The Houston Rockets’ poor start to the season has exposed some limitations in Jalen Green’s game. As good as his shot creation and athleticism have looked, his streaky shooting, light frame, and limited passing arsenal have limited him to a negative on the court. Adding insult to injury, Evan Mobley, the third pick, has been absolutely sensational.
There’s a growing sense in the Rocketsphere that Jalen Green was a mistake. However, fans have a tendency to be overly reactionary. If you take a deep breath and a step-back three, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that Jalen Green is right on track to be a special player.
Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, and Anthony Edwards are all score-first shooting guards. The trio of All-Stars and future All-Star in Edwards should give Rockets fans hope that Jalen Green will live up to expectations.
Jalen Green is currently averaging 13.9 points on 36-percent shooting from the field and 27.4-percent from three. He’s also converting 44.7-percent of his 2-point attempts and getting to the free-throw line 3 times a game. If those numbers sound troubling, let the rookie seasons from Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, and Anthony Edwards ease your anxieties. (All tweets cited are from the author's personal Twitter account)
Houston Rockets: How Jalen Green stacks up to Bradley Beal, Zach Lavine, Anthony Edwards, and Devin Booker's Rookie seasons
Average points per game: 14.3 // Average FG%: 41.8% // Average 3P%: 34.98% // Average 2P%: 45.5% // Average FTA: 3.1 // Average FT%: 81.1%
From a points per game standpoint, Green’s rookie season is right in line with four of the league’s best pure scorers. His shooting efficiency lags behind, but that’s mainly a culprit of his poor 3-points shooting as his 2-point conversation rate is 44.7-percent.
However, comparing Green’s first 15 games to this quartet’s entire rookie season does a disservice to Green. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but rookies aren’t as good in their first 15 games.
Houston Rockets: Bradley Beal, Zach Lavine, Anthony Edwards, and Devin Booker after 15 games
Average points per game: 9.15 // Average FG%: 37.1% // Average 3P%: 28.17% // Average 2P%: 41.58% // Average FTA: 1.875 // Average FT%: 82.13%
When you remove Booker’s shooting percentages from his first 15 games from the average, he only averaged 3.7 attempts a game, Green’s shooting efficiency looks completely normal. Add in that he’s averaging more points and suddenly, through 15 games, there is a strong argument that Green had the best 15 game start to his NBA career.
Green may be struggling to start his NBA career, but that struggle usually ends up worth it by the season’s end. This is each player’s individual improvement from their first 15 games to their final season stat-line.
Houston Rockets: Bradley Beal, Zach Lavine, Anthony Edwards, and Devin Booker improvement after 15 games
Average points per game: +5.125 // Average FG%: +4.53% // Average 3P%: +7.03% // Average 2P%: +3.93% // Average FTA: +1.2 // Average FT%: -1.03%
On average, these four saw their points per game increase by 5.1 points. If Booker’s shooting percentages are removed, they saw their field-goal percentage improve by 4.53-percent and their 3-point shooting improve by 7.03-percent.
If we take those numbers and add them to Green’s current statistics, suddenly, we have a Rookie of the Year candidate.
Houston Rockets: Jalen Green's Projected Final Season Stat Line
Points per game: 19.025 // FG%: 40.53% // 3P%: 48.63% // 2P%: +3.93% // FTA: 4.2 // FT%: 77.57%
Jalen Green looks right on track to be a franchise-changing player. Score first guards tend to struggle early on in their careers and then slowly figure out how to beat NBA quality defenders. Jalen Green was never likely to get off to a fast start, but if he finishes like this All-Star quartet did, no one will remember those first 15 games.