Jalen Green has shown improvements that point towards a bright NBA future

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Jalen Green
Photo Credit: Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Jalen Green’s first game, as I noted in my notes from that debut, was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t a horrendous game by any means, but not one that I’m sure Jalen himself was too proud of. Despite G League Ignite’s 40 point (yes, 40 point) loss today to the Erie Bayhawks, Jalen Green has shown some drastic improvements.

Watching Jalen Green in the G League has been extremely entertaining. Not only is it because of his eye popping athleticism, but also because of the new flashes that he shows in each outing.

So, what exactly has he showed recently that has me more excited about his NBA future? Let’s break it down…

Using His Athleticism

One thing I had noticed in his debut was that Jalen Green wasn’t using his athleticism too much. Whether it was defensively, on drives, or in the P&R, he wasn’t utilizing his greatest asset.

These past few games, he has certainly made that change.

He’s grown more confident since that first game. Jalen is attacking off the dribble and hasn’t relied on burst as much. He’s using that athleticism to contort his body in the air and finish around contact.

And it wasn’t just the first game that he’s made improvements since. Here is a clip in the 2nd game that shows his insane athleticism, but not the correct utilization of it.

Now, let’s fast forward to tonight where he attacks down-hill, but then uses a hop-step to get past the help defense and finishes with the reverse. So, by no longer aiming to do the exceptional he…does the incredible.

Having controlled finishes and showing patience in the paint are key facets for slashers. Green was rushing everything a bit too much in that first appearance, but has started to show flashes of having these facets in his game.

We’ve seen some pretty electric finishes from Jalen Green off of some nice alley-oop deliveries, but it’s these next level gathers and moves he can go to on straight line drives these last few games that should get NBA teams excited.

Simplifying the game becomes a big thing for young players with loads and loads of athleticism. The fact that Jalen Green has been able to adjust his game in such a short stint in the G League points toward a very successful jump to the NBA.

Passing

I stated some worries regarding Jalen Green’s passing acumen following that initial debut. After all, it had been a while since I got to see Jalen Green in action. These past few games, we’ve seen a different side to his passing.

Initially, I saw Green make a few poor decisions with the ball and was forcing the issue a little too much. Out of the P&R, he wasn’t laying the ball off to the big when he was rolling to the basket and open, but I have seen little of that in these past few games.

Green had turned plenty of heads in High School due to the aforementioned athleticism and top tier scoring ability. Now, as he makes improvements in his passing game, the overall offensive repertoire is going to be what is looked at.

As soon as a turnover is forced on one end, Jalen Green is sprinting down to the other end of the court. His ability to get ahead of the defense in transition is going to get him some easy buckets at the next level.

In this game today, he was actively forcing turnovers whether it was from steals or getting a block and running in transition. This whole sequence here, including the behind the back delivery to Jonathan Kuminga, was a thing of beauty:

One thing to notice from this clip is his great on ball defense. He moves his hips with the ball handler and reaches to contest the shot at the peak of the release. That’s another area of improvement we’ve been able to see in his game.

Attacking Off The Catch

There was some hesitancy in Jalen’s game coming into the G League bubble. Whether it was nervousness, the long layoff since his last real game appearance, or something else, Jalen Green just looks so much more confident out there now.

Attacking off the catch is one thing I’ve seen more of from Green. He’s seeing the game better and taking advantage of his first step. Early on, he was trying to size-up his defender too much and finding that his lack of strength was hurting him.

These past few games you can see the space he can create from attacking right away and getting into the lane.

Jalen Green still has a lot to work on in his game. He isn’t too active off-ball (although I have seen a few nice rotations to tag the roll man), his shot hasn’t been falling regularly from deep, and he still lacks the strength to truly be able to be a defensive plus.

But, these improvements that we have already seen in his game in this short amount of time certainly bodes well for his future in the NBA.

 

You can follow Aram Cannuscio on Twitter here to see clips and tons of content relating to the G League/College Basketball/NBA Draft and more. 

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