Rockets rookie power forward Usman Garuba has great expectations for the future of fellow Houston first-year player Jalen Green, projecting Green’s scoring to ascend in the coming seasons, per Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype. The second pick in the 2021 draft, Green averaged 17.3 PPG on .426/.343/.797 shooting across 67 contests this year.
“He’ll be an All-Star for sure,” Green raved. “And I think he’s going to be the NBA’s leading scorer in a few years. We have to help him to achieve those goals. He’s by far the player that has surprised me the most this year. We all know how good was Anthony Edwards this season, right? Green will play like him next year, maybe even better.”
The 6’8″ Garuba, selected with the No. 23 pick by Houston in the 2021 draft, did not get a ton of run during his first year on a developing Rockets club. The 20-year-old averaged just 10.0 MPG across 24 games in 2021/22. He confirmed his interest in a return to the Summer League and to Spain during the 2022 offseason, with the blessing of the Houston front office.
“What I need now is to play games,” Garuba said. “After a season where I suffered some injuries, I started to play regularly by the end of March. Just when we played the last game I was like ‘Is that it? I want to play more!’ The Rockets know that if I’m healthy, I want to play for the Spanish team (in EuroBasket) – if they call me – and they’re OK with it.”
There’s more out of the Lone Star State:
- Sharpshooting new Mavericks big man Davis Bertans has made his mark for Dallas in the playoffs thus far, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Bertans was fairly demure in addressing his postseason performances, particularly a strong Game 4. “That is always a big deal every game, not just the playoffs,” Bertans said. “You have the guys bailing out the starters. Very often that boost comes when the team is leading, and the second unit comes in and lifts the team up even more. That just gives more confidence to the team and the starters for the rest of the game.”
- The $55MM contract extension the Mavericks lavished on forward Dorian Finney-Smith earlier this year is looking better as the playoffs progress, writes Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Finney gave the Mavs a much-needed boost in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Suns on Sunday, scoring 24 points while going 8-of-12 from long range. “When he’s playing like that, when he’s aggressive and not thinking about the shot and just catch-and-shoot, he’s as good as anyone,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “We needed that lift, and he picked us up.” Finney-Smith’s two-way play has been a massive help to Dallas throughout the postseason. In the first round of the playoffs, he averaged an efficient 13.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG across 43.3 MPG while guarding All-Star Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell the majority of the time.
- Spurs owner Peter J. Holt has reiterated to Spurs fans that he intends to keep the club in San Antonio for the long haul in a statement published on the team site. “There are no Spurs without the city and the people of San Antonio,” Holt wrote. “Your team, our team, together we are the silver and black. Spurs fans – we are here to stay, Por Vida.” The letter reassured Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “It makes one feel better,” Calvert said. Fears of the team possibly relocating may have been stirred after news broke that the team wants to play four “home” games away from their home arena during each of the next two NBA seasons. The Spurs are eyeing home games elsewhere in Texas (Austin and San Marcos) and in Mexico (Mexico City and Monterrey).