Houston Rockets center continues to garner more respect around the league

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun entered the 2023-24 season in a bit of an unusual situation. Rockets fans viewed him as the potential franchise player, however, the franchise's decision makers didn't seem to share the same lens.

Rockets GM Rafael Stone and newly-hired coach Ime Udoka tried to reel in Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez in free agency, which would’ve surely forced Sengun to take a backseat and occupy a role as the secondary big man on the roster.

Sengun seemingly took notice of that and responded in a major way, to the tune of 21 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 54 percent from the field, 58.9 percent true shooting, and a Player Efficiency Rating of 22.6 (well above the league average of 15).

Sengun jumped to 42nd on The Ringer’s top 100 list, compared to his 97th ranking in October.

Houston Rockets center continues to garner more respect around the league.

The Turkish big man has drawn praise from NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki, who couldn’t refrain from sharing positive remarks to Rockets sideline reporter Vanessa Richardson.

“Really impressed by his game, honestly. The versatility, the passing, the scoring. I mean, he's having an incredible season.

I'm happy for him. I've never really met him but he seems like a good dude, every time I hear something from him. 

You wanna get better from year-to-year. You wanna go home in the offseason, work hard, add some stuff to your game. 

And come back a more complete player. Especially when you're young. And that's what he's been doing from year-to-year. Improving.”

Sengun also drew praise from Wizards forward and 2020 NBA champion Kyle Kuzma, who called him the next great center in the league on Twitter.

If Sengun keeps this up, he could find himself in the race for the league’s Most Improved Player award at the end of the season.