Why do the Rockets live rent-free in Bill Simmons’ head?

Bill Simmons (Photo by Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
Bill Simmons (Photo by Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair) /

Over the years, the Houston Rockets have developed a bevy of skeptics and naysayers, for one reason or another. One of the Rockets’ most vocal critics has been The Ringer‘s Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN.

Simmons has had a long-standing dislike towards the Rockets, and a quick scroll of his past tweets makes it blatantly obvious. Take last season, for example, when Simmons was complaining about the Rockets being unentertaining to watch, due to their heavy isolation offense under Mike D’Antoni and their microball strategy.

“On offense, we’ll have 4 guys standing around watching the 5th guy dribble for 20 seconds. On defense, we’ll give up all semblance of rebounding and shot blocking. We’ve got this.”

— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 7, 2020

It should also be noted that the Rockets beat the Boston Celtics on that same day, who Simmons is a big fan of.

Why do the Houston Rockets live rent-free in Bill Simmons’ head?

Simmons also erroneously chimed in on James Harden’s trade request earlier in the season, saying that any trade possibility of James Harden being sent to the Brooklyn Nets had been shot down, strangely citing Mike D’Antoni as the reason.

“I heard Brooklyn cooled off on Harden. I think one reason was D’Antoni.

He was kinda like ‘We’re good. Keep what you have.’ I think [Harden] presents some problems.”

This appeared to be wishful thinking, as Simmons likely didn’t want Harden dealt to Brooklyn, because it would have weakened Boston’s trek to make it out of the Eastern Conference. Simmons also made the infamous comments about James Harden racking up “cheap assists” (whatever that means).

The latest tweet involving Simmons and the Rockets came on Wednesday, where he was criticizing the Rockets’ return from the very trade that sent Harden to Brooklyn.

This is hilarious. What they got back from the Harden trade was historically, comically, unfathomably bad and this dude is excited.https://t.co/R6O3yD0Y62

— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 12, 2021

This might be the worst of Simmons’ tweets about the Rockets, as it’s far too soon to assess the Rockets’ return, considering the draft picks that the Rockets netted from the move, which are outlined below:

  • 2022 unprotected first-round pick
  • 2024 unprotected first-round pick
  • 2026 unprotected first-round pick

In addition, the Rockets received the right to swap draft picks in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027. So how can these picks be judged when they are years away from being used?

In addition, it’s highly likely that the Nets’ superstar trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden won’t be together four years from now. In fact, there’s been speculation that the trio may not be together after 2022, as they will each become free agents (assuming Harden exercises his player- option).

But aside from that, Simmons having this stance on the Harden trade means he hasn’t learned his lesson from the past.

Here's @billsimmons in 2013 on the Celtics trading KG and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for future picks.

The "meaningless draft picks" ended up being Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Collin Sexton (traded for Kyrie Irving). https://t.co/YfR0CvnlIT pic.twitter.com/VxiPmrh9Ik

— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) May 12, 2021

This involves the Celtics’ return for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, who were ironically also sent to Brooklyn in 2013. In that trade, the Celtics landed a 2014 first-round draft pick, a 2016 first-round draft pick, a 2017 first-round draft pick, and a 2018 first-round draft pick, which Simmons described as “meaningless draft picks.”

This haul netted All-Stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, while also producing Collin Sexton, who was drafted by the Cavaliers, after they obtained the pick in the Kyrie Irving trade. If the Rockets can draft a similar caliber of players with those picks they got from Brooklyn, they’ll gladly accept having made a “historically, comically, and unfathomably bad” trade.

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But that won’t be determined for at least another 6 years, so Simmons would be best to stop allowing the Houston Rockets to live rent-free in his head.