3 reasons Jalen Green is a perfect fit for the Rockets
Jalen Green might not have the same kind of national profile as other prospects in the upcoming NBA draft, but he is the perfect choice for the Houston Rockets with the No. 2 overall selection.
Nothing is assured at this point in the pre-draft process, but there is a general expectation the Detroit Pistons will make Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham the No. 1 overall pick. That leaves the Rockets with an interesting choice at No. 2.
It’s entirely possible Houston could opt for USC center Evan Mobley. Doing so would give the Rockets a monstrous and skilled frontcourt, with both Mobley and Christian Wood having the ability to stretch the floor, handle the ball and protect the rim.
However, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported a number of persons around the NBA feel Green would be a more ideal fit in Houston:
“Multiple people around the league love the idea of Green fitting in Houston, mainly because of the potential for stardom down the line and the backcourt fit with Kevin Porter Jr,” Iko wrote.
So, why is Green the best option for the Rockets at No. 2? Let’s take a look at three reasons Houston should select the G League Ignite star.
3. Interchangeable Rockets wings
As Iko noted, league insiders appear to see something projectable with a backcourt duo of Green and Kevin Porter Jr.
A Green-Porter pairing is enticing, but not just because of who they could be as a backcourt. The two could form a wing partnership similar to that of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with the Boston Celtics.
Now, this is not to say Green and Porter will have as profound an impact or as much stardom as either Tatum or Brown. The Celtics stars also have more size.
However, Porter has some experience playing the small forward spot, and Green’s own size and length give him the aura of a guy who could thrive playing small forward.
Drafting Green could give Rockets head coach Stephen Silas options with his rotations. He could start Green as a bigger 2-guard while using Porter to space the floor and occasionally make plays off the bounce, or opt for Green at the small forward.
Regardless, the scoring ability both Green and Porter have at the wing spots would afford the Rockets plenty options when it comes to rotations and points of attack.
2. Certified bucket-getter
The Rockets really struggled to create offense last season.
Houston ranked 24th in scoring average and 27th in offensive rating. Some of that can be attributed to Wood’s lengthy absence, but the Rockets often lacked a steady scoring option in the half court.
Green can be that guy.
The Ignite star has tremendous scoring upside. He averaged 17.9 points per contests in 15 games during the G League bubble, shooting over 46 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from deep on nearly six attempts per game.
Green’s shooting has improved drastically since his days as a prep star. He shows more confidence in pulling the trigger from deep and is becoming more assertive in finding ways to create off the dribble and get off clean looks.
Speaking of the handle, that skill could really make Green a star. The Merced, California native is incredibly explosive when he gets into the lane and can finish through contact at the rim. His ability to break defenders down in one-on-one matchups and get to the cup could make him all the more dangerous if the shooting stroke continues to improve.
The Rockets need a guy who can bail the offense out and go get a bucket when the shot clock ticks down. Porter showed signs of being that kind of bucket-getter towards the end of the season, and Green can have a similar impact.
1. Taking pressure off John Wall
Perhaps one of the best arguments for drafting another backcourt player, notably one with Green’s skill set, is it would take pressure off John Wall.
The Rockets ran just about everything through Wall this past season. His usage rate soared close to 32 percent. That might not seem like anything excessive given some of the usage rates in today’s game, but it’s a pretty high mark for a guy who was coming off multiple debilitating injuries in the last couple seasons.
There’s also this: Wall is at his best when he can be more of a drive-and-kick facilitator.
Make no mistake about it, Wall can score. However, it’s unlikely the Rockets can win and see drastic improvement with Wall as the No. 1 option. He’s better suited as a guy who can move the ball in transition and operate in pick-and-roll so as to make plays for teammates.
In order for the Rockets to lessen the burden on Wall’s shoulders, they need backcourt players who can stay on the ball and create their own offense. Thus, it stands to reason Green would be the guy for Houston.
There are reasons to like the idea of a possible Wood-Mobley frontcourt. However, Green’s ability to free things up for Wall and potentially help the Rockets win in the immediate sense–not to mention his star upside as a dynamic wing–might make him the better option for Houston as it tries to right the ship.
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