Rockets’ Josh Christopher debuts on all-rookie power rankings

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  • Houston Rockets
    Houston Rockets
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  • Josh Christopher
    Josh Christopher
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  • Stephen Silas
    American basketball player-coach

At No. 24 overall, Josh Christopher was the last of four first-round selections by the Houston Rockets in the 2021 NBA draft. But to this point, the 20-year-old certainly isn’t last in impact among the rookies.

Since having a breakout performance on his 20th birthday (Dec. 8), Christopher has earned a regular spot in the rotation for head coach Stephen Silas. In his last 12 games, Christopher is averaging 10.4 points and 2.6 assists in 23.2 minutes, and he’s shooting 53.5% overall and 37.8% on 3-pointers. His true shooting percentage is 64.5%.

Perhaps most importantly, Silas already trusts the versatile 6-foot-5 guard defensively. Even as a rookie, Christopher has spent time covering many elite perimeter scorers and creators in recent weeks.

“His shot selection has gotten way better, and his awareness on the court has gotten better, as well,” head coach Stephen Silas told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. “The last part that we continue to talk to (Christopher) about is his defensive pressure, putting pressure on the ballhandler. That’s improving, as well. If he just does those three things, we’re moving in the right direction. He’s been doing those lately.”

To no surprise, that has led to Christopher jumping onto the scene in the latest edition of the Rookie Wire power rankings. He’s now at No. 6 among the 2021 class after previously not being on the list, at all. In the article, Cody Taylor makes his case and explains what has changed:

Christopher checks in for the first time this season after seeing a larger role as of late with the Rockets among the teams dealing with players in the health and safety protocol. He entered the rotation this month and is posting 10.3 points, 3 assists and 2.8 rebounds over his last eight games.

To illustrate just how young the Rockets are, Christopher was among five rookies on the floor recently as the team continues to build toward the future. The recent playing time certainly bodes well for Christopher, and he looks to be gaining confidence and consistency each time he takes the court.

From No. 5 to No. 1, in order, the only five players currently ranked ahead of Christopher on Taylor’s list are Herb Jones of the Pelicans; teammate Alperen Sengun with the Rockets; Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey; Chris Duarte with the Pacers; and Orlando’s Franz Wagner.

The Rookie Wire list criteria includes at least five appearances since Dec. 15, which is likely why Detroit’s Cade Cunningham, Cleveland’s Evan Mobley, and Houston’s Jalen Green are not on it. Cunningham and Mobley have missed time in health and safety protocols, while Green has not played much over the past month due to a left hamstring strain.

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