Jalen Green Shines in NBA Summer League Debut as Rockets Beat Evan Mobley, Cavaliers

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 9, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 8:  Jalen Green #0 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2021 Las Vegas Summer League on August 8, 2021 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green's first appearance for the Houston Rockets in the Las Vegas Summer League was everything they could've hope for on Sunday. It wasn't quite as enjoyable for Cleveland Cavaliers fans looking for a similar performance out of No. 3 overall pick Evan Mobley. 

The Rockets won the exhibition, 84-76, pulling away from a pesky Cavs club that jumped into the lead multiple times in the first half and kept the game close for much of the second. 

Along the way, Green scored 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor to go with five rebounds, two assists and enough athletic plays for Rockets fans to quickly get excited about the future. 

NBA G League @nbagleague

JG was in his bag for the <a href="https://twitter.com/HoustonRockets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HoustonRockets</a> in their first <a href="https://twitter.com/NBASummerLeague?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBASummerLeague</a> game! <a href="https://t.co/JuXv8c7Kwp">pic.twitter.com/JuXv8c7Kwp</a>

Mobley was a bit more underwhelming. In 28 minutes the center posted 12 points, five boards and three blocks. He shot 6-of-17 from the floor and missed the two three-point attempts he took. 

Big men generally take longer to develop and adapt to life in the NBA. It makes plenty of sense he would struggle against Kenyon Martin Jr., who already has a year of pro ball on his resume. 

That doesn't mean there weren't standout moments for the USC product. 

Cleveland Cavaliers @cavs

First bucket as a Cavalier โœ”๏ธ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CavsSummer?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CavsSummer</a> <a href="https://t.co/EJAAaw2rz7">pic.twitter.com/EJAAaw2rz7</a>

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Bring the peanut butter, Evan Mobley got the JAM ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿ’ช <a href="https://t.co/AjhHPvTxxg">pic.twitter.com/AjhHPvTxxg</a>

"I was super excited to play my first game," Mobley told reporters after the loss. "I haven't played in a very long time since college and I wanted to shake some rust off there."

If this is what a rusty Mobley looks like, Cavs fans have little to worry about. As the cliche goes, summer league doesn't tell executives who can play, it shows them who can't. 

Mobley, by virtue of his days at USC and his early run on Sunday, has certainly proved he can play. There's also likely to be significant growth between summer league and the start of the regular season. Training camp and the preseason will make sure of that. 

It'll do the same for Green, which may have the Rockets feeling like they got a steal with the No. 2 pick. 

Jonathan Wasserman @NBADraftWass

Almost as if Jalen Green can teleport when turning the corner. Makes his move to get downhill and suddenly he's at the rim.

As the shooting guard prepares to take his place in a Houston starting lineup alongside Christian Wood, John Wall, Kevin Porter Jr. and Daniel Theis, he already looks ready to handle an NBA season and become a cornerstone for the Rockets.