DiscoverThe Bill Simmons PodcastThe 12 Remaining NBA Questions With Rob Mahoney and Chris Ryan
The 12 Remaining NBA Questions With Rob Mahoney and Chris Ryan

The 12 Remaining NBA Questions With Rob Mahoney and Chris Ryan

Update: 2024-06-204
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The episode begins with a discussion about the Celtics' championship win and the surprising focus on the Finals MVP vote over the team's overall success. The hosts delve into the reasons behind this, including the open question of who deserved the award and the natural pivot point in the series once the Celtics' dominance became clear. They also explore the potential trickle-down effect of the NBA's focus on individual narratives, even over team success. The conversation then shifts to Jalen Brown's breakout season, highlighting his development as a top-15 player and his newfound consistency and physicality. The hosts discuss the Celtics' system and how it allows both Tatum and Brown to thrive, while also acknowledging that Tatum may still have another level to reach. The episode concludes with a broader discussion about the league's changing landscape, with the rise of mid-seeded teams making deep playoff runs and the impact of injuries on player rankings. The hosts also debate the merits of various awards, including the Finals MVP, and propose a new playoff MVP award to better reflect the entire postseason. The hosts then transition into a discussion about the upcoming season, speculating on potential 'crash the party' teams, those who could make unexpected deep runs in the playoffs. They discuss the impact of the luxury tax apron on teams' strategies and the potential for trades and roster moves. The conversation also touches on the future of the Dallas Mavericks, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Houston Rockets, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses and the potential for them to make significant moves in the offseason. The episode concludes with a discussion about the upcoming Olympics and the potential for Team USA to be a dominant force, despite the absence of some key players.

Outlines

00:00:00
Intro and Celtics Championship Discussion

This Chapter begins with the hosts discussing the Celtics' championship win and the surprising focus on the Finals MVP vote over the team's overall success. They delve into the reasons behind this, including the open question of who deserved the award and the natural pivot point in the series once the Celtics' dominance became clear. They also explore the potential trickle-down effect of the NBA's focus on individual narratives, even over team success.

00:01:17
Jalen Brown's Breakout Season

This Chapter focuses on Jalen Brown's breakout season, highlighting his development as a top-15 player and his newfound consistency and physicality. The hosts discuss the Celtics' system and how it allows both Tatum and Brown to thrive, while also acknowledging that Tatum may still have another level to reach.

00:47:39
The Rise of Mid-Seeded Teams

This Chapter explores the league's changing landscape, with the rise of mid-seeded teams making deep playoff runs and the impact of injuries on player rankings. The hosts also debate the merits of various awards, including the Finals MVP, and propose a new playoff MVP award to better reflect the entire postseason.

00:54:36
Predicting 'Crash the Party' Teams

This Chapter delves into the upcoming season, with the hosts speculating on potential 'crash the party' teams, those who could make unexpected deep runs in the playoffs. They discuss the impact of the luxury tax apron on teams' strategies and the potential for trades and roster moves.

01:04:58
The Luxury Tax Apron and its Impact

This Chapter focuses on the luxury tax apron and its potential impact on teams' strategies. The hosts discuss the penalties associated with exceeding the apron and how it could influence teams' decisions regarding trades and roster moves.

01:12:47
Kyrie Irving's Rating

This Chapter explores the hosts' perspectives on Kyrie Irving's performance and his overall rating as a player. They discuss his strengths and weaknesses, his impact on the Dallas Mavericks, and his potential for future success.

01:19:06
The Bronny James Draft Scenario

This Chapter delves into a hypothetical scenario involving Bronny James entering the NBA draft and the Celtics potentially selecting him with their 30th pick. The hosts discuss the potential trade value of Bronny and the implications for the Celtics and other teams.

01:22:39
Lakers vs. Celtics: Title Count Debate

This Chapter explores the ongoing debate about the Lakers and Celtics' respective title counts, considering the Lakers' inclusion of their Minneapolis titles and the historical context of franchise moves.

01:28:10
The Evolution of Basketball Media Culture

This Chapter reflects on the evolution of basketball media culture, comparing the current landscape with the era of Grantland and the emergence of social media platforms like Twitter. The hosts discuss the impact of these changes on the way basketball is consumed and analyzed.

01:32:07
The Impact of Great Playoffs on Media Coverage

This Chapter explores the potential challenges of maintaining engaging and insightful basketball media coverage when the playoffs deliver truly great games and series. The hosts discuss the potential for oversaturation and the need to find new angles and perspectives.

