Tier Rankings: Who will emerge as Rockets MVP in 2022-23?

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The likely contenders 

What are the chances that Jae’Sean Tate is the Rockets’ best player?

If Jae’Sean Tate ends up being the Rockets' best player, something has gone horribly wrong. There's a chance he completely overhauls his 3-point shot and becomes an all-around-excellent player, but that remains unlikely. Last season, Tate was routinely put in positions to fail on defense but still managed to be effective. At 6’4, he guarded one through five and held his own. If he is consistently matched up against wings, he could have his best defensive season yet. 

For a defense-first player, Tate is a very good ball handler and passer. His combination of speed, strength, and burst allows him to be dangerous on drives and cuts. He is a solid passer, and if given a larger role, he could probably average around five assists a game. Tate’s offensive game is built around his ability to drive and finish at the rim, but his lack of a jumper has held back his entire offensive profile. 

Related. Houston Rockets Season Review: Jae’Sean Tate. dark

Tate has been well below average from 3-point range and also the corners. If he can inch closer to league average from three, it’ll boost his production instantly and should have a cascading effect on his overall scoring profile. With better perimeter shooting, defenses will close out harder and mark him tighter, opening up more driving and cutting opportunities. However, Tate becoming a better 3-point shooter is a big if. He’ll turn 27 in October and hasn’t been a consistent 3-point shooter at any level. 

Tate is a great role player with one major defect. If his one defect, 3-point shooting, could become average, he’d instantly become a very intriguing player. It’s unlikely he’ll be the Rockets’ best player, but there’s a chance he has a career year from behind the arc and looks like a borderline All-Star. I’m going to trust that Tate is who he is, a great role player. 

Percent Chance: 12%