The Houston Rockets got their summer league off to a flying start with an 84-76 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. While a single summer league win has no bearing on the regular season, it affirms that the Rockets' 2021 NBA draft was a fantastic first step in their rebuild.
It's never a good idea to make too much of one game. Kevin Porter Jr put the eventual champion, Milwaukee Bucks, on skates as he scorched their defense for 50 points and 14 assists. In that one game, Kevin Porter Jr looked like the best player in the world. In all other games, Porter Jr. averaged 14.7 points a game.
One game means nothing but that doesn't mean we can't overreact to it. Fan is short for fanatic, so let's act like some real fans and make three overreactions to a single Houston Rockets summer league game.
Houston Rockets Summer League Overreaction #3: Alperen Sengun will lead all rookies in double-doubles
The Rockets may well have gotten the steal of the draft with Alperen Sengun. If his first summer league is any indication, the reigning Turkish league MVP looks ready to add some hardware stateside.
In 27 minutes of action, Sengun scored 15 points, snagged 15 rebounds, and swatted 4 blocks. On a per 36 minute basis, that translates to 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 5.3 blocks. What was most impressive was that seven of his 15 rebounds were offensive rebounds. Not all boards are created equal, and offensive rebounds remain the highest value boards.
Sengun's overall stat line was impressive, even though he didn't shoot well by his standards. He went three of ten from the field but made up for it by getting to the free-throw line 14 times. In the Turkish league, he converted 64.6-percent of his shots and 81.2-percent of his free throws. If Sengun trends towards to those shooting percentages, which is likely, 15 points should be his baseline.
Houston Rockets Summer League Overreaction #2: Kenyon Martin Jr will carve out a sizable role this season
The Rockets did not have had a first-round pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Even without a top-30 selection, they ended up with an impressive rookie class. Jae'Sean Tate was, rightfully, the headliner, but Kenyon Martin Jr also proved that he belongs in the Rockets' long-term plans.
The biggest concern with Martin Jr heading into his second NBA season was whether his 3-point shooting would hold up. As a rookie, he converted 36.5-percent of his triples, which far exceeded his mid-range shooting proficiency and his corner 3-point conversion. Martin only hit 28.6-percent of his corner threes, which is unusual as the league average conversion rate last season was 39.5-percent.
Kenyon Martin Jr. continues to prove that he is a credible threat from behind the arc. His three-for-eight showing in last night's game is right in line with what he did last season. If he continues to be around league average from 3-point range, he'll carve out a sizable role for the Rockets this season.
Houston Rockets Summer League Overreaction #1: Jalen Green is the Rookie of the Year
After Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley underwhelmed in their NBA Summer League debuts, all it took was 30 minutes to put Jalen Green in the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year driver's seat. Green showed everyone why he was the second overall pick and the 2021 draft's best pure scorer.
In one game, Green showed he'll be a dangerous three-level scorer. He went nine of 18 from the field and four of nine from 3-point range. His scoring was highlighted by him only coughing up one turnover. Players who score efficiently with low turnover rates have long dominated the NBA.
If Green can average 36 minutes a night he'll have a fantastic chance to average 20 points a game and land rookie of the year honors. He'd be the third Rocket to earn the distinction after Ralph Sampson and Steve Francis.
It's only one Summer League game but the Rockets' 2021 NBA Draft class is already flashing serious upside. Combine that with Kenyon Martin Jr's continued consistency from behind the arc and the Rockets are well on their way to becoming contenders again. One game might be nothing, but it's all we have right now. Revel in it, it's what makes sports great.