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HomeBasketball TodayEuropean Players Take the Heat for NBA's Defensive Woes, Says Gilbert Arenas

European Players Take the Heat for NBA’s Defensive Woes, Says Gilbert Arenas

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Gilbert Arenas really said this…

Gilbert Arenas has never been shy to express his thoughts on matters concerning the current state of the NBA. Recently, however, the former All-Star might have just dropped the most ridiculous and divisive take he has ever made.

While discussing the uptick of offense in the league and the seemingly lack of defense played right now, Arenas claimed that the best way to fix the issue is to “get rid of all Europeans.” And no, the ex-Washington Wizards scorer was not joking, as he made that claim with a straight face.

Arenas then proceeded to reason out that European players don’t learn defense, as compared to American players who went to college to get down their defensive fundamentals. Agent Zero furthered that the Europeans were the reason the NBA softened the rules in order to accommodate their playing style.

“You go to college and learn defense. What college do Europeans go to? They don’t go to college whatsoever. They have no athleticism. They have no speed, no jumping ability. They are a liability on defense. They are 150 Euros in the league today, name the top 1o defenders. None! Just Rudy [Gobert] and the Greek Freak. Other than that, they are just offensive players. They’re not defensive players,” Arenas exclaimed.

“The NBA took away aggression. They took away aggression to open up the EuroLeague. When they first started getting here, it was too rough for them. They didn’t make it. Eventually, they softened the rules. They didn’t soften the rules for the Americans. They softened the rules to open up international.”

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Arenas added that the NBA is no longer an American style league, but rather Euro style. He also mentioned that amid all the talks that European players will run the league in the next five years or so, it only means “more threes, passing, cutting”–that is unless, to Arenas’ take, the league takes away the Europeans.

Gilbert Arenas’ unfounded argument

Sure enough, Gilbert Arenas’ comment is not born out of facts. It was pure opinion and bias that ignores what’s really happening in the league.

He’s probably too focused on the offensive dominance of the likes of Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic that he forgets to look at their defense as well. For what it’s worth, while the two are not game-changing defenders, they aren’t bad at all.

Of course there is also the fact that Rudy Gobert and Giannis Antetokounmpo have dominated defensively in recent years. And if Arenas is watching basketball, he’ll know that Gobert’s countryman Victor Wembanyama is one of the top defenders in the NBA. If he’s unaware, the youngster didn’t go to college in the US.

But why is Wembanyama outplaying his peers defensively when he played in Europe?

Similar to Wembanyama, while many European players didn’t go to a US college, most of them spent years playing in a professional team where defensive fundamentals are taught. Is Arenas saying that European professional basketball doesn’t teach defense as well?

Moreover, Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler won DPOY despite not going to college and jumping out of high school. During the prep-to-pro era, the last six DPOY awards were won by players who came out of high school, per DeadSpin. Jaren Jackson Jr. won DPOY last season, but he also only spent one season in college.

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To put the blame on European players for the lack of defense in the NBA is definitely an uninformed take, and something that’s not healthy for the sports world.

Besides, it’s ridiculous for Arenas to make that kind of claim, especially since he was never known to be a great defender. Arenas spent two seasons at Arizona State but never improved defensively. He was a subpar defender throughout his NBA career, which makes his accusation about European players even more surprising.

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About the Author

Angelo Guinhawa is a Senior Associate Editor at ClutchPoints. He has previously worked for FOX Sports PH and a number of reputable sports media outlets. If he’s not writing or watching sports, he’s likely scouring online for his next NBA card purchase.

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