With a 13-game losing streak, the Rockets continue to sink. But amid the struggles that characterize the Houston franchise today, Alperen Sengun is getting dirty more and more often. So some consider the Turkish pivot to be the Rockets’ true future franchise player, ahead of Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr. and Co.
Alperen Sengun’s name was everywhere this Sunday morning, but not really for the right reasons. In fact, the 20-year-old Turk was posted twice by a ruthless Anthony Edwards. It’s enough to make you forget about its overall performance, which again is very solid.
With 19 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 1 interception on 7/9 shooting (1/1 on 3-points, 4/10 on free throws), Sengun admired his versatility against Wolves, just days after LeBron James’ big game was released on the floor of the Lakers. Last Monday in Los Angeles, where he finished with 33 pawns, 15 holds, 6 caviars and 4 tarps on 14/17 in the shoot. Pretty serious kid, isn’t he? So serious that he has added his name along with legendary Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon.
Youngest Rockets player to finish a game 30-15 since the towering Hakeem Olajuwon? Alperen Sengun.
— TrashTalk (@TrashTalk_fr) January 17, 2023
If there’s one thing that can make Rockets fans smile right now, it’s this: the level and development of Alperen Sengun in his second NBA season. Yes, his rise was more or less expected given his promising rookie campaign, his good Euro with Turkey and the departure of interior Christian Wood to Dallas. But his performances are particularly outstanding today the fact that the Rockets remain a slammed team (worst record in the West, 13-game losing streak), a team where sophomore Jalen Green hasn’t made the expected jump and where Jabari Smith Jr. – third pick of the last Draft – is having a relatively cautious rookie campaign.
The great Nikola Jokic – Sengun’s idol – said it a few weeks ago: “the Rockets should play with him on offense” instead of making hero ball and shooting a lot of 3-pointers (35 per game, th -9 largest average in the NBA ). Same story with Anthony Edwards’ side, who embarrassed Sengun yesterday but has the greatest respect for the Turkish pivot.
“I think the Rockets should build around number 28 [Sengun, ndlr.]. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. are also franchise players, but this guy is serious. We built our game plan around him.”
Talent, game vision, nerve, intelligence… Alperen Sengun has enough qualities to be the center of attack one day. In any case, the Rockets look more like a basketball team when he touches the ball than when Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. try. to get themselves for James Harden. KPJ’s recent absences (missing the last 5 games) are probably unrelated to the Turkish nugget’s current good performances.
Alperen Sengun with PAIN behind the coin 😱pic.twitter.com/a8B9GTdtAx
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧’ 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) January 22, 2023
And if Alperen Sengun will truly be the franchise player of the Rockets?
In view of what we are currently seeing, the question is legitimate. Author of his first career triple-double (youngest player in Rockets history to score a TD) ten days ago and walking some nights in the footsteps of Hakeem Olajuwonthe 20-year-old pivot clearly scored points while others failed.
What the Rockets need most now is structure, balance, consistency in the game. By really basing their system around Sengun’s attributes, the Houston team will likely come out on top. grown up. This doesn’t mean we’re giving up on Jalen Green’s immense potential, and Turk represents the miracle solution to all of the Rockets’ current problems.
But maybe it’s necessary for the Rockets if they finally want to progress together.