Heading into the 2023-24 season it was known that Jalen Green was going to face a tough transition. Green, a third-year player, had grown accustomed to playing with no real structure in place.
The result was a litany of scoring explosions in fairly meaningless games (i.e. double-digit blowouts). That led to the dismissal of his talent and skillset all around by many in the national media.
The narrative was out that Green wasn’t a winning player.
This season was viewed as the litmus for him to reverse the narrative and silence the naysayers.
Except….that….hasn’t quite happened thus far. Green has struggled to be consistent in Rockets coach Ime Udoka’s system, which emphasizes ball movement and a free-flowing offense, as opposed to the isolation heavy approach that Green had grown comfortable with under Stephen Silas.
Granted, it’s not to say that Green stinks and is a morbid player, like much of the discourse would lead one to believe. It’s not a question of whether he's good or not.
It almost never comes down to that. He wouldn’t have made it to the NBA if that was the case and he certainly wouldn’t have been the second overall pick.
Why you shouldn't give up on Rockets' Jalen Green just yet.
The reality is that Green has had stretches of strong play followed by stretches of dismal play.
Take the last nine games, for example. Green was averaging 22.6 points, 49.4 percent from the field, 34.1 percent from long-range (8.8 attempts), and 4.4 assists in the first five games of that stretch.
The last four, you ask?
14.3 points, 37 percent from the field, 22.7 percent from three (5.5 attempts), and 1.3 assists per contest.
Green struggles to provide value if his shots aren’t falling. And this was known before he ever played an NBA game.
The scouting report on Green was that he wasn’t a good defender and he didn’t quite possess much playmaking chops but that he was a bonafide scorer.
A legitimate bucket-getter. When he’s not getting buckets, he’s not giving you much else.
That’s not to say that it’s time to give up on the third-year player. Despite him being benched by Rockets coach Ime Udoka in the fourth quarter of games, in favor of players with far less talent than the Fresno native.
The book is far from written.
Green has shown significantly better playmaking chops this season, in spurts.
He’s also playing with much better effort on defense. In spurts.
The consistency has been the biggest issue, as he’s largely still a very raw player. Which is a very frustrating thing for a third-year player.
Especially with contract negotiations looming in the balance.
However, the flashes and the development/improvement outside of scoring indicate that we’re not quite at the point of shipping him off elsewhere. Ultimately, the Rockets don't have to make a major decision on Green today.
And it's not like they'd get anything of significant value in a trade either. Stay the course and give it time. Regardless of how unpopular of a stance that is.