The Houston Rockets have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2023-24 season. The Rockets hoped to end phase one of their rebuild, as the organization underwent a complete face-lift.
All in all, the Rockets doled out $128 million to Fred VanVleet (as opposed to bringing back James Harden), $86 million to Dillon Brooks, and $28.5 million to Ime Udoka.
In spite of GM Rafael Stone's shopping spree, many remained skeptical of the Rockets' chances of being a contender.
This especially appeared to be the case after the Rockets' dismal performance on opening day, as they got baptized 116-86 by the Orlando Magic. However, the Rockets are currently riding a five-game winning streak and currently rank fifth in the Western Conference with a 5-3 record.
The Rockets rank sixth in net rating, eighth in defensive rating, and 12th in offensive rating on the season.
Alperen Sengun has played at an All-Star level- 19 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 61.7 percent from the field, and 63.7 percent true shooting- and will certainly be one of the biggest snubs if he maintains this level of play and narrowly misses the cut.
Sengun went head-to-head with San Antonio Spurs generational big man Victor Wembanyama and outplayed him, dropping a stat line of 25 points (11-of-18), 60.6 percent true shooting,14 rebounds, and 7 assists, whereas Wembanyama had 21 points (7-of-19), a measly 46.6 percent true shooting, 12 rebounds, and one assist.
Houston Rockets center illustrates mastery of English language
Sengun also recently tied Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon's franchise record for assists by a big man, which is quite an accomplishment. After the game, Sengun used the perfect word to describe the Rockets' dominance, stating that the team is playing like animals.
"We are playing like animals, right now," Şengün said. "Everyone is tough and physical, everyone’s helping each other, and nobody’s getting easy points anymore. We’re running back. We’re doing everything right now.....We’re not going to let anyone mess with us this year."
Sengun took to Twitter following Friday's victory over the New Orleans Pelicans and used yet another brilliant word: monster.
Regardless of your preferred word choice, Sengun was right. The Rockets have been dominant and unstoppable.
And much sooner than anyone would've expected.