It looks as if simply yesterday that we have been following Josh Christopher round Lakewood, California—across the neighborhood and the highschool (Mayfair) the place he rose to prominence.
Again then, in 2019, Mayfair head coach Tony Davis mentioned this about Christopher: “He’s undoubtedly very charismatic, and as a basketball participant he’s all the time had a stage of confidence that’s uncommon. I feel that’s one factor that helps separate him—he has an timeless perception of his talents and also you don’t see that in youngsters.”
He has an timeless perception in his talents. Spend any time round Christopher and that turns into apparent. The extraordinarily proficient guard additionally simply oozes confidence. It made Davis a believer. It made SLAM a believer. It made anybody listening to highschool hoops a believer.
At 6-3, with spectacular athleticism, versatility and playmaking abilities, Christopher turned a five-star recruit and top-12 prospect in his class. As he informed SLAM in 2019, when he was on the duvet of the journal alongside fellow HS superstars Jalen Inexperienced and Sharife Cooper, he additionally possesses the starvation to be nice. “I feel folks don’t notice how a lot I really like basketball,” he mentioned. “I feel that they assume I’m utilizing basketball as a option to do different issues and never as a result of I like the sport. They don’t see—I put in a variety of work. I put in an entire lot of labor.
“I watch basketball. I do know basketball. Basketball is my life.”
Christopher spent one season at Arizona State (he was the highest-rated commit in class historical past), averaging 14.3 factors, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per sport. The Rockets took him with the 24th general decide within the 2021 Draft, the place in addition they obtained Inexperienced, Alperen Sengun and Usman Garuba. Christopher performed sparingly by way of the primary few months of the season, spending a while within the G League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 22 factors, 6.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists and a pair of.0 steals in three appearances.
In mid-December, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas began to present him extra minutes, and Christopher began to indicate flashes of his potential: 18 factors on 7/7 from the sector and 4/4 from three in a win over the Nets; 17 factors and 4 assists in opposition to the Cavaliers; 14 factors and three steals in opposition to the Lakers. His perimeter capturing has been up and down, however the Cali native has all the time been capable of finding methods to attain. He assaults the rim fearlessly, pulls up for little midrange jumpers within the paint and pushes it in transition. His shiftiness and handles make him a tricky cowl one-on-one. He likes to placed on a present (see right here). And naturally, he isn’t shy.
He has an timeless perception in his talents.
Town of Houston is studying increasingly about these talents. Silas is wanting towards the long run and unleashing his rookies. Christopher is averaging 9.9 factors on 46 % capturing from the sector thus far in March. He notched double figures in 4 straight outings, together with a 21-point efficiency (in simply 22 minutes) in an extra time victory over the Lakers final Wednesday. He additionally crammed the stat sheet when the Rockets visited the Warmth on March 7: 16 factors, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.
We lately spent an “off-day” with Christopher. What we discovered is that he mainly must be pressured to take them. “Truthfully, I’m so joyful to be a rookie and play basketball—once I’m simply within the crib bored, I need to get within the fitness center,” he informed us. “So our teaching employees threatened to take all of my footwear out of my locker final night time as a result of I mentioned I used to be coming again to the fitness center. Days off are cool however I like being within the fitness center. So days off—I’m joyful to have them, however I might do with out them, too.”
As he informed USA Immediately in February, “I’m all about outcomes. You’ll be able to’t get outcomes in case you are not placing the work in. When your work pays off, it makes me need to do extra, truthfully. I’m hooked on getting higher. I simply need to maintain working.”