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Jalen Green Is Perhaps The Perfect Mashup Of Bradley Beal And Zach LaVine

Rockets, Bradley Beal, Jalen Green

Going into Summer League, few players had more eyeballs trained on them than Houston Rockets shooting guard Jalen Green. The number two overall pick already came with a ton of expectations, but Green added his own by claiming on multiple occasions that he should have gone number one. 

Already a compelling prospect due to his athletic ability and the novelty of being a G League Ignite product, the NBA world watched closely. Although Green only got the chance to play two full Summer League games for Houston before tweaking his hamstring, there’s a lot you can take away from his performances. 


If you didn’t watch Jalen Green before Summer League, it only took a few minutes of the first game to show you that his polish as an isolation scorer wasn’t exaggerated. As a one-on-one threat, Green is the complete package. He was able to get separation at will against defenders at this level which led to different scoring opportunities in transition and in the half court.

What stood out immediately was Green’s body control when making a move against a defender. Rookie guards tend to get put off-balance against the longer, quicker, and stronger NBA defenders. However Green looked very comfortable as a ball handler in this situations, even displaying some touch that you’d see from veteran NBA guards. On this play, Jalen Green uses a hostage dribble move to trap the defender on his back and then gets the and-1 floater.

Green didn’t have many drives to the basket in this limited sample size, but the quick first step is evident as well as the acceleration on the way to the rim.

While Green did shoot the ball unsustainably well from three (52.6%), it was more impressive how comfortable he looked taking them. He took 6.3 attempts per game from beyond the arc and most of his attempts looked in rhythm. Also impressive are the diversity of shots Jalen Green takes throughout the course of a game. At this point, most have seen a clip of Green’s patented step-back three, but his work off the ball to get easy catch-and-shoot opportunities are extremely transferable and valuable in the modern NBA.


With the G League Ignite, 80.6% of the three-pointers Jalen Green made were assisted. Not only does Jalen Green curl around screens for catch-and-shoot opportunities, he’s adept at cutting to the basket. With Ignite, 46% of Green’s two-pointers were also assisted.

Every star perimeter player is valuable with the ball in their hands, but players with the ability to pose a threat without the ball have a decent edge over the field. It may benefit the Rockets to surround Jalen Green with one or two strong playmakers through the course of this rebuild to amplify this strength alone.


Defensively, Jalen Green was actually adequate in the Summer League, but it is an area where he needs to make strides in. Despite how productive Green was in the G League, the Ignite were still a -7.7 per 100 possessions when he was on the floor. This was largely due to his inattention as an off the ball defender. 

Green’s effort actually doesn’t waiver that much, but the average wingspan doesn’t leave much room for error. While Green can improve with NBA reps and film work, it’s hard to project him being anything more than an average defender in the league at this point.

The biggest hole in Green’s offensive game is his proficiency in the pick and roll. It was always a worry going into the NBA, but it reared its ugly head for the masses in that first quarter against the Summer League Pistons. Green scored pretty efficiently off of screens against Cleveland so Detroit wise chose to blitz his pick and roll in the following game. The Pistons forced him into three turnovers in just the first quarter. 

In Green’s defense, he only turned the ball over once in the following three quarters and finished with a pretty efficient scoring performance anyways (25 points, 6-of-11 shooting from the field, 3-of-5 shooting from three-point range, and 10-of-11 from the free throw line). However, the best guards in the NBA today have at least average playmaking ability. If Green is to ever get to that level, he will need to improve as a pick and roll operator. This starts with simple things like tightening up his handle and surveying the floor more frequently in the halfcourt. 

Comparisons and how the Rockets should build around Green

As talented of a prospect as Jalen Green is, there have been similar player archetypes  in the NBA before. The accomplished version of Green falls into the shooting guard spectrum somewhere between Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal. Green’s experience in the G League may give him a leg up developmentally, but Green’s passing chops aren’t quite as instinctual as other guard prospects like Cade Cunningham or LaMelo Ball. Things could change, but right now it’s hard to project Green being the hub of a high-powered offense like Luka Doncic, James Harden, or Stephen Curry.

This doesn’t mean you can’t build a championship roster around the idealized version of Green. It just has to be well thought out and carefully constructed. The Rockets will need to find a strong playmaker to pair with Green at some point in their rebuild. The way Phoenix paired Chris Paul with Devin Booker is an excellent example of this type of roster ingenuity. Last season, Paul shouldered some of the playmaking elements that weren’t Booker’s strong suit and it was obviously a very successful dynamic. Much like what the Rockets did with James Harden in 2018, Green will also need to be surrounded by a plethora of high-level defenders when it becomes time to win for Houston.


It may just be Summer League, but Jalen Green averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 70.7% true shooting in just 24.1 minutes per game. It’s hard not to be extremely impressed by how smooth he seemed to transition into playing at NBA game speed. The experience he earned with the Ignite program clearly played a role in this and it wouldn’t be surprising if Green becomes the poster boy for opting out of college for professional basketball out of high school.

Weaknesses aside, Green looked like the clear number two overall pick in a really talented rookie class. The refinement and comfort level he has as a scoring prospect already is something you can’t say for any of the top prospects outside of Cade Cunningham. The All-Star ceiling is clearly there and regardless of who you want to compare Jalen Green to, Rockets fans have something really special to be excited about this upcoming season.

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