During the 2021 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets selected guard Jalen Green with the second overall pick.
Green (6-6, 178), who turned 19 years old on Feb. 9, was the first player to sign with NBA G League Ignite, a team dedicated to the development and mentorship of top young prospects in preparation for the NBA Draft. In 15 G League games last season, he averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.53 steals, and 2.1 3-pointers made. Green tallied 30 points, 7 assists, 5 boards, and 3 steals in the Ignite’s lone playoff game vs. Raptors 905.
As a senior at California’s Prolific Prep in 2019-20, Green averaged 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He was ranked as the No. 1 high school prospect in the Class of 2020 by ESPN and was a McDonald’s All-American.
Green won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, and 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
The only other time the Rockets drafted a player second overall was in 1970 with the selection of Rudy Tomjanovich. Houston also acquired the draft rights to Steve Francis, who was the No. 2 overall pick by Vancouver in the 1999 NBA Draft. Including Francis, the second overall pick has produced 16 Rookie of the Year winners, most recently Ja Morant in 2019-20 and Kevin Durant in 2007-08.
In addition to guard Jalen Green, who was the second overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets acquired forward/center Alperen Sengun [al-pah-ron shen-gün], forward Usman Garuba [oose-mon gah-ROO-bah], and guard Josh Christopher. All four players were chosen within the first 24 picks of the draft.
Sengun (6-9, 235), was the 16th overall pick by Oklahoma City before his rights were acquired by Houston in exchange for two future first round picks owed to the Rockets via Detroit and Washington. The native of Turkey recently turned 19 years old and was the Turkish Super League MVP this past season for his club, Besiktas.
In 34 league games, Sengun averaged 18.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals while shooting 62.6% from the floor and 81.2% from the foul line. He also averaged 23.0 ppg on 71.0% shooting in three FIBA Europe Cup games and played for the Turkish national team during Olympic qualifying this summer.
Garuba (6-8, 220), was the 23rd overall pick by Houston and is currently playing for Spain in the Olympics. The 19-year-old spent last season with Real Madrid in Spain’s Liga ACB and was the recipient of the ACB Best Young Player award along with being named the EuroLeague Rising Star, recognizing the top player under the age of 22.
Including their run to the ACB championship game, Real Madrid posted a 38-5 mark, with Garuba averaging 5.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game. During the EuroLeague playoffs, he became the youngest player to record a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds vs. Anadolu Efes.
Christopher (6-5, 215) was the 24th overall pick by Houston following his freshman season at Arizona State. The 19-year-old appeared in 15 games for the Sun Devils, averaging 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.5 steals. He scored 28 points in his second career game vs. Villanova and posted 22 points with 11 rebounds against UCLA, which went onto play in the Final Four. A McDonald’s All-American, Christopher averaged 29.4 points and 11.2 rebounds as a senior at Mayfair High School in California.
All four of the players Houston acquired in the draft will be 19 years old at the start of the 2021-22 NBA season.