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What’s behind Jalen Green’s sophomore struggles around the rim?

N.B. Lindberg
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Houston Rockets v Utah Jazz / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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Jalen Green isn’t getting set up like he used to

The final likely culprit for Jalen Green’s at rim ineffectiveness is how he’s getting his chances. The Rockets average the second fewest transition possessions per game and Green has seen his transition possessions drop from 3.4 per game to 2.9. If the Rockets got out in transition a bit more, it could lead to a few extra easy rim shots. 

The next issue is Green is creating more of his own looks this season. Only 38.8% of his 2-point field goals have been assisted this season, down from 43.8%. While this is a good development for Green’s long-term growth, assisted shots at the rim are finished with a higher frequency than unassisted attempts. 

Green’s growing offensive responsibilities show up in the tracking metrics as well. He’s averaging more isolation, pick-and-roll ball handler, and handoff possessions than he did in his rookie season, but he has seen his points per possession drop in all of them but on handoffs. 

At the end of the day, Jalen Green’s struggles around the rim are a good thing. They’re a product of him being asked to do more on offense. As we saw last season, Green has the ability to shrug off early season struggles. His drop in effectiveness around the rim is a necessary step for him to one day dominate that area of the court. As he learns to generate contact to draw free throws and the ins and outs of being a lead ball handler, his efficiency around the rim will improve. 

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It wouldn’t be a surprise if one day, in mid-December, everything clicks, and suddenly Green rips off a run of 30-point games. When that run happens, just remember that for Jalen Green to take one giant leap over a helpless center, he had to take a few steps back around the rim. 

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