Right in the heart of the Houston Rockets’ rebuilding phase lies the rising talent of Alperen Sengun, a young, third-year center who has been making waves in the NBA landscape. At just 21 years old, Sengun has taken yet another leap forward this season, drawing comparisons to the likes of Nikola Jokic, the two-time NBA MVP of the Denver Nuggets. His recent performances have been nothing short of exceptional, serving as the linchpin for Houston during their active six-game winning streak.
They just beat the defending champions too, 107-104, with Sengun in the middle of it all. He shined on both ends of the floor.
Standing tall at the center position, the Turkish national embodies the essence of a crafty big man whose basketball IQ is well beyond his years. What sets him apart is his innate ability to read the game, a trait reminiscent of seasoned veterans. Unlike many young players, Sengun doesn’t rush or force his contributions on the court. Instead, he possesses a remarkable patience, allowing the flow of the game to dictate his actions, making him a true asset to the Rockets’ strategy.
What’s also good is his defense, especially the one he showcased against the Nuggets the other day. While Jokic remains as an unstoppable force, Sengun was able to hold his own one-on-one. Not many can claim that in today’s game:
Another one of Sengun’s standout qualities is his refined post game, a skill that continues to evolve and improve. His footwork and awareness in the low post showcase a maturity beyond his age, enabling him to navigate through defenders with ease. Sengun’s proficiency in the paint has become a cornerstone of his offensive repertoire, providing the Rockets with a reliable option in crucial moments.
The stats only affirm Sengun’s impact on the court. Averaging an impressive 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game while shooting an outstanding 60.6% from the field, his contributions transcend traditional big man expectations. Notably, his playmaking abilities as a center, highlighted by his adept passing, mirror the multi-faceted style that has earned Jokic widespread acclaim.
Beyond the numbers, Sengun’s basketball instincts shine through in his decision-making. Whether it’s finding an open teammate with a precise pass or exploiting defensive mismatches, his court vision and understanding of spacing elevate the team’s offense.
While comparisons to a player of Jokic’s caliber may seem premature, the parallels in their playing styles and impact on the game cannot be overlooked. Sengun’s combination of finesse, basketball IQ, and statistical contributions at such a young age hint at a promising future, one that makes him a potential top center in the league.
While the Rockets continue their rebuilding journey, Sengun appears to be, at the very least, a co-flagbearer of hope and promise, which is crazy since it was thought to be a slot exclusively for teammate Jalen Green, just two years ago, when they were drafted together.
In any case, Sengun’s rise as a multifaceted center, capable of influencing the game in various facets, offers yet another scope into the evolution of the modern big man. With each game, his growth and impact reinforce the belief that he is destined to carve his own legacy in the NBA, trailing a path that’s nothing short of exciting for fans even outside the Rockets’ realm.
Houston is better than expected, and has jumped into a 6-3 start in the mighty Western Conference. It’ll be exciting to see how far the team can stretch their potential as a first-year core, especially Sengun.