Bill Simmons calls out Booker for not playing on Team USA

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Bill Simmons apparently watched USA Basketball on Tuesday morning. Instead of leaving players not on the roster out of his observations of the game, he instead called out Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.

In the wee hours of the morning, Team USA narrowly edged out a 93-92 overtime win over Turkey in game two of the FIBA World Cup. This was the US’s the closest win in 13 years, yet extends their win streak in major tournaments to 45. Bill Simmons’ takeaway, however, seems to be that Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker should have been playing in it.

By all accounts, the Turkish battle was an incredible game with a dramatic finish. It required Jason Tatum to sink two out of three free throws to send it into overtime and Kris Middleton to sink two at the end of the extra period to clinch it.

Miles Turner called it one of the best games he’d ever played in, and the Nets’ Joe Harris claiming his adrenaline was still rushing well after the game even ended.

While most experts viewed the game as either a gutsy win or a sign of vulnerability, depending on where they fall on the optimism meter, Bill Simmons was quick to seize this opportunity to take shots at…Devin Booker.

Wait, what?

First of all, Booker doesn’t exclusively train by having undersized ball boys chest pass open 3’s to him on repeat.

He works on his one-on-one moves at open gyms and then complains about getting double teamed.

Simmons, whose beloved Boston Celtics compose about 25% of the Team USA roster, live-tweeted most of the game, likely because he sees this performance as something he can extrapolate to his team’s regular season.

This low-blow against someone completely uninvolved was likely an in-the-moment brain spasm from a competitive fan.

We’ve all been that guy at one point, complaining about a player who sat out due to an “illness,” “personal reasons,” or “rest” only because the game he missed was close and team could have used him.

A member of the USA Select Team in 2016 and added to the USA National Team pool in 2018, Booker, on paper, seemed like a good candidate to represent his country at the FIBA World Cup this summer.

It’s easy to argue he could have, and should have played.

Fine, but make that same argument about all the other top-tier guys who sat out because they wanted to, “focus on the upcoming regular season,” whatever that means.

In fact, the only NBA star who has a legitimate excuse to sit this World Cup out is Enes Kanter because he could literally be assassinated, considering he is an enemy of the state to his motherland, Turkey.

With the assumption that a dictatorial murder plot is not a concern or any US-born NBA player, risk of injury is one of the major reasons guys like Booker chose not to make the nearly 7,000 mile flight to China this summer, a point Booker himself brilliantly stated as he quoted another one of Bill Simmons’ morning tweets about Jason Tatum injuring his ankle during the game.

Those praying hands may as well be middle finger emojis directed at the Boston homer.

Kudos to the cleverness of stating why Bill Simmons can go shove it with nothing more than a genuine shout out to his NBA peer wishing him good vibes following an injury.

Booker has already been the target of some ill-founded offseason criticism, so perhaps Simmons saw this an easy opportunity to pile on.

Then again, he might not be over that one time Book hung 70 at the Garden.

Other than that, there’s really no reason Booker stands out amongst the umpteen other NBA players who gave Team USA figurative praying hands emojis this summer.

If any country should be irked at its stars lack of participation, look at Team Canada. The team has already been eliminated largely due to the fact the most talented guys eligible to wear the maple leaf, Andrew Wiggins, RJ Barrett, Jamal Murray and Tristan Thompson all stayed home.

However, you still aren’t hearing the Canadian version of Bill Simmons saying, “Ooo, that Jamal Murray isn’t up for some world competition, eh? What’s that all aboot?”

Moreover, if Booker were to have played, I’m sure Simmons would be the first to condemn him when Team USA suffers its first loss in a major tournament since 2006, a scenario that looks increasingly likely after today. (It may even come at the hands of a Ricky Rubio-led Spanish team.)

Next. The Phoenix Suns should re-sign Joe Johnson. dark

The underlying truism is that Simmons’ tweet played like that of an immature fanboy, which, to be fair, is kind of his shtick. Booker played if off great, because, in today’s social media era, that’s what superstars do.