Despite the stagnation, Raphael Stone is happy with Rockets rookie Galen Green

The past three games haven’t been kind to Houston Rockets rookie Jalen Green, who averaged 5.7 points and 26.7 minutes with shocking shooting percentages of 15.0% overall and 11.8% on three-pointers.

In addition to recognizing the small sample, it is also important to remember the context. In the rebuilding season, the Rockets threw the 19-year-old into the deep end, as general manager Raphael Stone calls it. The #2 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft plays kickoff minutes with a bad team, often facing the best defenders from more talented opponents.

This puts Green in a worse position to be effective compared to beginners who play with better teams or those who are able to stay fresh and find more useful matches as a reserve.

When asked recently by The Athletic’s Kelly Ecko about Green’s NBA season, Stone referenced this context:

I am very happy with Galen. He is very talented. When you’re talented, the world is your oyster – but only if you really want to work for it. I couldn’t be happier with his work ethic. He’s a great fellow, really smart.

It really does grind, and we threw it at the deep end. Some of the best defenders in the NBA were on some of the best teams in the NBA guarding him from the first game. We did this because we are confident that he can handle it and that it will speed up the learning curve. The improvement he has made since day one is very fast. It’s just on a great curve, in my view. So, we are really happy.

For the 2021-22 season as a whole, Green averaged 14.2 points and 3.2 rebounds to rocket in 29.9 minutes, shooting 37.4% from the field and 29.1% on three-pointers.

At some point, Greene’s efficiency and defense will need to improve to justify his lofty recruiting position, but halfway through his rookie season at the age of 19 he’s still pretty early in the process. Moreover, Stone believes that, in the long run, this level of exposure can speed up its development.

For now, the relative struggles are somewhat understandable, and the Rockets rely on Green’s intelligence and work ethic to back up his shortcomings as the weeks, months, and years progress.

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