Gilbert Arenas, Ryan Hollins defend Rockets rookie Jalen Green from Bill Simmons criticism

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Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas and Houston’s current TV analyst, Ryan Hollins, teamed up to defend Rockets rookie Jalen Green after recent criticism by NBA columnist, podcaster, and awards voter Bill Simmons.

In profane remarks, Simmons said he did not vote Green to the All-Rookie First Team ⁠— despite an electric and historic scoring stretch to end the 2021-22 season ⁠— and suggested that Green is not a “winning player.”

In a subsequent appearance on the “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas” show, Hollins and the three-time NBA All-Star had this exchange once the subject of Simmons’ harsh commentary was brought up.

Hollins: This is what I challenge. For one, know the direction of the organization which you’re seeing. Because the choice was to give these young fellows a chance to develop and play. Jalen Green became a better defender. He learned how to play off the basketball, and he started to learn how to use his speed. And I would challenge anybody who feels that way to go watch Rockets basketball, and then break it down. Because I’ve seen every game.

Arenas: That’s a bad tag. He doesn’t play ‘winning basketball.’ Who does, at 19, on a sorry team? The job is, technically, for them not to win. I need them to develop. … He has to learn. That’s why it’s a bad tag, because the reason we’re playing them is so they can learn. I need him to learn how to win. Go up 20, they come back, I’m not subbing him out. That was the point, this year. To understand winning, to understand losing, and the process of it all.

Hollins: There’s a difference in winning plays… the dude who dives first to the floor, sets the screen, takes charges. I saw him (Green) start to make those plays.

In his original comments, Simmons appeared to deem New Orleans rookie Herb Jones, who is playing now in the 2022 NBA playoffs, as more of a winning player than Green. Then again, Jones joined a team with big-name veterans like Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum to carry the load and take on larger responsibilities, which allowed him to be a specialist.

Green, on the other hand, was a 19-year-old joining a squad with the league’s worst record last season — and that was before shutting down five-time All-Star floor general John Wall! Apples, meet oranges.

The full segment on the Simmons/Green debate can be viewed below.

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