Bill Simmons is known as one of the best in the business when it comes to knowledge of NBA basketball. He wrote a 750-page “Book Of Basketball” proving as much. He worked at ESPN from 2001 to 2015, and then launched The Ringer, an extremely successful sports and pop culture website in 2016. He also hosts his own weekly podcast.
In episode 373 of The Bill Simmons Podcast released this weekend, the NBA guru brought on guests Andy Samberg and Desus & Mero to talk about the NBA Finals and basketball in general. In the process, Simmons threw in a subtle jab at Calipari’s late-game coaching ability.
It started with a discussion about Mike D’Antoni’s time with the Knicks and how each time he “got to the top of the mountain,” he always found a way to blow it, specifically at the end of games. Simmons then brought up some basketball coaches that manage to keep their cool under pressure, and others that don’t. Calipari fell in the latter category.
“Don’t you feel like there is something to a coach that seems like he’s taking a s**t in his pants in the last four minutes of a game seven?” he said. “He has that look on his face like “oooooh,” just furious. Cause I’ve always felt like with John Calipari, I wouldn’t want to play for him. Where you look at my dude Brad Stevens, he’s always calm. He might be dying inside, but you don’t see it. I think Steve Kerr is like that for the most part, and I actually think Ty Lue is like that, too. They’re just the same at all times.”
There’s no denying Stevens and Kerr are two of the calmest and collected coaches in the game. But Tyronn Lue? Maybe because he doesn’t have to do anything with LeBron James running the show. As far as pure coaching ability, especially in late-game situations, Lue is one of the worst in the NBA. Calipari has been (rightly) criticized for a few questionable moments down the stretch in the past, but let’s not compare him to Cleveland’s “head coach.”
Listen to the segment below:
What do you guys think? Is he wrong?