With the beginning of the NBA season in sight, basketball fans and analysts are soon to be introduced to the wealth of talent found in the 2021 NBA Draft. From Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs to UConn’s own James Bouknight, there will be plenty of new talent on display for basketball fans throughout the year. However, there’s one player who stands above them all: Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green.
Green, selected second overall, is a generational talent. The young guard journeyed to the NBA after choosing to play in the G-League against higher competition rather than a season of college basketball. What did Green do in his one season of play with the G-League Ignite? Green averaged an impressive 17.9 points along with 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists. His play caught the eyes of NBA scouts across the league and put him in contention to become selected first in the NBA Draft, until the Detroit Pistons chose college guard Cade Cunningham over Green.
“The goal is to win Rookie of the Year and the fact that I didn’t go #1 is certainly motivation.” Green has been vocal about his motivation to prove Detroit wrong and play at an unprecedented level. Along with Green’s own goal of winning the coveted Rookie of the Year Award, NBA GMs have sided with the second overall pick. In a recent survey of who will win the award given to the best rookie, Green is the popular pick to win.
““That’s exciting, that’s good to hear… I’m focused on the games in-front of me, trying to win,” said Green after being the favorite to win the coveted award.
The rookie certainly has weapons to make the most of his situation and elevate his game to superstar levels, unlike Cunningham who sits on a mediocre Pistons team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016. With flashy forward Christian Wood and shooting guard Kevin Porter Jr., Green is not alone on the court and could turn heads with a heavy impact on a Rockets team still lost after the departure of superstar James Harden. “I think we can compete with every team in the NBA. We’re young, fast, and talented,” said Green in support of his team.
But, how will the young Rockets guard prove doubters wrong and become the best player in a stacked 2021 NBA Draft? Along with the plethora of weapons they provide, Houston also has former All-Star John Wall, who could be a great source of mentorship as Green continues to adjust to the high level competition of the NBA. Combined with the wealth of experience that Green acquired in the G-League, the Rockets boast better player development than teams like the Pistons and the Cavaliers. While Green will be developing his game and exceeding the potential set by NBA scouts, other top prospects will be limited by poor coaching and little development of necessary skills to make an impact in the NBA.
The rookie guard himself has continued to show support for his teammates and created a future image of leadership that will be essential in his journey to stardom. “Everyone’s here. Everyone’s going hard. Trying to build chemistry and get it together before the season starts,” said Green on the team’s current status during training camp. Alongside his impressive leadership, he has impressed in training camp and the Summer League, including a 25 point performance against Cunningham that put Green’s skills on display on a large stage.
Green already has the skill set to become a top player in basketball at just 19 years old. With leadership skills, a determined work ethic and an absolute love for the game, the sky’s the limit for the rookie. He’s by far the best player to come out of 2021’s NBA Draft and he’s sure to be a problem for teams across the league for the foreseeable future.