• Brian L. Barefield

Rookie superstar matchup is just another game for Jalen Green

One thing I have noticed about rookie Jalen Green is he never gets caught up in the moment.

That could be the temperament of his head coach Stephen Silas rubbing off on him, or it could just be his demeanor and how he approaches the game of basketball. Either way, it seems to balance the rising superstar who garners attention wherever he is and the raw natural talent he displays on the court.

On Wednesday, the bright lights and cameras will be on the Toyota Center as the Detroit Pistons come into town to take on the Houston Rockets. The burning question is why two teams with a combined 2-17 record will be on national television during prime time? Remove the records, and you know exactly why.

The Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Going No. 2 in that same draft to the Houston Rockets was Jalen Green. Are you starting to get the picture of why this game will be on ESPN and broadcast worldwide?

With all the hoopla surrounding the game that features two young superstars primed to take the NBA to another level in the future, Green sees it as another opportunity for him and his teammates to get better.

“I know it’s probably a big deal, but I am just looking at it as another game,” Green said after practice on Tuesday. “It’s always fun to have the bright lights on. That’s when the realness comes out. But it’s just another game, trying to prove ourselves as a team and try to figure things out.”

Green, 19, has shown flashes of his potential this season. He had a 30-point game in a loss against the Boston Celtics last month when he went 8-for-10 from three-point range. In consecutive games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, Green averaged 20-points in both contests.

Getting the victory against the Pistons on Wednesday is more valuable than a one-on-one battle with Cunningham to Green as his team is in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. A bright spot for Houston is the team finally putting things together and can see the plan coach Silas has envisioned.

“Experience is the best teacher,” said Green. “We are a new group. We are young and trying to figure things out. We have to put it all together on the court and see what works and what doesn’t.”

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