Earlier this week, former NBA star Gilbert Arenas made some interesting comments about two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Arenas basically claimed that Antetokounmpo would be a far better player if he understood the game at a deeper level.
"Give him Tim Duncan's knowledge, a whole different player isn't he?"
Longtime NBA guard Gilbert Arenas joined @RickKamlaSports & @adaniels33 to clarify his comments about Giannis.#FearTheDear pic.twitter.com/G6it9PsDoG
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 31, 2022
“I’m saying if you guys had him No. 1 or No. 2, and he does not understand this game yet, that’s scary,” Arenas said.
Understandably, Arenas received a lot of criticism for the statement. After all, a rather large faction of NBA fans and experts believe that Antetokounmpo is the best player currently playing in the NBA.
One person who Arenas get some criticism from was former NBA star Richard Jefferson. Jefferson, who is never one to mince his words, made it abundantly clear that he is not on Arenas’ side in the debate.
“Gilbert’s being a little d—, and he might it break it down like, ‘Is his 3-point shot going to be better?’” he said. “It’s like bro, okay we get it, but let’s talk about wins. Let’s talk about impact on games. Let’s talk about intensity, defense, offense. He’s the best two-way player on the planet, and it ain’t even close. It ain’t even close.”
Clearly, Jefferson holds a very different opinion of Antetokounmpo and his ability to make a difference on the court. Already in his career, Antetokounmpo has six All-NBA selections, five All-Defensive Team recognitions, two MVP awards and one NBA title.
Though Arenas may want to call his basketball IQ into question, Antetokounmpo has already accomplished far more than Arenas ever did during his time in the NBA.
Perhaps Arenas’ statements were rooted in a bit of jealousy that Antetokounmpo will go down as a far greater player. However, it’s more likely that he was simply trying to make some headlines with a somewhat outrageous statement. Though he did try to make it clear that he was not ragging on Antetokounmpo, many fans felt differently.
It will be interesting to see if Arenas feels compelled to further walk back his words or just let the story cycle out of the news naturally.