Bill Simmons Rumors
Fresh off signing an extension with the Cavaliers in 2014, Kyrie Irving had successfully recruited big-name free agents to Cleveland before LeBron James announced his return. While guesting on the Bill Simmons Podcast, former Cavs GM David Griffin said that Kyrie had gotten commitments from Gordon Hayward and Trevor Ariza.
Following Cleveland’s second-round sweep of the Raptors, former Cavaliers GM David Griffin joined Bill Simmons on The Bill Simmons Podcast to discuss the genius of LeBron James and the relationship between him and ex-teammate Kyrie Irving. At the 46:35-mark of the episode, Simmons asked Griffin about James’ new penchant for circus shots in the NBA Playoffs, citing multiple unorthodox buzzer beaters. That addition to James’ arsenal may have been pulled from Irving’s playbook, Griffin believes.
Bill Simmons: He’s playing against himself and not the other people, and saying ‘Oh, I wonder if I can make this shot. I’ll try this one.’ I never remember him doing this before, do you? David Griffin: It’s funny, bringing this somewhat full circle, this is something I give Kyrie a lot of credit for. Because Kyrie was natively like that. He loved to make left-handed finishes that seemed circus-like that he had no reason to use but he would anyway. He would do it in practices, he and Shump would play one-on-one endlessly after practice, doing things like that. And LeBron sort of got in the routine of doing these weird, one-legged, left-handed sort of things, finish with spin for no reason. I think Kyrie, in a weird sort of way, really made LeBron start to think about ‘You know, there’s more that I’m capable of doing. I don’t have a left-handed runner; I can’t spin the ball off the glass.’ I think Kyrie’s talents and knack for doing things like that challenged LeBron. Bron thought and went ‘I want that,’ and he’s so damn good he can incorporate it into his own game. To me, maybe that’s the best LeBron story. There’s literally nothing you can show him that he can’t do.
Kevin Durant made an appearance on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” on Wednesday to discuss everything from his feelings about analytics to how Twitter is impacting the NBA to the Rookie of the Year race. […] One of the topics Durant talked about with Simmons was the negative impact social media is having on the NBA. Simmons prompted the discussion by talking about how players in the league don’t try to contest dunks as much because they don’t want to turn into a meme on social media. Durant: “Basketball is in a bad place because of that (social media),” Durant said. People don’t watch games because they can look at analytics on Twitter. Guys not wanting to get embarrassed because they don’t want to be on the latest meme? Come on man, what are we doing? Basketball is about getting embarrassed.”
Durant and Simmons also touched on statistics and the Warriors All-Star spoke at length about his hatred of advanced analytics. “All your blog boys and your fanboys that’s gonna use everything I say and create an article—watch a basketball game,” Durant said. “How about you write that. I just want to say that, because all these guys are gonna write articles and get real mad about what I said tonight … they’re gonna put their emotions into it. It’s not about you. Watch a basketball game. Enjoy the game. Stop worrying about me so much. I just wanted to say that. You can’t look at numbers first and then watch. (People) are lazy. They don’t want to watch games. It’s too long, it’s too hard to watch a game. There’s a bunch of coaching vultures in the game right now. It’s a bad place.’
The conversation then shifted to the Rookie of the Year race, and what Durant looks for in the rookies to become an elite player. “Donovan Mitchell took 36 shots the other night and I was just like ‘wow, he really just tried to win that game.’ Donovan Mitchell is going to learn from that 36 shot-game. It’s going to make him better, and he has the room to take 36 shots an learn from it. His coach can sit him down and be like ‘look Donovan I like your aggressiveness but 36 shots is a lot, and he’s going to figure out that he can have 35 points without taking 36 shots.”
Part of their conversation includes when Durant realized that Kyrie Irving was one of the best players in the league. It was during last year’s Finals, which was no cakewalk for Golden State despite being just a five-game series. Here’s Durant explaining how hard it is to go up against Kyrie, LeBron, and the Cavs—even if you’re on the Warriors: Durant: Do you know how hard it is to be good every night? … Do you know how hard it is to play against LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love? We couldn’t bullshit with them dudes, man. We could not. They’re too good. They’re too good to come in the game and not try to win; we couldn’t come in and say, “Alright, we’ll play in the second quarter, third quarter and win.” We couldn’t do it against those three, and the rest of the guys they had. [Iman] Shumpert was in there, Kyle Korver. We had to be on point with those dudes. If we weren’t, we were going to lose the game. That’s how talented Kyrie Irving [is]—he made me a believer last year. I liked Kyrie, but when we played against him, I’m like, “Oh shit. This guy is a king hooper.”