01:34:21
Team USA and the Olympics

This Chapter focuses on the upcoming Olympics and the potential for Team USA to be a dominant force, despite the absence of some key players. The hosts discuss the team's roster, the potential for individual players to make a significant impact, and the overall dynamics of the team.

Keywords

Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They are one of the most successful teams in NBA history, having won 17 championships. The Celtics are known for their rich history, their passionate fan base, and their iconic green and white uniforms. They are also known for their rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, which is considered one of the greatest rivalries in sports history.

Jason Tatum
Jason Tatum is an American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics. He is a three-time NBA All-Star and was named the 2023 NBA Finals MVP. Tatum is known for his scoring ability, his versatility, and his clutch play. He is considered one of the best young players in the NBA and is a potential future MVP.

Jalen Brown
Jalen Brown is an American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics. He is a two-time NBA All-Star and was a key contributor to the Celtics' 2023 championship win. Brown is known for his athleticism, his scoring ability, and his defensive prowess. He has emerged as a top-15 player in the NBA and is a valuable asset to the Celtics.

NBA Finals MVP
The NBA Finals MVP is awarded to the player who is deemed to have been the most valuable player in the NBA Finals. The award is given to the player who has had the most impact on their team's success in the series. The Finals MVP is one of the most prestigious awards in basketball and is a testament to a player's skill, talent, and leadership.

Parity
Parity in sports refers to the relative balance of power between teams in a league. A league with high parity is one where there are many teams that have a chance to win the championship. This can make the league more exciting and unpredictable, as there are no clear favorites. Parity can be influenced by factors such as salary cap rules, player movement, and the development of young players.

Playoff MVP
A proposed award to recognize the most valuable player throughout the entire NBA playoffs, not just the Finals. This would acknowledge the contributions of players who excel over a longer period of the postseason, potentially highlighting players who might not reach the Finals but have a significant impact on their team's success.

Luxury Tax Apron
The luxury tax apron is a threshold in the NBA's salary cap system that imposes additional penalties on teams that exceed it. Teams that exceed the apron face restrictions on their ability to sign players and make trades, as well as a higher luxury tax rate. The apron is designed to discourage teams from spending excessively on salaries and to promote competitive balance in the league.

Crash the Party
A term used in sports to describe a team that makes an unexpected deep run in the playoffs, often exceeding expectations and challenging the established contenders. These teams often have a combination of talent, chemistry, and a bit of luck that allows them to overcome adversity and make a significant impact in the postseason.

Bronny James
Bronny James is the son of NBA legend LeBron James. He is a high school basketball player who is considered a top prospect for the 2024 NBA draft. Bronny is known for his athleticism, his ball-handling skills, and his ability to play both guard positions. He is expected to be a first-round pick in the draft and is a highly sought-after prospect by NBA teams.

Team USA
Team USA is the national basketball team of the United States. The team is known for its dominance in international basketball competitions, having won numerous Olympic gold medals and FIBA World Cup championships. Team USA is comprised of the best NBA players in the world and is a symbol of American basketball excellence.

Q&A

  • Why was the Finals MVP debate more prominent than the Celtics' championship win?

    The hosts attribute this to the open question of who deserved the award, the natural shift in focus once the Celtics' dominance became clear, and the overall trend in the NBA towards emphasizing individual narratives over team success.

  • How has Jalen Brown's game evolved this season?

    Brown has become a more consistent and physically imposing player, developing into a top-15 player in the league. He's shown improved scoring, defense, and a willingness to attack the basket, making him a valuable asset to the Celtics.

  • What is the significance of the rise of mid-seeded teams in the playoffs?

    This trend suggests a shift towards greater parity in the NBA, where teams are less focused on securing a top seed and more comfortable with mid-seed status. This creates a more unpredictable and exciting playoff landscape.

  • What are the arguments for and against a new playoff MVP award?

    The hosts argue that a playoff MVP award would better recognize the contributions of players who excel over the entire postseason, not just the Finals. However, they also acknowledge the difficulty in determining the most valuable player across multiple rounds and the potential for controversy.

  • How does the Celtics' system impact the development of Tatum and Brown?

    The Celtics' system, focused on spacing and versatility, allows both Tatum and Brown to thrive. While Tatum is considered the more versatile player, Brown's development has been crucial to the team's success.

