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Jalen Green’s uneven start has been a learning experience

Jalen Green is taking one step at time with his development.

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

So far in the start of Jalen Green’s career in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, he has been a project. This NBA season has given Green a ton of learning lessons as it comes to defense, shot selection, pace, physicality, and ball placement. Green is struggling some, but thankfully, this is his rookie year. Coach Silas respects his poise and aggressiveness throughout the game. No matter if Green is missing or making, he isn’t afraid to unload the clip. Green said:

“You still got to play the game. If you miss a shot, you can’t sit there and pout about it. You got to get to the next play and get back on defense. You can’t sub yourself out. You can’t check out the game. You still got a whole game to play.”

Green doesn’t seem concerned that he is shooting 34.7 percent from the field, as he continually takes step-backs and pull-ups from three. It’s important for Green to take the tougher and open shots, as that will continue boost his confidence and not rely on free throws, as players are complaining about the rule change. Green hasn’t found his shooting stroke just yet, but did manage to have a 30-point career game versus the Boston Celtics. Coach Silas believes in Green’s ability and knows not to stress. Silas said:

“I’m not worried. He’s talented obviously and he is putting a lot of pressure on himself to produce and succeed. Seemed like tonight he didn’t put a lot of pressure on himself. It wasn’t like we were running a bunch of stuff for him. He just found it in within we do.”

It was incredible to see Green take a nice leap that game because of his high volume scoring and being able to capitalize on open looks. He let the game approach him, as he shot eight threes with 61 percent shooting from the field. Versus the Celtics, Green showcased his athleticism and shot making ability throughout the game. He even had two incredible dunks in transition, which amazed Toyota Center.

Although Green had an amazing game versus the Celtics, he has struggled within the other four games. Green has gotten great looks at the basket, including separation from defenders, but still struggles from the field. Eventually, Green will make midrange shots off pick-and-roll (25 percent), off-the-dribble three-point shots (27.3 percent), and on pullups beneath the perimeter, he is shooting 30 percent (per NBA stats). These shots will be butter in the future.

Like I said before, Green is a good catch-and-shoot three-point shooter, as he is shooting at 38.9 percent. Green can make an open shot when left open. Hopefully, he raises the 31 percent overall from three, as Green is a confident shooter. Coach Silas said:

“His poise, his qualities of his shots, the pace he is playing at… He made a bunch of threes, and they were all good shots. If he is coming off the dribble at the top or it’s a catch-and-shoot. Taking what happened in the previous game and playing better.”

Green is looking for a certain rhythm so he can be consistent. The NBA isn’t easy because the physicality can effect his offensive rhythm. So far, he has seen Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Edwards, and Jimmy Butler, and mentioned how physical it was. Green said:

“This is the NBA with grown men, I’m 19-years old, this isn’t high school no more, it’s a man league.”

What could evolve Green’s game more is attacking more switches off big man screens. Green can use athleticism and quickness to blow by defenders who are not fast as him. Since Green isn’t getting to free throw line as much (nine total attempts), it’s perfect timing so he can become better finisher around the rim and get use to the physicality in the NBA. He is finishing with 45.8 percent within the restricted area so why not attack more?

Besides Green’s offensive ability, he has played good samples on defense, as he wants to be a better defender. Green isn’t the biggest guy on the court, but still accepts the challenge of Mitchell and Tatum. He is able set his feet or recover because of his length and athleticism. Green hasn’t been the best on switch defense, but has showed flashes against Josh Richardson.

Watch how he plays disciplined versus Tatum with weakside help but still manages to get the block as the drive happens.

Green did an excellent job on recovering versus Mitchell so he can get the block.

He followed Richardson the whole time with a screen coming but became locked in.

There were so many questions on Green’s playmaking skills, but he has done a great job so far. He is averaging 2.6 assist per game. Green has made good passes off pick-and-roll with Daniel Theis and found open teammates. His playmaking ability is baby steps so far. There is no kind of rush, as he’ll see his reads much quicker in future.

He does need to work on his ball placement though. Green can force passes, which result in turnovers. It’s important for Green to not play in a hurry, as that can cause him to lose the ball or look over his reads. Green is averaging 1.8 turnovers per game, which isn’t bad at all. Silas is steady preaching: Learning and applying what you learned from.

Although it looks like Green is struggling, he will eventually find his stride with the Rockets.