Jalen Green 'finding his way' in G League, says coach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2021 02:53 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2021 02:55 PM

Jalen Green (4) of Team Ignite is defended by Nico Mannion (2) of the Santa Cruz Warriors on February 10, 2021 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida. Juan Ocampo, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

Filipino-American guard Jalen Green continues to build his case as possible top pick in the 2021 NBA Rookie Draft with his performances for Team Ignite in the NBA G League.

Through 11 games, the 19-year-old is averaging 18.3 points while shooting 49.7% from the field, along with 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He has been hitting 42.4% of his shots from long distance while attempting over five three-pointers per game.

In Saturday's game against the Canton Charge, Green reset his career-high with 26 points, shooting nine-of-14 from the field including six-of-eight from beyond the arc. Ignite won, 113-112, off a buzzer-beating jumper by big man Isaiah Todd.

Afterward, Team Ignite head coach Brian Shaw praised Green's performance, noting that the extra work that the teenager put in after practice paid dividends. 

"JK (Jonathan Kuminga) and Jalen stayed a little later and got in a lot of extra shooting," Shaw explained.

"I think he's just finding his way," the coach addded. "His footwork, his shot selection is a lot better now. (He's) not forcing shots, but just taking what the defense gives him."

"He was able to get in rhythm early, and it carried him throughout." 

Green has been getting good feedback from scouts with his play in the G League, which is holding its whole season at the Walt Disney World Complex in Orlando, Florida. Ignite is one of 16 teams competing in the tournament.

NBA draft expert Jonathan Givony, writing for ESPN, noted that Green had been the most consistent player for Ignite in the G League bubble, and has shown "growth as a playmaker as the season has moved on." 

"Green's highlights speak for themselves, as his explosiveness and track-meet-style quickness are arguably the best in this draft. That has manifested itself most notably in transition, where Green has been an absolute terror in the wide-open G League, turning defense to offense in the blink of an eye and getting deep in the paint regularly for show-stopping finishes," Givony wrote.

The teenager can use more work in halfcourt sets, and his ball-handling, passing, and decision-making still need more improvement, according to Givony. His defense is also inconsistent; Givony noted that Green's lack of strength and experience "has led to some poor results," especially when he is defending the other team's primary ball-handler.

Still, Green has shown enough potential that his status as a projected top five pick remains assured. Givony also reveals that "there are teams who believe he is deserving of consideration at No. 1 as well."

Green, for his part, understands that his work is just beginning. Not only is he trying to improve his draft stock, but he and his teammates are also looking to push Ignite into the G League playoffs. They currently have a 7-4 record, tied for sixth in the league.

Only the top eight advance to the single-elimination playoffs.

"I just need to keep getting better, and working on my game every day," said Green.

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