Jalen Green or Jabari Smith: Whose future is brighter for the Rockets?
H-Town is now J-Town. With Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. now in the fold, it’s fair to say the Houston Rockets have the potential for a bright future. Still, that begs the question of which “J” is the one with the brighter future. That’s a debate that you probably won’t see on First Take or Undisputed or any debate show, so that’s what we are here for.
If we take a closer look at each, we can see what they bring to the court physically and how their skill sets translate well to the modern game. We can start with Jalen Green, who arrived in Houston first. In 2021, Green was taken 2nd overall by the Rockets out of the G-League. Green averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game during his G-League tenure.
Last season, while playing for a 20-62 team, Green averaged 17.3 PPG, with a 42.6 field-goal percentage, and nearly sank 80% of his free throws. Long story short, the year sucked, but Green was quite accomplished. Meanwhile, Jabari Smith was taken 3rd in the 2022 NBA Draft out of Auburn after averaging 16.9 PPG and 43% field-goal shooting and also near 80% on free throws. Similar to Green in a couple of ways, with a few obvious exceptions.
So now that begs the question? Who is going to have a brighter future? The answer is BOTH.
Wait, you can’t choose both. Yes, we can and we will. Both are pretty much the same player in terms of their statistics. At the same time, if we have to go with one to satisfy the crowd, it appears Green is above by the slightest of margins. Don’t be shocked if Smith takes over, though.
Jalen Green has a brighter future as the star of the Rockets, but not by much.
So, how do we ultimately determine who has a brighter future? For starters, Green has the lead, but only because he played in the NBA and even embarrassed the Los Angeles Lakers on a memorable night. Remember, the Lakers were preseason favorites, and networks were grasping at straws to try and promote them, but the loss to the Rockets had a big hand in delivering the truth that the purple and gold were down and under.
But back to the task at hand, Green has a brighter future. But given how Smith looked on draft night and how he felt slighted at not being picked No. 1 overall and instead landing at No. 3 shows that the former Tiger has the Tiger in his eye and will look to reward Houston with what they have been missing for a while: a championship.
It’s been a long time since Hakeem Olajuwon delivered two titles to the city, one of which came with the help of Clyde Drexler. Now, the Rockets have Green and Smith Jr. to form another dynamic duo in H-Town.
Will Houston draft a third person to constitute a terrifying triple threat that can be a competitive crux in the West? Time will tell whether that comes to fruition.