Houston Rockets: Jae'Sean Tate's Defensive Impact
Tate’s defense has long been his calling card. He is incredibly strong, tenacious, has long arms, and has fantastic timing. Tate doesn't hunt for blocked shots, he instead gets them through consistent defensive effort.
This is a highlight reel block, but it’s only made possible by tremendous defensive instincts and proper defensive rotations. This was a crucial moment in the game. The score was 104-101, and a basket here would have made it a one-point game.
The Rockets blitz Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who makes an incredible slip pass into James Robinson-Earl. Tate quickly recognizes that he needs to rotate to defend the rim, or else Robinson-Earl will have a wide-open dunk. In a blink, Tate confronts Robinson-Earl and makes the easiest two points of his life disappear.
How the Rockets can get more of these nights from Jae'Sean Tate
Jae’Sean Tate’s well-rounded game gives him the ability to be an impact player every night, but too often he becomes a passenger on offense. The Rockets have been poor moving the ball on offense, and too many possessions dissolve into isolation attempts.
Tate’s big night was made possible by the Rockets' three biggest iso-offenders, Christian Wood, Jalen Green, and Kevin Porter Jr, being out with injuries. Hopefully, Stephen Silas and the rest of the roster will see what a more egalitarian offense can do for players like Tate. After all, he doesn’t need to be Hakeem every night, but he shouldn’t have to wait for three injuries to have a breakout game.