far as to bet money on that statement.
I knew, in my mind, that Eminem’s albums have sold a ludicrous amount over the years, making him one of the highest-grossing rap stars of all time. Logically, that means that he must sell more than Toby Keith, who is not even the definitive most popular country artist.
However, because of the ferocity with which my Aunt defended her stance, I was unable to place any amount of money on my claim. Instead, I simply argued my point. My confidence was shaken. Maybe I was not as sure about the numbers as I thought I was.
Obviously, when I looked at the album sale numbers, I would have won the easiest $20 of my life. It was at this point that I realized something – my Aunt uses the exact same tactic as my arch-enemy Skip Bayless: if you say something ridiculous, and defend it loudly, proudly, and with confidence, you will make even the surest of people question their own opinions, even if you are completely wrong about the statement.
Skip Bayless makes me so angry because of the manner in which he argues his points. When someone presents numbers that clearly destroy his claims, he simply yells, screams, points, jumps around in his seat, and goes back to one of his catchphrase athletes, like Tim Tebow or Tiago Splitter. Therefore, because of the front that Skip puts up, some people think he is right about what he is saying, even though indisputable facts prove otherwise.
Because of this logic, I’m only arguing one of Skip’s statements this week. However, I’m going to systematically disassemble his statement from every angle, much like 2Pac disassembled Notorious BIG’s personal life in the diss-track “Hit ‘Em Up”
Stupid Statement – “Tiago Splitter is the best ‘pick-setter’ in the league, especially after his monster 11 points and 7 rebounds in the close out game against the Clippers”
Clip Found Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1LRRjRYCdo
Where does one even begin to argue this statement? How about starting with the phrase, “pick-setter.” Is there even a stat that would back that up? Anyone with any basic basketball knowledge would understand that there are an incredible amount of picks set during any one basketball game, considering most offenses revolve around the pick-and-roll.
What makes a player a good “pick-setter,” one might ask. Personally, I have no idea. But I understand the concept of the pick-and-roll, at least to a basic degree. Picks are set to help point guards create match-ups that they like, perhaps getting a larger, slower forward to switch against the guard, and getting the original defender to match up with a big man, creating a size mismatch.
Another aspect of setting a pick is the ability to either roll to the basket and finish at the rim, or to receive the ensuing pass and make a mid-range jump shot. If we go by that definition of what makes a good “pick-setter,” I can think of approximately 25 players who shoot better than Tiago Splitter from mid-range, and the same amount who finish better than him at the rim, and that would be without looking at any numbers at all.
When I think of players who excel in the pick-and-roll, I think of Amar’e Stoudemire playing with Steve Nash, of Blake Griffin finishing over Kendrick Perkins after a pick-and-roll, of Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett hitting mid-range jumpers in pick-and-pop situations, of Dwight Howard. That’s not even mentioning the best “pick-setter” on the Spurs, Tim Duncan, who finishes at the rim and in mid-range jumpers.
Does Tiago Splitter seem like the type of player that fits into that category? Lord no. There’s a reason why Amar’e is making $100 million, and why Duncan and Garnett are no-brainer Hall of Fame players.
I still have not mentioned the likes of Kevin Love – who has a legit jump shot from anywhere inside half court – Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee, Chris Bosh, David West, DeMarcus Cousins, Serge Ibaka and/or Luis Scola.
Must I keep going? I compiled that list based on the first names I saw in my fantasy basketball league, which has 20 teams, and 12 players per team. In this particular league, even bench players become incredibly valuable commodities because of the depth of the player pool.
No one owned Tiago Splitter. In fact, there are 64 players that have PF eligibility that are owned more than Tiago Splitter is. Among those players are names like Bismack Biyombo and Lamar Odom. I did not even factor in players who only have center eligibility. I think that Splitter would fall outside the top 75 players.
In terms of “pick-setter,” I believe that Skip should probably argue with statistics that are actually kept by the NBA before making a statement.
Then, we get onto the monster game of 11 points and seven rebounds in the closeout game against the Clippers only days ago. In that same game, Tim Duncan had 21 points and nine rebounds. I believe that would make a bigger contribution to the Spurs defeating the Clippers in that particular game.
Any great power forward would be incredibly disappointed in a stat line of 11/7/0 in a potential close-out game. In fact, Splitter falls outside the top 86 power forwards in the league when it comes to Player Efficiency Rating, which is the overall rating of a player’s per-minute statistical production. Among the top 86 are the likes of Troy Murphy, Alan Anderson, Josh McRoberts and Odom. Odom had such a horrific season that Dallas decided it was better if he stayed home for the end of the year, and he still had a better year than did Tiago Splitter.
The aspect that frustrates me the most about Skip Bayless’s statement this time are the words on this page. Skip made me take time out of my life – time that I can never get back – to dispute an argument that most sports fans already know is completely false to begin with.
Skip, if you take time out of your busy schedule of finding stupid statements to shove down the throats of the viewing audience of First Take, I want to let you know that anyone who viewed the above referenced video clip live were made significantly more stupid by doing so. Thank you for killing the brain cells of the future of America.
Get more great sports analysis over at Extra Pine Tar.