Bill Simmons

The Houston Rockets won’t be taking part in the 2022 NBA Playoffs. However, the franchise does have a decent shot at one or two postseason awards.

Specifically, Rockets guard Jalen Green has made a case for the 2021-22 All-Rookie First Team given his historic scoring streak. The No. 2 overall pick last year also finished as the NBA’s second-leading rookie scorer with 17.3 points per game and concluded the season with a 41-point performance.

Plenty of NBA pundits are impressed with Green’s performance and there’s a strong case to be made that he’s in the mix for that top rookie team alongside Detroit’s Cade Cunningham, Cleveland’s Evan Mobley, Toronto’s Scottie Barnes, and Orlando’s Franz Wagner. The big question is whether or not Green will garner more votes than New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones, who has made a solid case of his own thanks to strong defensive play.

You can count The Ringer’s Bill Simmons as Team Jones when it comes to his vote for the NBA Awards. While discussing the All-Rookie Team on Wednesday’s episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, the host did not mince words on where he stands when it comes to his vote.

“F–k Jalen Green,” Simmons said. “I don’t care you’re scoring 40 points and your team’s 19-60. Congratulations. Herb Jones is like guarding dudes in real games.

“Now, the Houston people are going to be mad at me. I’m sorry. I like winning players, I’m sorry. Jalen Green will get there, it’s just that team was 21-61 this year or whatever.”

It’s worth noting that Simmons did come around later in the podcast to say that he is “pro-Jalen Green” and thinks he is a good player, just not one of the five best rookies this season.

“I just didn’t think he was one of the five best rookies, but we also had an iconic rookie class,” Simmons said. “I think that’s one of the best rookie classes we’ve had.”

The whole thing is less noteworthy for the hot take than for the fact that Simmons is among the journalists and broadcasters who get a vote for the NBA Awards each year. And while everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions, it’s seen by some as bad taste for a voter to offer up such a degrading critique of an NBA player when you have that kind of authority.

These postseason awards often figure into player contract incentives as well, which makes the comments feel a bit distasteful given their potential financial impact.

It’s not the same thing but NFL journalist Hub Arkash got in hot water this past season when he said he wouldn’t vote Aaron Rodgers for MVP because the quarterback is the “biggest jerk.” And while there were certainly plenty of people who didn’t enjoy Rodgers’ comments off the field, it didn’t sit well with many that Arkash would publicly voice his vote in that manner.

There was a strong reaction to Simmons’ comments on social media and The Ringer founder even took to Twitter to defend himself over it.

“My point was: I’m always leaning toward a rookie like Herb Jones who was meaningfully contributing to a decent team over someone putting up stats on a bad team,” wrote Simmons. “Jalen is gonna be excellent.”

For the record, Cade Cunningham, who will undoubtedly make the All-Rookie First Team, plays for a team that won 22 games this season. We’re guessing that didn’t factor into Simmons’ vote, however.  So perhaps some further clarification may be needed, though it will probably make little difference for Rockets fans.

[Chron, Bill Simmons Podcast]

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.