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Jalen Green: They hate him because he’s beautiful

There are a lot of staunch Green critics, and most of them are wrong.

NBA: Preseason-Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers
Is Jalen Green a career bench player? Can you think of a more absurd question?
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets Twitter can be something of a war of ideas. Varying opinions about Alperen Sengun and Kevin Porter Jr. can result in some pretty nasty skirmishes. Nonetheless, it’s a civil war - and when outside forces involve themselves, we unite.

That holds especially true when it comes to Jalen Green. You will not pluck a single feather from our golden goose. Recently, a pundit tried to skin him alive.

Here, David Ramil posits that Green is “trending towards... coming off the bench”. He also suggests that Green isn’t “a winning player”. He says he “hates to say it”.

Why don’t I believe him?

Listen, anyone is entitled to have reservations about Green. There are fair questions to ask about him. If his passing instincts don’t develop, can he be the best player on a serious contender? Fair question. Is he going to join the ranks of the late, great Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Dwayne Wade, or is he a plain-old Zach LaVine? Fair question!

Is he a long-term starter? Patently absurd. Devoid of journalistic integrity. It’s a question that cannot possibly be rooted in an objective pursuit of knowledge.

Of course, Ramil isn’t the only person to demonstrate flagrant disdain for Green. Why do so many people hate him?

Basketball reasons

Green’s archetype has fallen out of fashion in recent years. Everyone’s looking for a heliocentric offensive engine as a franchise player — if they can’t get a dominant two-way wing.

Green, a self-described “bucket”, may not fit either bill. Moreover, it would be hard to describe any MVP winner as a volume scorer since Kobe Bryant won the award in 2007-08.

Personally, I’d suggest that 15 years is not actually a large enough sample to draw conclusions from. It’s worth remembering that the Rockets passed on Michael Jordan because you couldn’t build an NBA team around a guard in 1984 (thank god Olajuwon was who he was). Fashion is cyclical, yet, we insist on treating it as an unending continuum. The volume scorer could still make a comeback.

On the other hand, maybe it won’t! So, “Jalen Green will compete for MVP” is a claim you can credibly make. Fine, but “Jalen Green is a long-term reserve” is an affront to logic.

If you’ve been watching him (like, at all) it’s clear that, at a minimum, he’s got the potential to join the ranks of LaVine, Devin Booker and co.

Why go to such extreme lengths to bring him down?

Non-basketball reasons

Could it possibly be the painted nails? The Paris fashion week? The simple fact that Green is better looking than your girlfriend?

Jalen Green thought he should have gone first overall in the draft. He wanted to win Rookie of the Year, and he probably wants to be a scoring champion. He’s brash, cocky, young and free.

Let’s not project our failures onto him. Some people are vaunted — the children of God. Hating them for existing reflects poorly on you. Strive to be more than you currently are, but don’t take your frustrations out on Jalen Green: especially if you aspire to objectively talk about the sport of basketball for a living.

The Big League is a big league

On that note, I aspire to objectively talk about basketball for a living. As a Dream Shake reader, you probably know me as the guy who tries to write high-brow, conceptual pieces about the Rockets (no, not Xiane - the other guy), but I actually have another job writing about the NBA as well.

So to some extent, I get it. There are 30 teams in the NBA, and it’s hard to know them all intimately. Ramil probably hasn’t caught more than a handful of full Green games. Sometimes, I have to talk about players I wish I was more knowledgeable about too.

Nobody has to love Jalen Green, but in the interest of journalistic integrity, they shouldn’t hate him, either. Moreover, they shouldn’t pencil him in for a long-term career as a bench player:

His game is much too beautiful for that.