Houston Rockets first-round draft pick Jalen Green has been touted as one of the most competitive players in the entire draft, which bodes well for his chances to fulfill the expectations that have been placed on him. There are some that think that he will not only be the best player in his draft class, but also the best wing player in the entire league.
Green also oozes with confidence, which has been made clear based on his desire to be the top selection heading into tonight's draft. But Green’s competitiveness and confidence should come as no surprise, considering the affinity that he has for the late Kobe Bryant, who he dubbed as his hero on Sirius XM’s NBA Radio.
Houston Rockets' rookie Jalen Green talks burning desire to win, admiration for Kobe Bryant
“He’s for sure a hero to me. I think the mentality part and the hard work. And I got a chance to really study his game and really lock in on what he does and how he approaches the game and everything he did to get to the point where he was [when I was] in the bubble.
That was a time where I really got to study him and figure it out.”
Kobe had a take-no-prisoners approach and would do whatever it took to win, as there have been countless stories about him being the first to arrive and the last to leave the facility. As it turns out, Green has that same burning desire to win, as he stated, “I want to win. I NEED to win.”
Green made it clear that he’s aware of what it will require of him for both he and the Rockets to win at a high clip, stating, “Playing both sides of the ball and locking in.”
Green also detailed the appreciation that he has for 2006-07 Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell, who helped him by making sure he was out of his comfort zone and forced him to become a better playmaker.
“Sam Mitchell is probably my favorite coach that’s ever coached me. He made me a better player. He made me get out of my comfort zone and made me take control of what I needed to do.
And I think that was a big part of my career and helping me take off. I was a two-guard and didn’t really have the ball in my hands but I started playing the [point]. That was just a big year for me that year.”
Green was ESPN’s top-ranked player in 2020 and will surely have the opportunity to be an instant difference-maker for the Houston Rockets. One of Green’s biggest weaknesses in the eyes of the scouts has been on the defensive end, and with him embracing the task of being a two-way player, while embracing the challenge of being placed outside of his comfort zone, the 19-year-old phenom could easily become a fan favorite and one of the top rookies in the 2021-22 season.
And if he’s able to follow in the footsteps of his hero, he could become one of the best players in the league in due time.