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The Rockets’ five-game road trip brought the best out of Jae’Sean Tate

Jae’Sean Tate played incredible basketball on the Rockets’ five-game road trip.

Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

As of last year, Jae’Sean Tate became a proven undrafted rookie from overseas with the Houston Rockets. He averaged 11.3 points per contest, 5.3 rebounds, and shot 50.6 percent from the field. Those efforts on the court retrieved first team All-Rookie 2021. It was an astounding previous year for Tate after having an elevated journey from Ohio State.

Tate played one year overseas but was able to impress Rafael Stone by averaging 16.4 points per game, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and shooting 65.8 percent from the field. His 6’4” frame introduces opponents to bully ball, great footwork, toughness, ability to move without the basketball, and terrific defense. Tate has played great basketball over the Rockets’ five-game road trip after a slow start.

During the five games, Tate averaged 15 points, shot 58.3 percent from the field with a 63.5 percent effective field goal rating, 38.5 percent beyond the perimeter, and 102.1 offensive and 109.1 defensive rating.

The second night versus the Los Angeles Lakers, Tate showcased his defense and the ability to move without the basketball. Coach Silas will move Tate in the corner for wide-open looks, as Kevin Porter Jr. operates on the pick-and-roll with Alperen Sengun, Daniel Thies, and Christian Wood. Tate can also be used in screen actions, such as ghost actions, which could look like back door cut. He is effective without the basketball, as Tate continually uses the method of “45 degree cut”. It’s a simple a cut in the middle of the paint, which is used around the NBA.

When Tate cuts with the basketball, he’s scoring 1.10 points per possession, which is 2.2 points per game.

Silas has also catered to Tate by running double pin down sets so he can use his versatile skill set to create off-the-dribble if another action isn’t there. Tate is not afraid of getting his own shot when the play breaks down. As I mentioned the corner shot already, Tate is 57.1 percent in the right corner. The Rockets’ coaching staff knows his shooting spots. Tate is a better shooter in the catch-and-shoot method, which he is shooting 46.2 percent in the effective field goal category. Silas likes to keep him spaced out so the pick-and-roll can take place for an open shot.

Tate can be effective in transition and drives for the Rockets. He can rebound and accelerate the tempo up the court. His strength around the rim allows him to finish on put backs, drives, and tough shots. When Tate was in high school, his dad taught him variety of post-up moves because he was a big man. Tate has great footwork in the open court and on the lower block. He averages 3.9 drives, as that results in 2.2 points per game in that category. Tate is toying with his opponents on the lower block. He is killing the opposing player in post-ups, as he is shooting 50 percent from the field.

At 230lbs, Tate is a freight train in transition because of his massive shoulder, as he breaks down defenders by going into their chest. Tate uses his upper body strength to finish over the top of his defender. In transition, Tate scores 1.32 point per position and is in the 80.3 percentile. He has great court vison and creates space while in transition.

Tate’s strongest trait is DEFENSE. Inside this five-game stretch, Tate has guarded Lebron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Nikola Jokic. His great footwork, size, and strength allows him to anyone in the league. He even held Booker and Paul to 3-11 shooting from the field. Tate can guard 1-5 while on defense. If Tate continues to play disciplined defense, he can be one of the league’s best defenders. Silas is astounded to have Tate take on these defensive challenges. Silas said:

“It’s his mentality. His versatility is great. His strength and size are great for our group. He wanted to guard those guys and wants to be in those situations. He wants to be the stopper down the stretch, so he was really really good tonight. His scoring and crashing the glass, then his defense. That’s good for a second year player,” Silas said.

On the season, Tate has a 105.9 defensive rating and believes he can be a top-rated defender. Tate said.

“I feel like I can be an elite defender and coach trusts me to guard the best players on the opposing team.”