Jalen Green is excited and nervous on eve of NBA regular season debut

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As the Houston Rockets concluded practice on Tuesday, there was one player who wandered off and found his own basketball, which he used to shoot on a side goal. You could tell that he was in his zone as he casually shot at the basket — all while talking and singing to himself, as if he was the only person in the gym at the time.

Some might assume that this is about a veteran player, but that is not the case. The young man in question was rookie shooting guard Jalen Green, who will make his NBA regular-season debut on Wednesday as the Rockets begin play versus the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

“I am excited and nervous,” said Green. “We are in the NBA now. We have fans, we are at the highest level competing, so it should be fun. This is what we worked, what I worked for to get to this moment.”

Green, 19, was selected No. 2 overall in the 2021 NBA draft by the Rockets after spending one season in the G-League where he averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists a game.

After Tuesday’s practice at Toyota Center, Green was asked if he felt any pressure after being taken so high in the draft.

“It’s just basketball at the end of the day,” he responded. “Sometimes, I do feel that pressure a little bit. I feel like I have to come out and be perfect. But I have to remember that it is basketball. The game I love, and I want to stay in love with it.”

Tipoff between the Rockets and Timberwolves is set for 7 p.m. Central on Wednesday night.

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