The Houston Rockets selected Jalen Green with the number two overall pick. A year after, the franchise was forced to trade away the second-best player in franchise history. James Harden and the Rockets parted ways during the 2020-21 season. Plenty of franchises have lost their franchise player.
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost LeBron James twice, Kevin Durant is on his third team, and the aforementioned Harden forced his way from his second team in a year. It happens regularly as players are starting to take their future into their hands.
Many of those teams that lost their franchise player struggle for years to find a replacement, if at all (see Lakers after Kobe Bryant retired). It only took the Rockets the next draft to potentially find their next superstar.
Green, as we all know, started the season slowly. There were several factors. The Rockets tried a lineup of Daniel Theis and Christian Wood to start the season. That didn't work. They didn't play Green in blowout losses (which the Rockets were involved in a few). Also, Green was dealing with injuries to start the year.
Theis was traded at the trade deadline. Green is playing the most minutes on the team and is the healthiest he has been all year. That has led to Green averaging 21.5 points on 47.3 percent shooting from the field and 39.5 percent from three-point range since the All-Star break, a period in which he has been the best rookie in the league.
Even in a loss, Green's excellent play continued last night as he scored 31 points for the Rockets in their 139-132 loss to the Timberwolves. But it was more than just another great game by the Rockets’ sensational rookie. With Green's 31 points last night, he joined a very exclusive club.
Jalen Green joins Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan in a very special club.
When you are mentioned with players like the great Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson, you know that your play is reaching another level. Green's 31 points last night was his fourth straight game with 30-plus points. Green is the first rookie since Iverson to score 30-plus points in four consecutive games. Jordan is the only other rookie in the last 31 years to accomplish this remarkable achievement. Keep in mind, Iverson’s streak was 25 years ago. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, or James Harden did not accomplish this feat.
Jalen Green with his last basket is the first rookie since Allen Iverson to score 30 plus points in 4 straight games. Not LeBron, not Kobe, not Kevin Durant https://t.co/6i3Ji3DrYe— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) April 4, 2022
What makes it even more remarkable is that Green is doing it at a very efficient clip. In his last four games, Green is averaging 31.5 points and shooting 43.1 percent from three-point range, which lets you know he isn't dominating just because he is taking more shots. Green is dominating because his efficiency has been through the roof over the last month and a half. Green is not only scoring from deep, but also getting to the basket and is shooting over 83 percent from the line on six free throw attempts per game.
You can see the confidence growing every game as the game starts to slow down for Green. Last night, he was asked about his growth over the season, and the confidence jumps off the screen.
With his ascension to end the year, Green has shown the entire NBA why the Rockets took him with the second overall pick. With a whole offseason and another year in the league, don't be surprised if Green sets more records in the 2022-23 season.