In overtime versus the Los Angeles Lakers, with 1:00 minute showing left on the clock, Stephan Silas was seen smiling at a Jalen Green three to close the game out. He looked rejoiced to see Green make that shot. Silas is seeing improvement from Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, and Green every game. It reminds me when the Predator collects a human trophy, it upgrades their body armor. Each rookie is seeing the floor better and understanding their impact on the court. Silas told the media this after a triumph win versus the Lakers:
“It means that their learning the importance of the work and sticking with it and fighting through the hard times and finding success at the end of the rainbow when the lights are the brightest. And there is a lot of great plays the young guys made. And obliviously it’s been a hard season for us, but it’s been a season of growth.”
Like Silas said, it’s been rough season for the coaching staff and players. Everybody amongst the Houston Rockets’ sideline is figuring each other out. This season is about building trust and learning. Silas would love to give these young Rockets diverse offensive play calls, but the learning curve is still there. They must learn the basics because it’s easier to digest.
For emphasis, Green is understanding on how to attack the curl actions. Green struggled with curl action screens in the beginning of the season by hesitating or turning the ball over. But now he knows how to make another action out of it like pick-and-roll or burst straight to the basket. Green’s speedy first-step allows him to create driving lanes downhill and finish over bigger defenders. Versus the Utah Jazz, Green attacked Rudy Gobert, and Hassan Whiteside multiple times at the rim. Green is also understanding mismatches from switches and attacking. When he finds the correct mismatch off screens, he takes advantage of it.
This is how Jalen Green should attack of a curl action. Hard and aggressive.— Zach Allen (@RenzoTheDon) March 3, 2022
Nobody can stay in front of him because of his speed and first step. pic.twitter.com/Kr9rurPg27
Another detail Green added to his game was the midrange. He is starting to take more midrange shots instead of relying on three-point shots. In the last 11 games, Green is shooting 65.2 percent from midrange. Because of him tweaking his accolades inside of his game, Green is averaging 20.3 points per game while having shooting splits of 49.4/37.0/ 68.0 percent within that same time frame. He has also lessened his turnovers too, which is at 1.5 turnovers per contest. Since Green transformed his game by adding his midrange, he told the media this:
Jalen has read these curl actions so well and made more out of it.— Zach Allen (@RenzoTheDon) March 10, 2022
“I don’t usually take a lot of mid-range shots. It’s usually a three or to the cup, so once I get between game, I think it will take my game to a whole new level.”
Silas is starting to trust Green more throughout the game, which was shown against the Lakers. Green erupted in the fourth quarter and overtime versus the Lakers and had 19 points combined. Silas unleased the rookie on the veteran players of the Lakers. He even impressed Lebron James too, as that is a good narrative. Silas and James said:
“It’s great to see the hours he puts in upstairs. Him [Green] making 500 threes and the work he puts in with John Lucas and all the things he has done in the season so far. Starting off a lit bit slow but slowly and maturely getting better and better and never being afraid of the moment and never shying away from being aggressive.”
“He has great shot-making ability. Everybody looks at his athletic ability, but his ability to make shots, he’s been doing this for quite a long time now, going all the way back to high school. I feel like he’s just getting better and better, and the great thing about him being (in Houston) is they’re a super young group besides a few guys. It’s allowing him to make mistakes and learn on the fly, and that’s definitely gonna benefit him.”
As Green continues to get better, Josh Christopher does too. In the beginning of the season, Silas had Christopher on a tight string. Silas did not trust Christopher’s shot selection at the start of this season. He was getting bottom-feeding minutes or didn’t play. Christopher was sent to the G-League to learn how to take better shots and get playing time. It allowed him to warm-up with the Rio Grande Vipers so he could produce with the Rockets. When James Harden came back to Houston as a Brooklyn Net, Christopher erupted for 23 points and helped closed the game out.
Besides his past heroics, Christopher’s minutes have increased. On the season, he is averaging 17.2 minutes per game with a 21.0 percent usage rating. And he even has a 107.3 offensive rating, which is good. Christopher has displayed excellent passing skills at 6’5”, as facilitation is a fulfilling role for him. He averages 5.1 assists per game on 100 possessions. Christopher playmaking skills allows him to position his teammates on offensive. But recently he has been on a slight scoring tear because of his downhill ability towards the rim and make mid-range and open threes. In the last five games, Christopher is averaging 15.0 points per contest with shooting splits of 55.4/38.1/ 62.5 percent from the field. Christopher is starting to find his groove for the Rockets. Like Green, he had a good game against the Lakers with 21 points.
Silas is starting to trust Green and Christopher, as that is pivotal for the Rockets towards their future. Luka Doncic believes Silas is the right pick for the Rockets, as he is taking a ton of criticism from spectators. Silas understands the situation he is in and wants to continue his foundation with the ‘Baby Rockets’.
Luka Doncic on Stephen Silas: “They better not get rid of him. He’s a great coach, and I think these young guys need him for sure.”— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) March 12, 2022