Houston Rockets quarter season report card 

N.B. Lindberg
Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets
Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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A. Chaos 101. . Tari Eason

Tari Eason, as a rookie, already has two elite skills. His 3.8% steal percentage leads the NBA, and his offensive rebounding rate is 11th, the highest of any non-center. Per 100 possessions, that adds up to 9.3 additional offensive possessions. It’s incredibly encouraging for his future that he has such a strong base of traits to build from. 

While Eason has been excellent at winning the possession battle, he has also hit 37.5% of his 3-pointers. At the rate he’s going, he will force the Rockets to start him. However, he still has work to do. He’s shooting a poor 43% on 2-pointers and misses more layups than anyone with his size, strength, and speed should. 

Eason gets an early A, but if he doesn’t round out the edges of his game, his grades will start to suffer. The good news is that if he remains virtually the same player as he is now, he will still be a valuable rotation piece. 

A. Post Merchant. . Alperen Sengun

Alperen Sengun has a pretty strong claim for the Rockets’ first-quarter MVP. He leads the team in offensive box plus/minus, win shares and Raptor WAR. His basic box score stats of 15.4 points, 9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists are impressive but muted by his 26.7 minutes per game. Any way you slice it, Sengun has been excellent on offense this season. 

For a second-year player, who won’t turn 21 until July of 2023, Sengun is producing at an incredibly high clip. He has established himself as a true go-to threat in the post and a weapon on the offensive glass. His defense remains a work in progress, but his defensive rebounding has improved. 

At the end of the day, Sengun is an offense-first player, and his offense has been excellent. The Rockets haven’t leaned into his passing much, but if they do, he could look like baby Nikola Jokic

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