On Thursday Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone completed his second draft in his tenure as GM. This draft class was different, for a variety of reasons.
For starters, the Rockets made 4 first-round selections on Thursday, compared to zero in 2020, as they had just one second-round pick, which they used on Kenyon Martin Jr. But also, the Rockets had a top-two pick, thanks in large part to Lady Luck being on their side on the night of the NBA Draft lottery.
All in all, the Rockets drafted Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun (via trade), Usman Garuba, and Josh Christopher, but the main talk was of course their top pick, Jalen Green. The 19-year-old chose to bypass college, deciding to play for the G-League Ignite instead, where he thrived, averaging 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists, while shooting 46.1% from the field and 36.5% from three (5.7 attempts), on 61.3% true shooting.
Jalen Green's G-League coach gives unique comparison for Houston Rockets rookie
Green has drawn comparisons to Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal for his ability to score at ease and create offense for himself. But while LaVine and Beal have been the common comparisons among those in the media, his former G-League coach Brian Shaw had a comparison of his own, which didn’t include LaVine or Beal.
“He reminds me of a combination of a few different players. I showed him a lot of film this year of Penny Hardaway, I showed him a lot of film of Kobe Bryant, Paul George when he was a young player as well, and Ja Morant.
And I think the combination, in terms of his size, he’s a little smaller than Penny Hardaway. Footwork is a combination between all of those guys, Paul George, Kobe.
His tenacity, the mentality, the way he approaches the game. Not wanting to lose a single suicide in practice or whatever it may be.
The hardest worker. When it’s your best player being your hardest worker, everybody else falls in line.
He already has that as well. When you have that work ethic and athleticism on top of that, it’s a combination that’s hard to beat.”
Green was viewed by many as the best player in the draft, and if he morphs into a combination of Hardaway, Bryant (who Green dubbed as his hero), George, and Morant, it's safe to say the Houston Rockets' brass will be more than happy. It’s also easy to understand why the Fran Fraschillas of the world believe that he could be the best wing player in the NBA when he reaches his peak.
Rockets fans will get their first opportunity to see Green in action during the NBA’s Summer League, which will start on August 8th, against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who selected Evan Mobley. The excitement will be in the air, for both Green and Rockets Nation, and especially once the regular season gets underway.