When James Harden and the Houston Rockets parted ways in 2020-21, questions began to circulate regarding the Rockets’ future. Did the Rockets have their star player already identified?
Could Christian Wood be that player for the Rockets? Did the Rockets even need a traditional star player to compete? The Rockets’ future became much more clear after the NBA Draft lottery, when they avoided the gloom of having to forfeit their lottery pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Rockets landed the second-overall pick, which they used to select Jalen Green of the G-League Ignite, who was available after the Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham with the top pick. Green has immediately flashed his ability during the NBA’s Summer League, as he’s averaged 20.3 points on a remarkable 52.6% from 3-point range.
Green’s early showings in Las Vegas have caught the attention of NFL Hall of Famer and FS1 analyst Shannon Sharpe, who compared him to another Rockets legend on FS1’s Undisputed.
Shannon Sharpe says Houston Rockets have identified their next Tracy McGrady
“He's got range, he's got bounce, he's athletic. I think Houston's got something. I understand that it's the Summer League and it's early, but he looks like he's the real deal.
The way he can put the ball in the basket and the athleticism that he's displayed, and the aggressiveness. He reminds you of a young, skinny Tracy McGrady.
I'm not saying he's going to be Tracy McGrady, because before Tracy McGrady had those knee issues, T-Mac was like that. But this kid, he has that kind of athleticism.
This kid, it looks like he has the makings to be something special. And normally when you give up a talent like James Harden, you suffer for a minute or two.”
Sharpe’s McGrady comparison is an interesting one, as he’s built similarly to Green, with McGrady being 6’8 and Green being 6’6, with both players possessing uber-athleticism. Like McGrady, Green is also a walking bucket, with many experts believing he could also lead the league in scoring, which McGrady also did.
It’s safe to say that if Green morphs into McGrady, the Rockets would gladly welcome that. And especially with Green being just 19, as the Rockets didn’t get McGrady until he was in his eighth year in the league, at which point he was already starting to break down physically.