For Team Ignite head coach Brian Shaw, Jalen Green proved himself worthy of all the hype during his stint in the NBA G League this year.
Green, who has Filipino heritage, was a five-star recruit in the Class of 2020 but opted to bypass college to play instead in the G League. He took advantage of the NBA's professional pathway program, receiving coaching both on and off the court to prepare for his future NBA career.
The 19-year-old Green was eventually joined by other top prospects including Jonathan Kuminga, Daishen Nix, and Isaiah Todd. He emerged as the leading scorer of Ignite in the G League, putting up 17.9 points per game on 61.3% true shooting along with 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. (True shooting percentage takes into account field goals, three-point field goals, and free throws).
"He does have a way, or a knack for figuring it out," Shaw said of Green after Ignite's season ended on Monday with a 127-102 loss to Raptors 905 in the playoffs.
This became evident over the course of the season, said Shaw, as Green learned to deal with the different kinds of defenses thrown at him by opposing G League teams. The coach noted that the Fil-American guard was generally the focus of their opponent's defense and scouting report, with other teams sending their best defenders against Green.
"The guys that I've been around -- the Paul Georges, the Kobe Bryants, guys like that who were also the targets of the other team's best defensive players and their scouting report, they figured out a way to get it done," said Shaw.
"I'm seeing that same kind of thing out of him, figuring it out when you're the target of the defense and their scouting report," he added.
While he was reluctant to make a direct comparison between Green and the late, great Bryant and the seven-time All-Star George, Shaw did say that there are some similarities.
"Those names that I threw out there -- I said Paul George, I said Kobe Bryant. Without making comparisons to them, he has the same kind of stuff that they have, that they had," he said.
After working with Green since August 2020 and seeing his development in the G League bubble, Shaw predicts that the sky's the limit for the shooting guard.
"He's 19 years old, and he's only gonna get better, and his attitude towards the game is what it needs to be," he said.
"The dedication that he puts in, working on his body, trying to get stronger, watching film, asking questions. Taking care of his body after games and on the days off, continuing to lift weights and stretch, and things of that nature. The mindfulness that he practices -- those kinds of things are really mature for somebody that's 19 years old, that just turned 19 years old. And so, in terms of that, if he continues down the road, the sky's the limit for him," he added.
Green saved his best effort for their last game, when he put up 30 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in the loss to Raptors 905. It wasn't enough, especially with Ignite missing the injured Kuminga, but Green's effort was indicative of his potential.
"He got it going," Shaw said of his player. "And I asked him a couple of times in the second half -- was he tired, did he need to come out? He said no, he wanted to stay in."
"I think he really showed what he's all about. Throughout this whole season, he's been able to just figure it out on the fly, what he needs to do, how he can be effective, how to put pressure on the defense," he added.
The coach noted that Green put together a complete game against a tough opponent, as Raptors 905 were the top seed in the playoffs. Green made 11 of his 20 shots and notched a career-high in assists while also playing solid defense.
"He showed why he's that guy," said Shaw. "We were down, but he never gave up."
"He just demonstrated why he's worthy of all of the accolades and all of the hype that he gets," he added.