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Thunder and Rockets Top Picks With Quiet Performances on Friday

It's been a slow start to the season for Rockets rookie Jalen Green and Thunder rookie Josh Giddey.

Leading up to the 2021 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets had a major connection. The results of the draft lottery would ultimately decide whether the Rockets would keep their own pick, or if it would convey to the Thunder.

After an unlucky lottery, Houston would keep their pick at No. 2 overall while OKC landed the No. 6 pick.

On draft night, the Rockets selected Jalen Green while the Thunder took Josh Giddey.

On Friday night, these two rookies had the opportunity to face off in just their second ever NBA game. Both rookies had extremely quiet nights, as they continue to adjust to the game against the top talent in the world.

In a matchup in which Oklahoma City lost 124-91, Giddey finished with just six points, four assists and two rebounds in 20 minutes. Green struggled as well, producing nine points on 11 shots to go along with three boards and two assists. 

It's still very early in the season, but both of these prospects project to have extremely high ceilings and could be the face of their respective franchises at some point down the road.

Another connection between the Thunder and Rockets on draft night centered around the No. 16 overall pick and Alperen Sengun. OKC traded that pick to Houston for two future first rounders as the Rockets selected the young center.

While the Thunder still don't have their center of the future, the opportunity to turn the sixteenth overall pick for two first-round picks was too good to pass up.

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Even if Sengun ends up being a just an average starting center, the deal is still worth it for the Thunder. If he ends up being an NBA All-Star, that's a different story. It's a situation that will be fun to follow over the coming years, as fans see what type of player Sengun ends up being as well as who the Thunder end up landing with that future draft capital.

It's a deal that truly can't be evaluated for another five years or more. In Friday night's game, Sengun finished with six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes of play.

Shortly after trading away the No. 16 pick, OKC selected Tre Mann with the No. 18 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He's a project, but has tremendous upside as a scorer. He finished with eight points off the bench on Friday, knocking down two of his three attempts from beyond the arc. 

Young rookies will have a huge impact on both the Rockets and Thunder this season.

It was a successful draft for the Thunder last summer, but will continue to be interesting to monitor the prospects as they grow over the coming years.

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