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3 reasons Jalen Green will win Rookie of the Year

Jalen Green, Rockets, Rookie of the Year

After Summer League, many have penciled in Jalen Green as Cade Cunningham’s greatest challenger for Rookie of the Year. Green looked spectacular in Las Vegas, averaging 20.3 points on 70.7% true shooting. Per BetMGM, Green currently stands at +300 odds for the award, behind only Cunningham at +250. At points this summer, Cunningham and Green have had identical odds. 

While most people expect this to be a competitive year for the award, there’s a distinct possibility Green runs away with it late season. Things have lined up to favor him over the field right now.

1. Polish

Jalen Green is perhaps the most polished rookie in this entire rookie class. It really shined through at Summer League, but Green’s ability to score in the pick and roll and isolation against NBA level athletes this early is extremely impressive. This is likely due to the seasoning he received by opting to play in the G League last season instead of college basketball. Green is one of the only rookies in this class that actually played against professional athletes. Normally rookies are pretty inefficient at scoring the basketball, but Green looks pretty NBA-ready and will be much more comfortable than his peers.

He’s just an unbelievably smooth prospect who’s quick off the bounce, can get to his shot whenever he wants, and adjusts quickly on the fly to defenses.

2. Opportunity

With John Wall and the Rockets agreeing to part ways, there is going to be so much additional usage for both Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. Wall had a ridiculous 31.7% usage rate last season and at least a third of that will be going to Green next year. It’s hard to find anyone on the roster that will be given a bigger scoring burden than him. Sure Porter Jr. and Christian Wood will also have a great deal on their plate next season, but Green’s natural scoring ability will stick out at training camp and demand a ton of possessions once the season rolls around.

 

The only other rookie with similar opportunity next season is Jalen Suggs on the Magic. Jerami Grant will likely demand more scoring opportunities than Cade Cunningham on the Pistons next season and the Cavaliers have sabotaged Evan Mobley’s opportunity for the award by re-signing Jared Allen.

3. Motivation

Out of all the rookies in this class, Jalen Green seems to want win Rookie of the Year more than anyone else. He may just be the only one not afraid to say that he’s going for it, but Green has expressed on several occasions that he believes he’s the best rookie in the class and wants to prove it by winning the award. It sounds a little odd for the number two overall pick to have a chip on his shoulder, but when he believes he should have went first, it’s not so bizzare. Late in the season while many rookies may be powering down and preparing for next year, Green is more likely to gun for the award. This means more field goal attempts per game than the rest of the field.

Hopefully every rookie stays healthy so we can watch this race play out properly. The Rockets have one game on TNT this season and it’s conveniently against Cade Cunningham’s Pistons. It should be a fun contest to watch.