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Does Jalen Green have the shoulders to be the Rockets’ franchise player?

Selected in second position in the 2021 NBA Draft behind Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green had a first part of the rookie season made up of ups and downs, before really exploding after the All-Star Weekend break. Simple heat stroke or real indication of things to come? Among these post-James Harden Rockets, we are obviously betting on the second scenario.

41 points at 14/26 shooting in 39 minutes, with four award-winning shots scored and highlights in all directions. This is the last image we have of Jalen Green’s rookie season. Author of his personal career best during this final evening of the regular season, the nugget of the Rockets ended his first NBA campaign in style, confirming at the same time his very big performances which gave a smile to the Houston fanbase between the end of February and mid-April. In the last 24 games of the 2021-22 season, Jalen Green is more than 22 points on average, with 4 rebounds and 3 bonus assists, all at more than 47% shooting success including a very promising 39% from 3-point range. In the absence of inside Christian Wood (now in Dallas), he notably chained at one point five games with at least 30 pawns, a series that we had not seen in a rookie since a certain Allen Iverson in 1997. Not nothing. This XXL finish notably allowed number 2 of the 2021 Draft to become part of the best five of beginners (sorry Josh Giddey) alongside Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley and Franz Wagner. When we remember his first part of the season when – despite a few blows – Jalen was generally in the hard way in the midst of Houston’s countless defeats, it was clearly not won. The one that many were waiting for in the race for Rookie of the Year therefore took four months to take the temperature of the NBA, but the rocket really ended up taking off and the Jalen Green that we imagined at the time of the Draft finally revealed.

Jalen Green comparison before and after the All-Star Break

Better in his choices, more efficient in his game, less lost on both sides of the field, Jalen Green simply offered a new face after All-Star Weekend. He offered the face of a player who could potentially spearhead a rebuilding franchise.

We’re not going to lie to each other, last season in Houston, it looked more like a summer camp than a real NBA team. Lots of youngsters, talent of course but not really structure, and a hierarchy that is struggling to be put in place. What we expect from Jalen Green in Year 2 is precisely that he get everyone to agree on the identity of the number 1 player in the Texas franchise. We like Alperen Sengun, we know the talent of Kevin Porter Jr., and the potential of Jabari Smith Jr. (number 3 of the 2022 Draft) is super exciting, but it will be up to Green to confirm his very big end to the season and to say to everyone: “follow me guys, I know the way”. A responsibility of which he is visibly aware in view of the comments he was able to make during the offseason (via Inquirer.net).

“In my mind, I want to be the best version of myself on and off the pitch. Try to build a winning mentality.

We are very young. We are in the reconstruction phase. We will try to be on the same wavelength and move in the right direction. We have to try to keep this winning mentality. »

Jalen Green knows it’s going to take time and it will take patience. We’re not saying he has to carry the Rockets to the Playoffs as a sophomore or play the All-Star Game this year. Let’s not forget that he only has 20 years and is still in the learning phase. On the other hand, we want to see the same Jalen as the one at the end of last season, with well-defined areas of progress. The number 2 of the 2021 Draft has particularly worked on his handle this summer, as well as his reading of the game and his outside shooting. Limit waste and increase its overall efficiency in attack, these are the main objectives that the young rear of the Rockets has today.

“The next step for Jalen is to continue to refine his pick & roll readings and finishing. It would also be nice if he developed a floater. He can also improve his execution without the ball. But overall, given the way he finished last season, it’s very encouraging. »

– An NBA scout, go Sports Illustrated

Leaving his number 0 to take the 4 he wore in high school and then under the colors of the G League Ignite, Jalen Green must achieve this big jump that we sometimes see in some sophomores. This must obviously show up in the numbers, with a campaign with a minimum average of 20 points, but also in the leadership, in the way of carrying the Rockets night after night with regularity even if there will undoubtedly still be a lot of defeats. at the end. The talent of the guy, it is indisputable. His athletic qualities are exceptional. But now it’s up to him to prove that he clearly has the shoulders to be the Rockets’ new franchise player after the James Harden era. In any case, we want to believe it.

At the end of the 2022-23 season, we must be able to say that the Rockets are Jalen Green’s team. He now has an NBA year behind him, he is beginning to understand everything that is necessary to impose himself at the highest level, and has all the basketball qualities to be the face of the reconstruction of the Rockets. So, big incoming season for number 2 of the 2021 Draft?

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