Celtics Nation -- indeed, New England Sports Nation -- is still buzzing over Bill Simmons' takedown of Danny Ainge (and Glenn Ordway, and Kevin McHale, and Tommy Heinsohn, and many others) on grantland.com Thursday.
The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan is friendly with Simmons; he even announced his retirement on Simmons' podcast a few weeks back. And he made clear that "I do not wish to get into a public hissing contest with a man, against whom I could not possibly win due to his enormous following. Okay?"
But on Uno's Sports Tonight Thursday, Ryan took issue with Simmons for one fundamental reason:
"Here's . . . the difference between what Bill Simmons does, and who he is, and what reporters for media outlets do. Though he's bombarding us with a tremendous amount of data, at core, he's emotional. He is a Celtic fan. Self-proclaimed, there's no ambiguity, he never denies it. He's writing from the standpoint of a jilted-lover fan. An angry fan who, in my opinion, is unrealistically greedy."
And he's unrealistically greedy . . . because?
"This is the fifth year of a three-year plan," said Ryan, referring to the fact that the Paul PierceKevin GarnettRay Allen core was supposed to have a three-year run when it was assembled in 2007-08. "We've already gotten one extra year that produced . . . a playoff run in 2010-11.
"And the third year, two years ago, came within 94 seconds, four possessions . . . of winning the championship, okay? Ninety-four seconds. Are we having this conversation if those 94 seconds had been altered to a degree that the Celtics could have won that game? The answer is no."
Ryan admits that many of Simmons' points about bad trades and botched signings are legitimate -- though "he omits the Brandon Bass trade for Glen Davis, which I think was a good one. . . and Mickael Pietrus is a good signing, contingent on health, I grant you that" -- but doesn't want to hear the complaints about passing over certain players in the draft.
"There's a million of those stories," said Ryan. "Those things happen all the time. We can site that for every team. For every guy who went in the second round or late in the first, all these teams passed them in every draft, in every sport, every year . . . You can play that game with everybody! That's not a fair game!"
"It's a vicious attack that is very humorous . . . Simmons works hard at this stuff. But . . . it's still written from the viewpoint of somebody who is too emotionally involved, in my opinion."