The Houston Rockets just lost to the Denver Nuggets and have another game on tap with them tonight, so reigning MVP Nikola Jokic will have plenty of time getting an up-close and personal look at this young Houston team. After Monday night’s win over the Rockets, he had one interesting observation: the Rockets should play more through center Alperen Sengun.
Sengun has always said that he patterns his game around the two-time MVP Jokic, and you can see that influence in the way he handles himself in both the high and low post, but in particular, it’s Sengun’s passing that really makes the comparison apt. Here’s what Jokic had to say:
“I think he’s very talented. It might sound weird, but I think they should play through him more. Because sometimes they seem too stagnant as a team. Especially when they focus on shooting a lot of threes.
“The man is talented. He can pass the ball, post up, has the touch and is a good finisher around the rim. You can see different moves when he is playing.“
Nikola Jokic speaks highly of Alperen Sengun— FIBA (@FIBA) November 29, 2022
The Rockets themselves are all bought in to this comparison, with Sengun’s teammates calling him “Baby Joker”, and hopefully head coach Stephen Silas is now fully bought in to Sengun as well, particularly now that lob threat Bruno Fernando is back from injury and potentially threatening Sengun’s playing time.
Sengun is having a great season, with a huge bump up in stats from his rookie year. This season, he’s averaging 15.4 points, 9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks per game on 54.2 percent shooting from the field. That’s up from 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.8 blocks on 47.4 percent shooting as a rookie.
So what say you, TDS? Is the Joker right? Should Houston be running it’s offense through Sengun?