Bill Simmons took some heat last week for his comments about Devin Booker not playing for Team USA in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, and the media personality is defending himself over it.
On September 3, the United States beat Turkey in overtime for their second win in Group E play (they went 3-0 in the group). As the game went to overtime, Simmons tweeted about how he felt Booker was missing out by not being part of the team.
I hope Devin Booker is watching this OT game before his intense workout with some 5’9 trainer who just keeps feeding him uncontested threes. Cuz that’s a better way to prepare for the season.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) September 3, 2019
The Phoenix Suns guard responded by adding in a comment over a different Simmons tweet about Jayson Tatum getting hurt.
Booker’s point was that by not participating, he was able to avoid an injury. Some in the basketball community gave Booker “internet points” for serving Simmons an “L” in their matter, but Simmons doesn’t understand the response.
Simmons addressed the Booker matter during an appearance on Zach Lowe’s podcast, “The Lowe Post Show.”
“Here’s why this is completely absurd,” Simmons began. “And I guess this is where we are in 2019 as sports media members and fans. No longer are we allowed to be critical of any NBA player in any way. That’s the new reality of the player empowerment era.
“When I say that I thought Devin Booker should have played Team USA, why am I saying that? Am I saying that to be a d–k? Am I saying that to take a drive-by shot at him? No. I’m saying it because I think he’s really talented. And here’s his career so far: he played at the University of Kentucky for one year and they made the Final Four. That was the most important games he’s ever played in because he goes to Phoenix and he’s on lottery teams for four years. They won 17 games last year. He’s never played in a meaningful professional basketball game in his life. And I find it hard to believe that it wouldn’t make him better to play on Team USA and to have (Gregg) Popovich and Steve Kerr and all these coaches … the highlights of his career have been these meaningless scoring explosions.
“So here’s the thing: I think it would really help him career-wise to be in a situation where he’s in China, in a scary arena, with different rules, with some real adversity. … you can’t tell me it’s not helpful to be in games like that,” Simmons said.
“Me talking about this — I’m not throwing grenades at this dude. I’m disappointed that people don’t care about this more.”
While many folks online find it amusing to pile on someone — like Simmons in this case — we agree with The Ringer founder. Every point he makes is lucid and it’s hard to disagree with his argument. Booker is the same guy who complained about getting double-teamed in a pickup game, so maybe he just doesn’t like being challenged.
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