Although the Houston Rockets had a season to forget, they had several bright spots, and especially from their younger players and/or rookies. The Rockets saw key growth from Kenyon Martin Jr., Kevin Porter Jr., and rookie Jae’Sean Tate.
Tate was named to the All-Rookie First-Team, which shouldn’t be surprising, considering how he posted averages of 11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, while making over 50% of his shot attempts. The Houston Rockets forward shared his thoughts about being named to the All-Rookie team in his most recent appearance on the Locked On Rockets podcast.
"When they finally said that I was on the All-Rookie Team, it just made me more hungry. But it's always good to get your foot in the door and have a good first year. But I'm looking forward to the second year."
Tate finished second on the team in total assists and rebounds, and finished third in total points scored, while leading the team in minutes played and steals.
Regarding the latter, Tate finished 18th in the league in total steals, and was the only rookie to finish within the top-20 in that category. Tate’s instant success shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he played professionally in Australia’s National Basketball League, and went against 2020-21 Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, along with R.J. Hampton.
Houston Rockets forward Jae'Sean Tate shares goals for sophomore campaign
With a successful rookie year under his belt at the NBA level, Tate was asked about his goals for the 2021-22 season, to which he gave a humbling response.
"My overall goal is to just continue to improve. I think that's just always been my goal from the time that I became a pro. To just every year continue to be better than I was the year before.
And at this point I've done that. And it's worked for me and that's just what I'm sticking to.
Of course we can go into detail and talk about the accolades and stuff but I feel like just focusing on the big picture and focusing on the things that I can control, those things will come.
Tate later added that he prides himself on manning the fort defensively, stating that he wants to be with the Rockets and that he knows in order for that to happen, he has to do his job.
It's safe to say that Tate has more than earned his place in the Rockets' rotation, and his defensive versatility has drawn comparisons to former Rockets fan favorite P.J. Tucker, which goes to show how far he's come from going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft.