A lot to like about Rockets rookie
By Lance Jenkinson
It will be a season of growth for the Houston Rockets in the NBA.
The Rockets core is one of the youngest in the league and the training wheels are well and truly on under coach Stephen Silas.
Conceding 72 points to a slightly more advanced Minnesota Timberwolves in the first half of the season opener is still hard to stomach, despite where the Rockets are in their development.
However, a positive response by the Rockets in the second half showed they are willing to fight it out and work on mending their deficiencies.
The Timberwolves ultimately won the game 124-106, but the Rockets took the second half.
You take those little victories when you’re a young team finding your identity like the Rockets are.
Another little win for the Rockets was an incredible third quarter from newly drafted big Alperen Sengun.
Sengun was at times bullied for size against Timberwolves powerhouse Karl Anthony Towns, but he never waved the white flag in his debut game.Embed from Getty Images
The Turkish youngster finished with 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals in just 19 minutes of action.
While he needs to bulk up for defensive assignments, Sengun was ready to contribute offensively from the get-go.
The 19-year-old was always involved away from the ball, setting competent screens for his teammates and seemingly understanding the playbook back to front.
When the ball was in Sengun’s hands, that was when he was at his most dangerous.
First and foremost, he was crafty in the paint, backing down and sidestepping his way to easy points.
When he operated further from the basket, he was like a quarterback, marshalling the team around the court.
Sengun’s basketball IQ is undeniable.
His best play was a jaw dropper, started by cheekily poking the ball away from Timberwolves opponent Naz Reid. Utilising his speed, Sengun joined the attack while Reid remained in the back court.
Once Sengun got possession of the ball, he made the numerical advantage count, firing off a sizzling pass to fellow big Christian Wood for a slam.
Sengun was on the receiving end of some ‘welcome to the NBA’ moments from the heavier and more experienced Towns, but this sample of play was his forewarning to the rest of the league that his potential is sky high.
It might have been an 18-point loss for the Rockets, but these little victories can get the fans excited about their future.