The first meeting between the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft did not disappoint with Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green putting on a show at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Green poured in 25 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 111-91 win over the Detroit Pistons, while Cunnigham finished with 20 points, giving us a glimpse at a rivalry that is sure to light up the NBA in the future.
Let's jump into some key takeaways from the Vegas showdown.
1. Green is going to be an offensive force
Following up his 23-point debut in Vegas, Green continued to show why he is considered the best scorer in the draft.
His ability to create his own shot and get to the rim is already at an elite level and impressively, he went 10-of-11 at the free throw line as he consistently got downhill and put the Pistons defence under pressure attacking the basket.
Green's 25 points came on 6-of-11 shooting and 3-of-5 from long range. 25 points on 11 shots is some wildly efficient basketball, especially in a Summer League setting.
As both players guarded each other for long stretches, we got to see them go at each other, with both having their moments. In the fourth quarter, Green stared down Cunningham after burying a 3-pointer.
Jalen Green drains it from downtown 🔥- NBA TV (@NBATV) August 11, 2021
He's got 25 PTS on the night!#NBASummer pic.twitter.com/SIp3CfTIFH
"I saw him drive winning. I saw him pass to teammates. I saw him make the right plays. I continue to be really impressed with his approach," Rockets coach Will Weaver said post-game.
2. Cunningham's versatility
Cunningham can play multiple positions from 1-3 and he continues to show how versatile he can be in an NBA offence.
He finished with 20 points, four rebounds, three steals and a block, connecting on 4-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Cunningham's combination of scoring, playmaking and leadership is exactly what the Pistons need, sorely missing a ball handler and creator last season as he displayed a strong ability to control the pace of the game and keep his teammates involved.
The sequence below, Cunningham gets to the rim, then gets the steal on the other end, before creating a transition bucket.
Cade Cunningham attacks to score.- NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2021
Cade Cunningham attacks to dish.
The No. 1 pick is doing it all for the @DetroitPistons on ESPN! #NBASummer pic.twitter.com/6yqclpNaCr
While he only finished with two assists, he consistently created scoring opoprtunities for teammates certainly would have had more if not for the Pistons' rough night shooting from beyond the arc, going 7-of-35 on the night.
Going back-and-forth with Green, Cunningham had one of the plays of the game, catching the No. 2 pick with this smooth behind-the-back dribble, before draining the 3-pointer.
Cade Cunningham connects from beyond the arc early! #NBASummer- NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2021
Watch the TOP 2 PICKS now on ESPN pic.twitter.com/fdUEP2kw44
3. Sengun steals the show
While all eyes were on the top two picks, Houston's No. 16 overall pick Alperen Sengun proved just as impressive, dominating inside for the Rockets.
He recorded 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, adding eight rebounds and four blocks. He buried one 3-pointer on the night which caught everyone's attention, pulling up from the logo with ease.
Alperen Sengun from the LOGO! @DetroitPistons 50@HoustonRockets 62#NBASummer on ESPN pic.twitter.com/pJXjR50s0s- NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2021
4. Josh Christopher goes upstairs
In the third quarter, No. 24 pick Josh Christopher got out on a 3-on-1 fastbreak and rose up to throw down the reverse jam off the alley-oop dime.
Josh Christopher with the REVERSE OOP in transition! #NBASummer @HoustonRockets lead on ESPN pic.twitter.com/Q6z9qfnnPn- NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2021
He was productive in his 26 minutes on court, recording 15 points and seven assists.
5. What's next?
The Rockets are back in action on Thursday against the Toronto Raptors, while the Pistons will face the New York Knicks on Friday.
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