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Houston Rockets: Jae’Sean Tate proves he belongs

PORTLAND, OREGON - DECEMBER 26: Jae'Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets shoots past CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the second quarter at Moda Center on December 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - DECEMBER 26: Jae'Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets shoots past CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the second quarter at Moda Center on December 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Jae’Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets: What the future holds for Jae’Sean Tate

Jae’Sean Tate’s journey to the NBA has been such a triumph that it can be easily forgotten that it’s nowhere near over. At only 25-years-old there is still a lot of basketball to be played in his future.

While Tate’s defensive abilities are his calling card now, his ceiling will be determined by how much he can improve on the offensive end. His NBA career is young but he has promising indicators that he could be a plus on offense.

Tate’s offense is primed for improvement

The most important shots in the NBA are lay-ups, 3-pointers, and free-throws. Almost no player is elite in all three areas but one has to be adept in one of these areas to become a true offensive force.

Players that are good at creating and converting lay-ups tend to be some of the best offensive players in the league. The reason is two-fold, first, lay-ups are the highest conversion shot in the game, and, second, players get fouled a lot more around the rim which leads to free-throws.

Tate is already good at getting to the rim, he takes 44.2-percent of his shots there, and then he finishes well with a 67.4-percent conversion rate. If neither of these numbers experience change, it is still an incredible offense base from which to build around.

Due to Tate’s adherence to shots at the rim, his free-throw attempt rate of 27.9-percent is well above the league average of 25.2-percent. In short, Tate already possesses the type of offensive profile that one wants and he’ll likely only get better as he acclimates to the NBA.

The area where Tate has struggled most is that his free-throw shooting has been decidedly below average. He’s only hitting 65.5-percent of his free-throws, which is actually an improvement in that area from when he was playing in Australia last season.

The other area slowing Tate down is that he’s been below average on corner 3-pointers. For the season, Tate is hitting 34.5-percent of his 3-pointers but only 30-percent of his corner threes.

Something has to give, either Tate is well over-performing on the more difficult threes or he is underperforming on the easier ones in the corner. If he is in fact underperforming from the corner then Tate could see his 3-point shooting spike and suddenly he’s a well-rounded offense beast, but if not, then he’ll have to hit the gym long and hard to get his shot where it needs to be.

Jae’Sean Tate’s potential is massive

Tate’s potential is massive and if he improves to league average on his corner threes and free-throws he’ll be a two-way stud. His ball-handling and playmaking likely will prevent him from becoming a number one option but he could become an elite finisher on offense that hounds players on the defensive end.

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Throughout his life, Tate has had to overcome a multitude of obstacles, and each time he has persevered and then prospered. He may never become an NBA star, but betting against Jae’Sean Tate has been a bad bet since he was eight years old.

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