ESPN ranks Jalen Green, John Wall, and Christian Wood in NBA’s top 100

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Five-time All-Star John Wall, rising star Christian Wood, and prized rookie Jalen Green are all among the NBA’s top 100 players entering the 2021-22 season, according to new rankings from ESPN.

Unlike Wood and Green, Wall isn’t expected to play this season for the rebuilding Rockets — largely due to his relatively advanced age and Houston’s desire to prioritize the development of Kevin Porter Jr. at point guard. However, his high valuation might offer hope of another team trading for Wall in the coming weeks or months.

Here’s what ESPN had to say about each of the three Houston players, along with where they ranked in the overall top 100 list.

No. 96: Jalen Green

Given his immense talent and opportunity on a young Rockets team, expect Jalen Green to lead all rookies in scoring and make a strong case for Rookie of the Year, similarly to Anthony Edwards a season ago. Keep an eye on how quickly the explosive 6-foot-6 guard is able to impact winning on both ends, along with his efficiency.

Circle Nov. 10th on your calendar, as Green and the Rockets will go head-to-head with No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham and the Pistons. Green has long considered himself the top prospect in his age group, and this matchup gives him another chance to make his case that he’s the best rookie in the NBA.

While Green has yet to play in the NBA, he averaged 20.3 points (51.4% FG, 52.6% on 3-pointers) and 4.3 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game during 2021 Las Vegas Summer League play with the Rockets.

No. 85: John Wall

Can the Rockets work with Wall’s agent Rich Paul to find a new home this season for the veteran point guard? Wall’s supermax contract, which has $91.7 million remaining over the next two seasons, certainly complicates matters. All parties agree that he isn’t a fit with the rebuilding Rockets, who are putting Wall on ice and prioritizing the development of their young backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and rookie Jalen Green.

Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in 32.2 minutes during his first season with the Rockets in 2020-21, but his 40.4% shooting clip was the lowest of his 10-year career. He’s now 31 years old.

No. 60: Christian Wood

Wood, whose breakout season with the Rockets was interrupted by ankle sprains, is one of the NBA’s most versatile bigs in the pick-and-roll. He’s a threat to pop or roll, making it difficult for defenses to settle into coverage schemes, averaging 1.18 points per possession after screening for a ballhandler last season. The rapport Wood builds with young guards Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green will be critical for the Rockets’ present and future.

Wood’s raw numbers of 21.0 points (51.4% FG, 37.4% on 3-pointers) and 9.6 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game might suggest a higher placement on this list following a breakout season, but the 6-foot-10 big man was limited to just 41 games with the Rockets due to persistent ankle issues. With better health and more attention to detail on defense, the 26-year-old could potentially outperform that ranking next season.

ESPN’s complete list of top NBA players from 100-51 can be read here. The top 50 will be published later in the week, but with Green, Wood, and Wall widely viewed as the team’s best players and the Rockets coming off a league-worst 17-55 record in 2020-21, Houston isn’t likely to have any other names on the preliminary 2021-22 list.

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List

Player salaries for the Houston Rockets in 2021-22, future seasons