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Rockets Rookie Reactions: The 4 NBA All-Stars most like the Rockets Rookies

Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets
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Usman Garuba, Ty Jerome, David Nwaba, Houston Rockets
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Usman Garuba's NBA All-Star Comp

Usman Garuba is both the most difficult and easiest of the Rockets’ rookies to project. On the one hand, he has hardly played, and on the other, his future role in the NBA is pretty obvious as a frontcourt defensive wrecker. 

Garuba has only played 105 minutes this season, but his per 36-minute defensive numbers are exciting. He is averaging 2.4 steals, 2.1 blocks, and 11.7 rebounds per 36 minutes. While it’s unlikely he could sustain those numbers with more minutes, it’s encouraging that Garuba is already good on one side of the ball. 

The future All-Star that holds Garuba’s best-case scenario career outcome is none other than Draymond Green

Related. Player comps for the Rockets’ 2021-22 rookie class. dark

Draymond Green, Houston Rockets
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Usman Garuba's NBA All-Star Comp: Draymond Green

The Green comps have followed Garuba for some time, but there are obvious reasons for it. Garuba is listed at 6’8 220 pounds and Green is allegedly 6’6 and 230 pounds. The combination of length, strength, and defensive versatility give Garuba Green-esque qualities. 

Draymond Green wasn’t always an All-NBA quality player. He played four seasons of college ball and hardly played as a rookie. It took until his third season when he was 24-years-old to really break out. 

Garuba won’t turn 20 until March and has plenty of time to continue to grow. There’s almost a certainty that Garuba will be a solid to above-average defensive player, but his offensive development will determine his ceiling. 

Thus far, the returns have been uninspiring. Garuba hasn’t shot well from 3-point range and his finishing around the rim (54.5%) are also incredibly poor. He also hasn’t shown any passing chops as of yet. 

Draymond Green, while never a standout on offense, developed into an excellent playmaker which offset his inability to shoot. Garuba doesn’t necessarily become an excellent passer, but he needs to do one thing on offense well. 

His length and size could allow him to be a decent rim runner, but he doesn’t have the burst of the league’s best vertical threats. Realistically, Garuba needs to become a credible corner 3-point shooter or an average facilitator to ever be an All-Star. 

The defensive impact will be there for Garuba as he gets more minutes, but just like Green, for him to be a difference-maker he’ll need to carve out a role on offense. 

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