The New Orleans Pelicans are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Western Conference playoff picture. Though there is plenty of optimism for the future with Zion Williamson performing at a star level, the Pelicans are just 27-34 this season, and it is fair to say New Orleans has at least mildly underperformed when compared to their preseason projections. However, Bill Simmons of The Ringer took things a step further on Monday, and Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy seemingly took exception.
Simmons spoke to his friend Joe House during an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast on Monday, and he expressed some pretty aggressive sentiments. Among them, Simmons suggested that Van Gundy is “the worst coach in the league” and said that the Pelicans “should just apologize to America” for their performance.
“The team that has no excuse and should just apologize to America is New Orleans,” Simmons said. “They’re 26-34. I have personally witnessed them blowing 12 games late because of bad coaching…. They just always do the wrong thing in the last four minutes of a game. Van Gundy, I think is the worst coach in the league. I really do. I think he’s the worst coach in the league. That team, they’re getting 50 points a game from Zion and Ingram. Zion is completely unstoppable at the end of the games… I just can’t believe that team is eight games under .500.”
From there, Van Gundy was prompted on Simmons’ comments, and he chose to reply.
You gon let him talk to you like this Stan? https://t.co/ueRUJQcybx
— Marquis (@MarquisNBA) April 27, 2021
Don’t concern yourself with criticism from anyone you wouldn’t take advice from.
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) April 27, 2021
Van Gundy didn’t go out of his way to quote tweet what Simmons said or fire off a full-blown rant. With that said, it is clear that he isn’t impressed with what the podcast mogul had to say, insinuating that he doesn’t “concern” himself with the opinion at hand.
Of course, Van Gundy has a lengthy track record of success at the NBA level and, even if criticism could be warranted for the team’s performance, it is certainly an outlier opinion to think he is actually at the bottom of his profession. It will be interesting to see how the Pelicans finish their 2020-21 campaign, especially with an eye toward the future, but it may be a while before Van Gundy appears on Simmons’ podcast.