Cade Cunningham going to the Detroit Pistons is an obvious choice.
Then the Houston Rockets snatched Fil-Am Jalen Green as the second pick overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.
This is awesome for a lot of reasons.
First of all, the NBA landscape is changing. Just now, the Los Angeles Lakers tore up their intolerable support crew to the Washington Wizards for Russell Westbrook. Say what you will about Brodie but his game gets going when the game is on the line and with an aging Lebron James and an injured Anthony Davis… they need Westbrook to “superstar” his way.
And yeah, Westbrook and James will probably clash.
Lebron will also let Westbrook go insane with his stat-completing ways than doing things by his lonesome (which is what made Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope expendable).
Going back to Green, there is a good chance that Houston is looking at a rebuild of monumental sorts.
Just think at the point where they slowly phased out Hakeem Olajuwon to favor the new wave of youngsters prior to the entry of Yao Ming. I guess Houston’s wheels will turn with Christian Wood, KJ Martin, and Kevin Porter, Jr. leading the way. Secondary casts like Jae’Sean Tate and Danuel House could also see action with the squad and the Rockets could make an offer to retain Khyri Thomas.
The rest of the team is kind of iffy – with John Wall and Eric Gordon constantly struggling with injuries and a host of players becoming free agents. Maybe Wall will still have some say on things but I also see him as a target for playing teams with the intent of leveling up.
Now for the marketing perspective of the entry of Jalen Green.
The last major Asian to enter the league is Rui Hachimura. The last REALLY BASKETBALL ASIANS to enter the league are Yi Jianlian and Sun Yue. I wanted Green to land in either Houston or Toronto because of the Asian-ness of both cities. Toronto is a melting pot for different races and in some ways will embrace Green as a savior.
On the other hand, Houston could use Green to pimp up their jerseys in the Philippines.
As I said, Hachimura is the last major Asian to enter the NBA. He is barely an Asian though because he studied in the United States. Yuta Watanabe’s struggles aren’t the same as most Asian players. He’s kind of like Kai Sotto or the thing that drove Kobe Paras and Japeth Aguilar from the Philippines. Watanabe left Japan to pursue NCAA Division I basketball and after going undrafted, stayed within the United States to eventually gain an NBA spot. Sure, he returns to Japan to secure a national team spot but basically, most of Watanabe’s pro time is of US proximity.
Wang Zhelin, the 57th pick overall of the 2016 NBA Draft never made the NBA despite his talents. Satnam Singh, Bobby Ray Parks’ former teammate in Texas Legends, is another drafted Asian that has yet to play in the NBA.
Yi Jianlian arrived in the NBA with a lot of fanfare and became the sixth pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. He got selected after Greg Oden, Al Horford, Mike Conley, Jeff Green, and Kevin F’N Durant and ahead of Joakim Noah and Marc Gasol. Oden may have had a disappointing career but his averages are better than Yi’s. Oden had nine playoff games wherein he averaged 3.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks while Yi had five points, two rebounds, and a steal in five minutes in his first and only NBA playoff game. There are dumbasses saying that Sun Yue is the worst NBA player ever but that’s dumb because of the fact that it’s really hard to squeeze in the stats in his setup with the Los Angeles Lakers. If Adam Morrison can’t get a break, then why would Sun?
Bottom line, it’s hard for homegrown Asian basketball players to break the NBA with the cultural differences, language barriers, and game adjustments from star to benchwarmer.
Yao Ming is a one-of-a-kind player that also had his share of shit especially with how Steve Francis played at the start of his career. Stevie Franchise wanted to own Houston and all eyes were on Yao. So yeah, I can see a bit of something in their chemistry then.
In some ways, getting a player with a lineage like Green should make their jerseys relevant. After James Harden, getting a Houston Rockets uniform is just… for loyalty.
I bet a Jalen Green jersey would be awesome… especially if they go regional on their moves with Pinoy feel jersey.
Because here’s the thing, Houston could have taken any player from Evan Mobley to Jalen Suggs to Scottie Barnes in the draft, and yet they chose the best option available.
Houston has had a strained relationship with China and with the current lack of capable Chinese players, I guess it’s best for Houston to check out the Filipino NBA market. The first time I heard that Jalen Green is a draft stud… I aimed to grab his rookie cards.
Jalen Green is now a second pick overall… playing for a down and out squad… which makes his cards even more appealing.
After all, he is the first player of Filipino lineage to score a Top 3 spot in the NBA Draft.