Jalen Green Outduels Cade Cunningham, Rockets Beat Pistons in NBA Summer LeagueAugust 11, 2021
The top two picks in this year's NBA draft, Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green, faced off Tuesday night when the Detroit Pistons played the Houston Rockets in Summer League action.
And they didn't disappoint.
The Rockets earned the 111-91 win behind Green's 25 points, five rebounds and three assists in what was a fun matchup. Cunningham equally showed out in the loss, posting 20 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
While Cunningham and Green received top billing, Houston's Alperen Sengun made his mark as well, putting up 21 points and eight rebounds. He's shaping up to be a real steal for the Rockets.
But we're here for the Cunningham and Green highlights. They're the top two picks, after all. And there were plenty.
Cunningham showed off some sizzle from deep, and some leadership throughout the game too:
Cade Cunningham attacks to score.<br>Cade Cunningham attacks to dish.<br><br>The No. 1 pick is doing it all for the <a href="https://twitter.com/DetroitPistons?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DetroitPistons</a> on ESPN! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBASummer?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBASummer</a> <a href="https://t.co/6yqclpNaCr">pic.twitter.com/6yqclpNaCr</a>
Leading the way... listen in to No. 1 pick <a href="https://twitter.com/CadeCunningham_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CadeCunningham_</a> mic'd up for the <a href="https://twitter.com/DetroitPistons?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DetroitPistons</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBASummer?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBASummer</a><br><br>2nd half is underway on ESPN <a href="https://t.co/znpUwii1Ik">pic.twitter.com/znpUwii1Ik</a>
Of course, Green was not to be outdone:
No. 2 pick Jalen Green is getting going in the 2nd quarter on ESPN! <a href="https://twitter.com/HoustonRockets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HoustonRockets</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBASummer?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBASummer</a> <a href="https://t.co/NSJalPURrQ">pic.twitter.com/NSJalPURrQ</a>
The two offer a stark contrast in many ways. Cunningham is smooth and silky, plays at his own pace and keeps his teammates involved. He's as natural a facilitator as he is a scorer and is rarely rushed. It's not hard to see why he was the top overall pick.
But Green is explosive. He was born to score the rock. He attacks downhill well. He had some struggles (four turnovers in all) when the Pistons threw traps and double teams at him—yes, they were throwing traps and double teams at him in a Summer League game—while Killian Hayes took his defensive assignment against Green personally.
But through it all, Green still put up points and got the win.
There are going to be other rookies who flash this season. But if Summer League is any indication, the Rookie of the Year award this year will be decided between Cunningham and Green. Both are more than ready for this stage.