At this point, Evan Mobley is in the rearview mirror and the road in front of us is Jalen Green.
The Rockets chose a hellish prospect when a 6-foot livewire shooter became the second pick of the NBA 2021 draft. GM Rafael Stone called him a “transcendent athlete” and that his “love of basketball” really stood out.
“It’s electric,” Stone said. “His first step is as good as anyone else’s in basketball.” His second and third steps could be better. And when he jumps, it’s really high. So good things happen. “
Green, who played his only year of high school with the G-League Ignite, has fast athletics that are on the verge of insanity. His ability to drive and score is right now for the plug-and-play league. His shooting looks good (36.5% out of three with Ignite), but it needs to be determined if he can be elite.
It’s a potential giant scoring machine, but it’s his defense, or lack thereof, why some had Mobley a little taller. Stone made no secret of the weakness.
“We’re going to work on that D (defense),” Stone joked as he turned and looked at Green. “But the effort is there.” It is not non-existent. I think he will end up being a really good, versatile player who is impressive on both sides of the ball. If you are as athletic as Jalen, you can play defense. You can play defense at an elite level. So it’s all will and will and I also think there is a lot of will and want (in Jalen). “
It was the talk of Green’s tireless work ethic that led me to be fine when the Rockets transferred him through Mobley. He is a hooper who constantly goes to the gym to improve. Those who trained and played with him swear by his strong effort and will to win. You really can’t argue with the “IT factor” and comparison Kobe Bryant. Whether he is worthy or not, this is the conversation he creates.
“I work hard,” Green said. “I stay in the gym. I believe in my work. “
The Rockets play a long game here. Green must develop a defensive game and show that his shot from the outside is consistent and legitimate, but the potential for this guy to become the top 10 player in the entire league is there. I think Green could be an NBA magnet – the kind of star other guys want to play with – and it’s phenomenal to think the Rockets could have it so quickly after they dealt it. James Harden.
Time will tell, but it looks like a game change.
The Rockets were able to trade for a higher draft in draft, # 16 from Oklahoma City, but surprisingly it didn’t cost either of picks 23 and 24. They paid for what initially sounded like a high price – two future first-round picks – but picks that are the ones we evaluated last month as the two least valuable freshmen the Rockets had in their closet: Highly protected selections from Washington (Westbrook-Wall store) and Detroit (wood store).
They sent this package to land at their prized destination – Alperen Sengun.
“We think he potentially has a chance to be exceptional,” Stone said, not thinking that the Sengun could fall to 23 years. “She has a higher ceiling than most guys.”
Sengun is a 6 foot-9, 240 pound post player with an impressive post game. He is strong, fast and agile with excellent footwork. I think, really good footwork – type “wow”. He has a very good feeling for finding an open man and the right pass and can bounce. Sengun had an average of 18.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 block and 1.3 thefts, while shooting 62.6% from the floor and 81.2% from the foul line, was named MVP Turkish superliga, which is incredibly impressive for 18 years. old.
“You can do research on people who have achieved such a level of success in high-level professional basketball,” Stone said. “It’s a short list … and good.”
His contributions remind me of the young Kevin McHale – he already has a number of mail turns, counterfeits and counters in his bag. Luis Scola He was a fun player in Houston, and I wouldn’t mind seeing any of that again, because the offensive, especially given his age, is huge.
But there are two reasons why I didn’t have Senguna on my favorites list, and both are based on the player model, fair or unfair, that he thinks he should be. Let’s call it Enes Kanter Effect, another Turkish big man who can score in the post and bounce at a high level, but in today’s league he really isn’t.
First, the defense. If the Sengun or any player in the post is not a rim protector and at the same time does not have the lateral speed to stay with the threes and fours, then he can easily slip into the territory of defensive responsibility, where his opponents will focus on him. just like James Harden did with Kanter in the 2017 playoffs (Billy Donovan was born “I can’t play Kanter” line.). That is my biggest concern. But even if I don’t think he will ever be a positive defender, there is reason to think that the Sengun could be better than the one in the side-speed department, so worries could be exaggerated.
