Jalen Green's first two seasons in the NBA proved him capable of potentially being a premium scorer. Sure, the Rockets didn't have much team success, but Green lit up the record books, placing himself in elite company on numerous occasions.
Green began to live up to the pre-draft comparisons of Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine, as he was seemingly able to impose his will on opposing defenses. Green faced a different challenge in year three, as the Rockets finally deemed themselves ready to contend.
Gone was Stephen Silas and the free-for-all offense that he ushered. In was Ime Udoka, a disciple of arguably the greatest coach ever, who led the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals in his solo season in the big chair.
Udoka brought an offensive approach predicated on ball movement, as opposed to the isolation offensive philosophy Green was accustomed to under Silas. Green, a volume scorer, has been forced to make the most of fewer touches (14.5 attempts in 2023-24 vs 17.9 attempts in 2022-23).
In turn, Green's efficiency has dropped to career lows across the board (40.1 percent from the field, 33.1 percent from three, 45.7 percent on two-pointers, and 52.7 percent true shooting). For the first time in his basketball life, Green has found himself benched in the closing moments of games.
Or on the bench for large stretches of the fourth quarter, also known as winning time.
Green has been tasked with becoming a better defender and a better facilitator. In other words, he's been forced to think more.
Which has led to him overthinking. And pressing.
And after awhile, the struggles became personal. Which is normal.
Just get over it, right? After all, players deal with it all the time, right?
Time for the Rockets to do the right thing.
Green's latest Instagram story suggests there may be more to it than a player needing to snap out of the funk and get in rhythm.
Green seems to be dealing with something rather serious internally.
Mental health is a serious matter.
Sometimes "getting over it" is not as easy as making shots on the basketball court. The game of life is much greater.
And based on Green's caption on the Instagram post, one could deduce that he's also dealing with the loss of someone close to him.
Which would make it even more difficult, if true.
The Rockets should at least consider allowing Green to take some time away from work to focus on his mental health. Which is afforded to the everyday working citizen.
Professional athletes should be afforded the same luxury.
Some people try to use their occupation as an escape when life gets difficult, and that doesn't always work. Sure, having an escape can be useful, but it can also make it even more difficult when one isn't performing to their fullest capabilities.
The Rockets should do the right thing and allow this kid to focus on his mental health and life outside of basketball. He'll be much more valuable upon returning.
Sometimes you have to intervene and protect your employee from themselves. Regardless of how difficult that may be.
You could be saving their life by allowing them the time they need to heal.
Basketball can wait.
Mental health can not.
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