How the Rockets have unlocked Jae’Sean Tate’s true potential

Jae'Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Jae'Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

When the Houston Rockets made the Victor Oladipo trade on deadline day to the Miami Heat, I began to get a little worried about one player in particular: Jae’Sean Tate. Now, up to this point I have quickly become a huge Tate fan.

He hustles no matter what, he plays no matter what, and doesn’t back down, as evidenced by the fact that James Harden threw a ball at him during a scrimmage in practice. I just see a bigger, more physical Patrick Beverley and as a Rockets fan, I’ve missed that since Pat’s departure.

The thing is though, after the Miami trade for Kelly Olynyk I believed Tate was going to be expendable. I mean the Rockets were getting back a big who at 6’11”-7′, who shoots the lights out of the ball, rebounds very well, has a very high IQ, and more importantly, relieves some much needed pressure off of Christian Wood in the paint.

How the Houston Rockets have unlocked Jae’Sean Tate’s true potential by moving him to the three

The fit was seamless, and I knew that. I just didn’t want to accept it because I thought Tate was just going to go to the bench and play maybe 15 minutes a night for energy, much like KJ Martin. Well thankfully, Coach Silas is a better coach than I started to give him credit for because, let’s just say the move to put Tate at the three just might’ve unlocked Tate’s true potential.

At the three Tate doesn’t have to have his impact on the game be tied to just effort anymore. He can finally play beautiful, stylistic, and systematic basketball.

He can camp out in the corner to hit threes, which he’s doing. And oh, when the defense finally comes out on him to contest the threes, he can break them down and attack the paint for a floater or kick it out to a teammate for an open three, which he’s also doing.

But the best part of all of this is that he hasn’t lost any of his effort. He still rebounds exceptionally well for his 6’4″ frame, as he attacks the offensive glass and still clamps down on the defensive end. To the latter point, Tate leads all rookies with 68 total steals.

And It’s only going to get better. Thanks to this new role offensively, he doesn’t have to tirelessly work the paint night after night against the best bigs in the NBA, which in turn will help his already stellar defense.

And on the offensive end, he can just be himself. He can crash the glass for tip outs, slash when John Wall attacks, camp out for the occasional corner three, or just continue taking what the defense gives him, showcasing his impressive basketball IQ.

Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas’s move is looking like it’s about to pay some huge dividends.

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