Next are his biggest strengths and how important they are in the league. Post shooters are fine, but I don’t want to attribute the bonus to myself in today’s NBA. Sengun can expand this skill set by adding a three-point range. He did not show this at this early stage, but his free throw (81.2%) indicates that he can and will.
So my opinion is that Sengun just can be passable on defense, successfully hidden in the team concept and developing the reach of the city center, then it is a choice with huge potential. The Rockets went with a guy who could to be a star and that is what they should swing for at this stage of the reconstruction. They passed Duke forward Jalen Johnson and Texas PF / C Kai Jones with this pick, but for the price they paid for it, it’s a good roll of the dice.
After the Houston Rockets focused heavily on attack in their first two selections, they chose one Destiny Usman Garuba Alari, and defense is one of the most important things in Clutch City.
Garuba from Spain is an 18 foot high center who plays with Real Madrid from the ACB League and EuroLeague. It has an impressive wingspan of 7 feet 3, a constantly rotating engine and amazing defensive instincts. Garuba accepts this challenge, whether he guards the site or turns on the perimeter.
“I think he’s the best defender in the world outside the NBA and he’s 19,” Stone said. “He will guard your center in defense.” He will guard your defender. It’s disturbing. He’s getting stolen. Blocks missiles. It reflects. I think he could potentially have a really big impact on this side of the ball. “
Garuba needs to develop a better shot from the outside, and if he succeeds, he could score hard minutes at four or five in the long run for the Rockets. I’ve already written that I love Garub’s potential and see him as PJ Tucker-Enter his ability to guard multiple positions and be a defensive anchor team.
He is a player who would fit into almost any lineup, but above all a player who runs centers that are more focused on scoring. That’s what Rockets have in them Christian Wood and now Sengun.
It probably would never have happened if Joshua Primo He didn’t go # 12 to San Antonio, but I’m thrilled that Garuba has fallen as far as he has. I absolutely love this choice.
Grade: A +
I can’t lie – at first I was very disappointed with the 24th pick because the Rockets took 6 foot-4, 215 pounds guards Josh Christopher from the state of Arizona. Christopher is a close friend of Jalen Green and was reportedly with him in Houston when Green trained last Monday. Tennessee Guard Jaden Springer, a player I was quite tall, was on the board (interestingly, Daryl Morey picked it up for the Sixers in a selection of 28).
But Christopher likes things. He was 11th in the ESPN 100, which finished high school. He has a strong body structure and is not afraid of contact. He has a good handle, is athletic and runs constantly.
“I think with the ball in hand it’s dynamic,” Stone said. “He’s one of the best, if not the best transitional player on the draft.”
Defense can be where Christopher can really stand out. Stone feels that he has “the potential to become a true man-to-man defender,” and likened his construction to Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon defensively.
it opens my eyes a little.
However, his shot is painfully contradictory. As a freshman, he joined only 30.5% of the three. It’s not really clear how well he will score / shoot around better offensive players, but the framework and potential are there.
I don’t love it, but I’m open to seeing what he can do here alongside his friend. Christopher won the press conference with his charisma and has the look of a potential fan here in Houston.
Grade: C +
The front office’s investment in analytics, search and design is starting to pay off, and it’s not hard to see why the Rockets praise their choices so much. The business they made was not too expensive or high-risk. Every player they draft is 19 years old and has a visible path to becoming a major player in the league. This does not mean that everyone is right, but it is usually an ideal choice for a team that wants to produce stellar talents.
Overall, I give the team a simple A. They have significantly helped shape their future in just one draft and there are at least two left before the Rockets. expected be a playoff team (great if you finish ahead). The deal with James Harden has already indirectly brought a potential star backcourt Green and Kevin Porter Jr. and now in front of the course they have exciting prospects with several future selections still in hand.
They’re implementing a plan and – so far so good. It will be a lot of fun for us to follow the development of this team.