Houston Rockets rookie TyTy Washington Jr. on Friday called it a dream come true to earn his first career start on the road against the Golden State Warriors.
Washington had 15 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals in the 116-101 loss. He ended up shooting 5 of 12 from the field in 33 minutes of work, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
Competing without their starting backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. (toe) and Jalen Green (groin), the Rockets paved the way for Washington to start. He responded with his fourth game of the season, in which he scored in double figures.
Rockets coach Stephen Silas was happy to see him play well.
I’m happy for him. He played a stable game. You would not have known that this was his first career start. I’m excited to see what he can become because he can play pick and roll. He can get in the paint and shoot a floater and make plays for his teammates. I continue to contend that he is a much better shot than he has shown. I think he did nine 3s before tonight and he did three tonight so I have a lot of faith in him to shoot the ball.
Silas said this week that Washington would see a bigger role with Porter and Green’s team on Friday. One of those two could return against Portland on Sunday, but Washington could keep playing big minutes if they miss overtime.
Washington first learned he could start when the team reunited Wednesday after the All-Star break. The coaching staff gave him some tips on how to approach the start, and Washington used that information for the game.
Coach and the rest of the guys in the starting group encouraged me to use my voice. They’re going to listen to me because I’m the point guard, so that was my biggest focus on the offensive end going into the game: getting out of the switch, pushing the ball up and being vocal.
Washington has played sparingly this season, averaging 4.6 points, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 rebounds in 24 games. However, he has logged at least 19 minutes in each of the Rockets’ last four games and has averaged 8.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds during that span.
Though his very first start didn’t result in a win for the Rockets at all, it will likely be a game Washington will long remember as he begins his career in the NBA.
“I was excited,” Washington said. “This morning at the shootaround when I saw my name on the starters I was like, ‘Oh. Wow!’ Everyone dreams of it, so I’m happy to say that I finally made it in a dream.”
More Houston Missiles!
Rockets’ Stephen Silas on TyTy Washington Jr.: ‘Your time is coming’
NBA 2K23: The top 60 rookie overall ratings at the All-Star Break
NBA Power Rankings: The playoff picture for each team in the All-Star break
Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire