Reason #1 why the Houston Rockets should select Jalen Green in the NBA Draft: Most upside
Jalen Green has stood heads and tails above his peers for ages. He was ranked by ESPN as the number one high school recruit in the class of 2020 and has represented the USA in international competition since 2017, earning MVP honors at the 2018 FIBA under-17 Basketball World Cup.
Green has been on the NBA’s radar for ages, which makes his age relative to his recruiting class all the more impressive. Green was born on February 9th, 2002 and at 19 years and four and half months old he is the youngest of this draft’s top quartet of himself, Cunningham, Mobley, and Suggs.
Studies have long found that older players are more likely to make it in professional sports. If there is an age cut-off, players who are older, relative to the cut-off, are usually better represented. Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs were both born in June of 2001, meaning they were 18 for the entirety of their final high school recruiting season.
Cade Cunningham, born in September of 2001, also experienced a slight age-related boost relative to his peers. Green on the other hand didn’t have an age advantage over his competition and in many cases was one of the younger players.
While professional sports tend to be populated by players with favorable birthdays, players that are elite in their sport tend to come from those with the least favorable birthdays. The phenomenon is known as the underdog effect.
Green not only checks the traditional prospect boxes but he also checks the underdog box by virtue of his relative youth. Green has performed against older competition at every level and as a result, he has a long-term edge over his competition.
Jalen Green might not be the top prospect in this draft but he has the most potential. Cade Cunningham might be the favorite to win rookie of the year but five years from now there’s a good chance that it’s Jalen Green who’s dominating the league.