  • What is the 'Matt Stafford versus Matt Ryan' theory?

    This theory compares Tatum to Matt Stafford, a quarterback who has had success in the playoffs but may not reach the same level as a player like Patrick Mahomes. The theory suggests that Tatum, while already a great player, may have another level to reach.

  • What is the '42 Club' and how does it relate to Tatum?

    The '42 Club' is a group of players who have averaged at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists in a single season. Tatum, who was on track to join the club, fell short in the Finals, highlighting the difficulty of achieving such consistent performance.

  • How does the league's depth impact the playoff landscape?

    The increased depth of the league has led to more unpredictable playoff runs, with mid-seeded teams having a greater chance of making deep runs. This creates a more exciting and competitive environment.

  • What are the challenges of ranking players like Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid?

    The hosts discuss the difficulty of ranking players who are prone to injuries, as their potential is often limited by their availability. They acknowledge that while these players may be incredibly talented, their durability impacts their overall ranking.

  • What are the hosts' thoughts on the future of the Celtics?

    The hosts believe that the Celtics have a bright future, with Tatum and Brown forming a formidable duo. However, they also acknowledge that Tatum may need to take another step forward to reach his full potential and lead the team to even greater heights.

  • What is the luxury tax apron and how does it impact teams?

    The luxury tax apron is a threshold in the NBA's salary cap system that imposes additional penalties on teams that exceed it. Teams that exceed the apron face restrictions on their ability to sign players and make trades, as well as a higher luxury tax rate. The apron is designed to discourage teams from spending excessively on salaries and to promote competitive balance in the league.

  • What are some of the potential 'crash the party' teams for the upcoming season?

    The hosts discuss several teams that could make unexpected deep runs in the playoffs, including the Dallas Mavericks, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Houston Rockets. They highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each team and the potential for them to make significant moves in the offseason.

  • What is the significance of the upcoming Olympics for Team USA?

    The hosts discuss the potential for Team USA to be a dominant force in the Olympics, despite the absence of some key players. They highlight the team's roster, the potential for individual players to make a significant impact, and the overall dynamics of the team.

  • What is the hosts' perspective on Kyrie Irving's performance and rating?

    The hosts discuss Kyrie Irving's strengths and weaknesses, his impact on the Dallas Mavericks, and his potential for future success. They acknowledge his dazzling moments but also highlight his limitations as a player.

  • What is the hypothetical scenario involving Bronny James entering the NBA draft?

    The hosts discuss a hypothetical scenario involving Bronny James entering the NBA draft and the Celtics potentially selecting him with their 30th pick. They discuss the potential trade value of Bronny and the implications for the Celtics and other teams.

  • What is the ongoing debate about the Lakers and Celtics' respective title counts?

    The hosts explore the ongoing debate about the Lakers and Celtics' respective title counts, considering the Lakers' inclusion of their Minneapolis titles and the historical context of franchise moves.

  • How has basketball media culture evolved in recent years?

    The hosts reflect on the evolution of basketball media culture, comparing the current landscape with the era of Grantland and the emergence of social media platforms like Twitter. They discuss the impact of these changes on the way basketball is consumed and analyzed.

  • What are the potential challenges of maintaining engaging and insightful basketball media coverage when the playoffs deliver truly great games and series?

    The hosts discuss the potential for oversaturation and the need to find new angles and perspectives when the playoffs deliver truly great games and series.

Show Notes

The Ringer's Bill Simmons is joined by Chris Ryan and Rob Mahoney to unload a ton of NBA Finals big-picture thoughts. They talk about how the Finals MVP seemed to eclipse the Celtics' title and a truly weird postseason (1:33 ); Jaylen Brown's ascension, Kristaps Porzingis's image rehab, and NBA awards tweaks (20:27 ); what's next for Jayson Tatum, and which team could "crash the playoff party" next season (43:30 ); whether this was the Mavericks' big chance and "Kyrie Irving: over/under/properly rated?" Plus, Lakers vs. Celtics franchise legacy, and more (1:06:21 )!


Host: Bill Simmons

Guests: Chris Ryan and Rob Mahoney

Producer: Kyle Crichton

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The 12 Remaining NBA Questions With Rob Mahoney and Chris Ryan

The 12 Remaining NBA Questions With Rob Mahoney and Chris Ryan

The Ringer