The Houston Rockets needed their young European players to get better during the Summer. Alperen Sengun and Usman Garuba are doing just that.
While this Rockets team is still likely going to live and die based on how well Jalen Green is able to handle the load as the focal point of the team, this is an extremely important time for the coaching staff to figure out what they have with their other key pieces and depth.
With that being said, one of the biggest names in the Houston realm from this offseason has been Alperen Sengun.
Sengun was championed as one of the steals of the 2021 NBA Draft, and the flashes we saw seemed to back that up to some degree. The Rockets choosing to trade Christian Wood made it so that Sengun supporters are going to get their wish, and this young team is going to need their new starting center to be dominant if they want to win more than a handful of games.
Wood was far from flawless, but he did have the experience and the offensive prowess to keep this team moving. Sengun is going to have some big shoes to fill, and the good news is that he has taken the necessary steps during the offseason to get better.
Turkey may have lost a close game against France to end their time in the EuroBasket Championship, but the minutes are all that mattered. Sengun was the best player on the court for most of the matches, and reps like that in a dominant role should play a huge part in building his confidence for the bigger load in the NBA.
As for Usman Garuba and Spain, their hopes are still alive. Garuba hasn't been the same player on the court that Sengun has, but he is still showing the defensive skillset that caused the Rockets to look at him in the first place, and growth in that area is going to pay out when the Rockets need help on the defensive end.
As Europe becomes more and more important to the NBA, minutes like this are going to matter in more substantial ways. These reps are going to prove to be very helpful for the Rockets when the season finally starts.