Rockets' Green has chip on shoulder after draft: 'I felt I was No. 1'
Make no mistake about it: Houston Rockets rookie guard Jalen Green feels he deserved to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Following Houston's 111-91 victory over No. 1 overall selection Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons in summer league action Tuesday, Green said he's beginning his NBA career with something to prove.
"My chip is super big. It started at draft night when I got drafted No. 2. I felt I was No. 1," Green said after dropping a game-high 25 points.
Rather than let a head-to-head matchup against Cunningham get the better of him, Green focused on Houston prevailing above all else.
"I was still trying to get everyone involved and not make it a one-on-one battle between me and Cade," the 19-year-old said, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. "I could have turned around and did that for myself, but we end up getting the win, so that's all that matters."
Green added five rebounds and three assists while shooting 10-of-11 from the free-throw line in Houston's win. Cunningham finished with 20 points, four rebounds, and three steals for Detroit.
The next meeting between this year's top two picks could come in the summer league's single-game elimination portion beginning next week. If the Rockets and Pistons don't face each other again in Las Vegas, the next chapter in the budding Green-Cunningham rivalry will come during the 2021-22 regular season.