At the beginning of this season, Jae'Sean Tate's role on this Houston Rockets team seemed to be unclear. Up until this point, Tate was known as a hustle player who did all of the dirty work for the team, whether it included diving for loose balls, hustling for second-chance points, or even fighting for rebounds, regardless of being undersized.
So why did many in the fanbase question Tate's future on this team? His glaring problem was his three-point shooting or lack thereof.
Coming into his fourth NBA season, Tate was a career .301 percent three-point shooter. Rockets fans were convinced that Tate's lack of a jumper would ultimately make him expendable, however, coach Ime Udoka loved everything about Tate and his overall game.
Houston Rockets forward Jae'Sean Tate has elevated from an afterthought to a key player.
Before Udoka's arrival, Tate was the team's best defender, and at just 6'4, he proved to hold his own against many of the NBA's greatest players.
During Udoka's introductory press conference, he preached the importance of defense and a structured offense. Tate seemed to fit that mold because Udoka loves players who play for the team and are unselfish.
Many in the Rockets community, including myself, still weren't completely sold on Tate, partly because of his inability to shoot at a consistent rate. Well, so far he has silenced me and everyone else who doubted him because through nine games, Tate is shooting an absurd .435 percent from the three-point line.
Do we all expect Tate to keep shooting at an insane percentage? Probably not, but if Tate can at least be league-average as a shooter then the Rockets can exceed everyone's expectations.
Tate has been such a huge bolster to the Rockets' six-game winning streak as he shares a defensive rating of 102.9 and is tied for sixth in team defense. Clamoring for rookie Cam Whitmore to play instead of Tate has us all looking foolish as Tate is flourishing under a coach he trusts, while Whitmore is in the G-League, where he can use those reps to improve his overall game.