Houston Rockets: How to unleash Jae’Sean Tate the playmaker
Draymond Green didn’t always rack up assists like a point guard. Over his first three seasons, he averaged only 4.6 assists per 100 possessions before exploding in year four when he averaged 10.3 assists per 100 possessions, a full season mark he hasn’t dipped beneath since.
Tate, in year one has only averaged 4 assists per 100 possessions but that doesn’t mean he can’t become a true facilitator. Green wasn’t a point forward until he was handed the keys to the car and the rest is history.
The Rockets 124-116 loss to the Utah Jazz was a valiant effort from an undermanned team and a lot of their success came from Tate’s playmaking. In 29.2 minutes Tate posted 10 assists to one turnover as he continuously found holes in the Jazz’s third-ranked defense.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/05/08/0022001016/172/5670aca7-6f30-7314-0d68-ef6bcbcaf4ba_1280x720.mp4
Here Tate pushes the ball down the court and into the teeth of the Jazz’s defense before kicking it out to Danuel House for an open jumper. With John Wall out for the rest of the season, the Rockets should entrust Tate to push the ball and take over some of the playmaking duties to see what they really have in him.
In this next video, Tate looks like a dead ringer for Draymond Green as he brings the ball up the court and then makes the magic happen with poise and guile.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/05/08/0022001016/332/32c6195b-fd60-4106-bd4a-f62786250fbc_1280x720.mp4
Tate’s initial behind-the-back handoff to Kenyon Martin Jr sets up a wide-open jumper. Martin decides not to pull the trigger and Tate effectively sets a pick to give him more time. This allows Martin to pump fake and get his defender up in the air, but instead of driving into Rudy Gobert, he dumps it off to Tate who quickly returns it for an easy bucket.
Nothing in that last play was individually exceptional but when you put it all together it was an incredible individual play. Tate created three good looks for Martin in a span of three seconds and got the likely Defensive Player of the Year off balance to the point that he couldn’t contest the shot.
Here is a similar play that Draymond Green runs that sets up a shot for Stephen Curry. He uses the combination of a handoff and a screen to get Curry an open look before using the attention that Curry generates to slip into the teeth of the defense before finding an open shooter.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/05/08/0022001017/370/709fe4b7-04cc-7656-20af-ba28ac3d50aa_1280x720.mp4
Playing with Stephen Curry has a way of making a player a more willing passer, but the Rockets should use the last few games to experiment with the concept of Tate being the initiator on offense. If Tate can continue to grow as a defender and handle a larger playmaking role then he could end up as Draymond Green-light.
The Golden State Warriors won a championship and set the NBA record for regular-season wins at 73 with Draymond Green as their second-best player. His combination of elite defense and playmaking unleashed one of the greatest runs in history.
Expecting Tate to reach those levels is unrealistic but being 75-percent of Draymond Green is still a borderline All-Star. The Rockets have Tate under contract for two more seasons and they need to see what his upside really is. If he’s anywhere close to Draymond Green the Rockets could have found a true gem.