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Alperen Sengun is the Houston Rockets’ Gordian Knot 

N.B. Lindberg
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San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
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In the fifth century BCE, the Persian empire was the greatest empire the world had ever seen. It stretched west into modern-day Turkey, east into Pakistan, and south down the Nile river in Egypt. Nestled within the empire, in the heart of Turkey was the ancient city of Gordion, home to the Gordian knot. According to legend, whoever could unbind the Gordian knot would be the ruler of all of Asia. 

Two centuries later, as Alexander the Great unleashed a series of campaigns that would topple the Persian Empire, he conquered the city of Gordion with his eye on loosening the knot that would make him the ruler of Asia. This is where history and myth intertwine. When presented with the knot, Alexander struggled to loosen it. Realizing how the knot was loosened was irrelevant, he drew his sword and sliced the knot in half, literally and metaphorically taking Asia and the Persian Empire by the sword. 

Over the centuries, the knot has become a metaphor for a complex problem that is solved easily by changing your perception of the problem’s constraints. Much like the challenge Alexander faced, the Houston Rockets have their own Gordian Knot in Alperen Sengun. 

Alperen Sengun is the Houston Rockets’ Gordian Knot

Alperen Sengun presents the Rockets with a similar problem to the one that Alexander the Great faced on that fateful day in Gordion. Sengun possesses defense-breaking talents, much like the Gordian Knot held continent-conquering powers, but unleashing them remains a puzzle.  

When tasked with solving a problem, it’s easy to make the problem more difficult by putting unneeded constraints on the problem. For Alexander, it was attempting to untie an unbinding knot, and for the Rockets, it’s deploying Sengun as a conventional modern center. For Alperen Sengun and the Houston Rockets to reach their potential, a sword needs to be taken to the conventions of the center position. 

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