With a 13-game losing streak, the Rockets continue to sink. But amid the squalor that characterizes the Houston franchise today, Alperen Shenggun is becoming more and more tainted. So much so that some Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr. and Co., consider the Turkish center a real future franchise player for the Rockets.
Alperen Shengun’s name was all over the place this Sunday morning, but not really for the right reasons. Indeed, the 20-year-old Turk has been posterized twice by the ruthless Anthony Edwards. Again, it’s enough to make you forget the overall performance, which is very solid.
19 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal on 7/9 shooting (1/1 on 3-pointers, 4/10 on free throws), Sengun was impressed with his versatility against Wolves, just days after LeBron James missed a big game on the Lakers floor. At 14/17 in Los Angeles shooting last Monday, he finished with 33 pawns, 15 hooks, 6 spawns and 4 tarps. Pretty serious guy, isn’t he? So serious that he’s already added his name along with legendary Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon.
The youngest Rockets player to finish a game 30-15 since the great Hakeem Olajuwon? Alperen Sengun.
— TrashTalk (@TrashTalk_fr) January 17, 2023
If there’s one thing that can make Rockets fans smile today, it’s this: Alperen Shengu’s level and progress in his second NBA season. Yes, his rise was more or less expected given a promising rookie campaign, a nice Euro with Turkey and the departure of insider Christian Wood to Dallas. But his performances stand out today With the Rockets remaining a bad team (worst record in the West, 13 straight losses), sophomore Jalen Green not making the expected breakthrough, and Jabari Smith Jr. – the third pick of the last Draft. – is running a fairly modest rookie campaign.
Big Nikola Jokic — Sengu’s idol — said a few weeks ago, “Instead of doing hero ball and hitting a lot of 3-pointers, the Rockets need to play more on him offensively” (35 per game, 9th-most average in the NBA). ). Same story on the side of Anthony Edwards, who disparaged Shengu yesterday but has the utmost respect for the Turkish pivot.
“I personally think the Rockets should build around No. 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 Shengu has enough qualities to one day become the center of attack. If anything, the Rockets look more like a basketball team when they touch the ball than when Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. try to pass themselves off for James Harden. KPJ’s absence in the last 5 games probably has nothing to do with the Turkish bullpen’s current good performances.
Alperen Shengun is sick from behind 😱pic.twitter.com/a8B9GTdtAx
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧’ 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) January 22, 2023
What if it was Alperen Sheng, the Rockets’ future franchise player?
Given what we see now, the question is valid. Ten days ago, the author of his first career triple-double (the youngest player in Rockets history to score a TD) and walking in the footsteps of Hakeem Olajuwo some eveningsThe 20-year-old pivot is clearly scoring while others are disappointing.
What the Rockets need most today is structure, balance, consistency in the game. Indeed, based on Sengu’s qualities, Houston will probably come out of it. That doesn’t mean we’re discounting Jalen Green’s immense potential, and Turk represents the miracle solution to all of the Rockets’ problems right now.
But ultimately, it’s probably a must for the Rockets if they want to improve collectively.