Alperen Sengun’s dream training on rockets; Dennis Schroeder sticking around?

The Rockets continued their losing streak last week by leading 0-3, and were eliminated by the Utah Jazz, 135-101, and the Los Angeles Clippers, 142-111, but they somehow managed to hold their own with the league leaders Phoenix Suns, 124 -121.

The Rockets (15-43) have lost seven times in a row and have been 1-9 in the last 10. They opened a three-game cushion over the Oklahoma City Thunder (18-40), who were 4-6 over the last 10, for their third-worst record in league. Remember that the odds from the third-worst to fourth-worst record drop from 52.1% to 48.1% for choosing four positions.

The fourth to fifth worst drop is the big drop – 48.1% to 42.1%. The Rockets have a five-game cushion over the Pacers (20-40) for this spot. You could argue the rockets are out of the woods now out of danger of falling to fifth.

Training with a legend

The Rockets released a video last week of rookie center training Alperen Sengun with franchise icon Hakim Olaywan. The release was met with insane excitement on the app.

I am optimistic about marriage. Longtime fans of the team will remember that Olajuwon famously trained with center of excellence Dwight Howard several summers ago. At the risk of committing blasphemy, I felt for many years that Olajuwon might not have been Dwight’s best teacher. What Howard needed was someone to give him the honest dish about his abilities. He was one of the league’s most dominant pick-and-roll players of all time, and he probably could have maintained his place as one of the best big players in basketball had he just embraced his power. Instead, Howard tried to conform to what he believed to be the dominant position on his account.

On the other hand, Sengun has the full package – agility, agility, skill, strength and vision. Unlike Howard, he’s someone who has to live in position, even in the modern NBA when changes to illegal defense rules left teams gravitating toward the periphery. I’ve said all year that Sengun should eventually become the focus of the missile attack. Olajuwon can teach him tricks of the trade that have been refined over the course of his Hall of Fame career. We hope that the teacher and student will have many sessions.

A short term solution?

Houston Rockets guard Dennis Schroeder leads against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)Matt York/The Associated Press

When news broke of the Rockets’ trade deadline move to acquire Dennis Schroeder in exchange for Danielle Theiss, I thought, along with most others, that a buyout wasn’t inevitable. Imagine my surprise once the Copper Rockets started talking about Schroeder, soon after the deal was announced, as if it was part of the team’s plans for the rest of the season.

We’ve all seen what Schroeder did in leading the young Rockets to the bottom line in pushing the Phoenix Suns to the last minute, and the effect it had on Galen Green’s comfort level.

I’m starting to wonder if the Rockets will likely keep Schroeder on a short-term contract. He has historically been underestimated, so there will be no bidding war for his services. Still only 28, he’s young enough to grow up with the team’s young core as one of its veteran leaders (along with Eric Gordon, or if Gordon moves on).

The pluses are that Schroeder will likely help Green and Sengun’s development take the pressure off, help them get good shots in their favorite spots, and help them learn the good habits needed to win the NBA. Green and Sengun are the two biggest possibilities for the team. Anything that can enhance their development is important.

However, the flip side is that Schroeder’s presence smashed minutes for Kevin Porter Jr., Josh Christopher and 19-year-old Daishen Nicks. While these junior players can learn a thing or two from having a veteran player around, they each need enough reps for their development.

I began to hypothesize earlier in the year that Porter might not be the best beside Greene in the long run, although I danced around the idea thoroughly. Seeing how comfortable Green looked beside Schroeder reinforced this belief. Porter is perhaps best suited as the sixth man for this team, a role in which he can only focus on doing what he does best – getting buckets.

As for Knicks, while he has been hailed as a purebred guard, at just 19 years old, there’s really no need to rush it. The club kept it under control for three more seasons after this season. If he is the future in the team position, he can take the torch once Schroeder steps up naturally in the position.

next week

The Rockets will get some much-needed rest this week due to the All-Star break, and they won’t be playing until Friday night when they visit Orlando Magic. That’s a total of seven days off since their last game on February 17th against the Los Angeles Clippers. Friday’s showdown with the Magic (13-47) is a match between the worst and third-worst teams in the NBA. Can rockets catch magic?

The Rockets only have 24 matches left. Enjoy this last month and a half while you can because there will be no postseason in Houston.