Rockets' No. 2 pick Jalen Green: 'I didn't want to be in Detroit'
On the night of the NBA Draft, the Pistons had a decision to make between Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green with the No. 1 overall pick.
The Pistons chose Cunningham and Green landed with the Houston Rockets with the second pick. That seemed to start a personal rivalry — at least on Green’s part — because he thought that he should have been the top selection.
Green stoked more of the vitriol with some comments about Detroit in a story by Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
“I wanted to be the No. 1 pick, but as for the location, I didn't want to be in Detroit,” Green told Yahoo Sports. “I felt a lot more comfortable in Houston. It felt like a real homie environment. With Detroit, it felt like I was just going back to the G League bubble, and I just got out of the bubble. That’s pretty much what it was.
“In the (G League) bubble, I didn’t really have anything to do but just stay in the gym. I didn’t have any time to get away for myself. The only time I had to get away for myself was in my apartment. That’s what it felt like in Detroit. I wouldn’t be stepping outside in Detroit. There are not many things you can do in Detroit like that. You’re going to stay in the gym and then go back to your apartment.”
That’s a stark difference from comments that Green made to GQ ahead of the draft. In that interview, Green had a different tone, probably more as a sound byte for being the No. 1 pick than a genuine interest.
“I want to live in Detroit,” Green told GQ in July. “I want my respect. … As a person and a basketball player.”
The Pistons and Rockets played last Tuesday in Las Vegas, with Green and the Rockets prevailing, 111-91. Green scored 25 points in the game and Cunningham had 20.
In Las Vegas, Green again showed his disappointment with not being the first pick. Before the matchup last week, he reiterated to Houston reporters that he thought the Pistons made a mistake in picking Cunningham.
“I feel I should have been No. 1,” Green said. “But it’s all good. We’ll show. It’s going to be a good game. No. 1 vs. No. 2. That’s what people are going to be looking for.”
The NBA schedule hasn’t been released, but the two matchups between the Pistons and Rockets will have a little more at stake.