The Houston Rockets entered the 2021 Summer League with one of their most-hyped teams in recent memory, as the Rockets had four first-round draft picks from the 2021 NBA Draft, in addition to 2020 second-round pick Kenyon Martin Jr., who flashed major potential during the 2020-21 season.
But the Rockets' Summer League team was headlined by Jalen Green, who they selected second overall in the draft. After being ESPN's top-ranked player in 2020, Green decided to bypass college to join the G-League Ignite, where he averaged 17.9 points on 46.1% from the field, 36.5% from three, and 82.9% from the free throw line, good for 61.3% true shooting.
Green got off to a great start in Vegas in the Rockets' opening match against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the third overall pick Evan Mobley, scoring 23 points on 9-of-18 from the field, in addition to five rebounds and two assists, helping the Rockets pull away with a 84-76 victory.
Green and the Rockets' second Summer League game was the matchup that everyone wanted to see, as it saw Green's Rockets and top overall pick Cade Cunningham's Detroit Pistons face off. Green faced blitzes, traps, and double teams early, causing him to commit three early turnovers, as he wasn't prepared for the Pistons' defensive pressure, which was unprecedented for the Summer League.
Green finished the game with 25 points and 5 rebounds, while Cunningham had 20 points in a losing effort, as the Rockets won 111-91. Green left the Rockets' third game against the Toronto Raptors with a hamstring injury and was sidelined for the remainder of the Summer League, ending his first semblance of NBA action with averages of 20.3 points on 51.4% from the field, 52.5% from long-range, and 92.9% from the free-throw line, living up to the comparisons of Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal.
Houston Rockets' brass liked Jalen Green's intangibles from the Summer League
But Green's ability to light up the scoreboard wasn't exactly surprising for the Rockets' brass, as he had demonstrated an innate scoring ability at each level of play. However, the Rockets were impressed with Green's intangibles, as explained by the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen on Texas Sports Nation.
"What they did get to see, the drive that Jalen Green has. The determination to be great, to understand that he's not and the work that it takes to get where he wants to be. That's what's so impressive."
Green was named to the All-Summer League second-team for his efforts and has shown early signs of being ready and willing to carry the Rockets' franchise, which the Rockets also surely noticed.