Upon hearing that Houston Rockets third-year guard Jalen Green was invited to train with the Team USA Select squad, the collective response from Rockets fans was one of excitement. After all, Green was going to be scrimmaging against some of the league's best players, such as Anthony Edwards, Jalen Jackson Jr., Jalen Brunson, and Brandon Ingram.
Green ultimately didn't make the Olympic team, but again, three days of going against some of the best players in the league was well worth it. But Green not making the team may not have been a bad thing, based on Team USA coach Steve Kerr's handling of Ingram, which Ingram has laid out pretty clearly.
“This is totally different than what I am used to. The team is winning right now, so I can’t be selfish thinking about myself. But it’s a little frustrating right now for me, and I’m just trying to figure out ways I can be effective."
How Jalen Green was spared from unnecessary toxicity
It's easy to see how Green would've had the same experience. Just listen to Team USA managing director Grant Hill, who spoke about Green after he didn't make the cut.
“Part of the good and the bad of the select team, I guess, is that we ask them to play a certain way, so he maybe didn’t get a chance to play like (he) normally plays....A skilled and really talented player, he might not have been featured as much."
This is exactly what Ingram is dealing with, and it's seemingly the root of his frustration. Team USA is littered with uber-talented players, so it can be difficult for individually talented players to have a large role or be heavily featured.
Green, in particular, is used to having the ball in his hands and having the freedom on the court to cook defenders, as evident by his 18 shot attempts per game last season. The stakes are much different in the FIBA gauntlet, which has been evident with Ingram.
Not only has Ingram struggled offensively, he's struggled to simply get shots. Furthermore, Ingram got demoted to the second unit.
If Ingram, a 25-point scorer on average, has struggled to secure a role on Team USA, one would surmise that Green, who is less proven, would have the same struggles.
And who's to say this experience may not alter Ingram's confidence once the 2023-24 NBA season starts? Rockets fans have even seen players struggle to regain their confidence after dismal showings in the Summer League, so just imagine how one can be affected even greater on a larger scale.
In this regard, Grant Hill and the other members of the committee may have saved Green.