Rockets GM seeks to avenge franchise's handling of James Harden through Jalen Green

Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets
Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets / Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The early glimpse of Jalen Green has made it clear that he is every bit as advertised, as he lit up his peers in the Summer League and made All-League honors despite playing in roughly half of the Houston Rockets' Summer League schedule. Green averaged 20.3 points on 51.4% from the field, 52.5% from three, and 92.9% from the charity stripe, good for 70.7% true shooting, which is simply unhuman.

Green’s averages were all up from his 2020-21 G-League stint, in which he averaged 17.9 points on 46.1%/36.5%/82.9%, while also finishing ninth in scoring and tenth in PER. Green displayed a competitive drive and desire to improve upon his game, which the Rockets reportedly took notice of.

Off the court, Green has shown a larger-than-life personality, as evidenced by his confidence and his swagger, ranging from his wardrobe to his iced-out grill. Green has left no question about his ability to someday become the Rockets’ franchise player and one of the future stars of the NBA.

Houston Rockets GM seeks to avenge franchise's handling of James Harden through Jalen Green

But the Rockets don’t exactly want Green to rush that process or to pressure himself to become the team’s franchise player, as Rockets GM Rafael Stone explained on Sirius XM’s NBA radio.

“We want it to happen organically. I don’t think we need to force it on him.

We have a lot of guys who I think can help him carry that load. The face of the franchise is something that I think when you’re established, when you’re a four, five, and six-time All-Star that’s a legitimate thing.

But I don’t see it as being an important thing for us or for him in the near term.”

This seems eerily similar to when the Rockets first acquired James Harden via trade in 2012 and the immediate onus was placed on him to be the team’s de-facto marquee player. The pressure was placed upon Harden right away, so much that he began to make roster recommendations after just one year in Houston.

The difference in Green’s case is that the Rockets have several players, such as Christian Wood, who played at a near All-Star level, in addition to John Wall, who was one of the league’s most electrifying players before he got injured. In addition, the Rockets have Kevin Porter Jr., who became the youngest player in league history to score 50 points last season.

Each of these players can teach a thing or two to Green, and Wall and Eric Gordon can help the 19-year-old Green learn how to be a professional both on and off the court. So although Green will clearly be the team’s franchise player in the coming years, there’s no need to force that now, as Stone mentions.

Because it could be the key to preventing a Harden-like situation from re-occurring down the road.

Next. How Christian Wood has exceeded expectations beyond basketball. dark