• Brian L. Barefield

Rockets Young Guns Put On A Show In Las Vegas Summer League

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

If I had to take an educated guest, I would say that at some point during the game of the Houston Rockets against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday that Rockets head coach Stephen Silas turned to general manager Rafael Stone and gave him a fist bump of approval for his selections in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Coach Silas, Rafael Stone, and several members of the Houston Rockets players were in attendance at the Las Vegas Summer League to watch their newest additions to the team in No. 2 overall selection Jalen Green, No. 16 pick Alperen Sengun, and No. 24 pick Josh Christopher take on the Cleveland Cavaliers who also showcased their No. 3 overall selection in center Evan Mobley.

Houston defeated Cleveland by a score of 84-76 with the “Young Guns” leading the way. Green, who played in the G League last year, gave his coach and Rockets fans a glimpse of what to expect this season as he scored a game high 23 points and shot 50% from the field by hitting 9 out of the 18 shots he took.

“I think it came pretty natural,” said Green who also connected on four three pointers on the night. “It is just like the G League. I was happy to be on the court, so I felt it came naturally. I am just happy to have Rockets across my chest. A real NBA team.”

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

Although the majority of the crowd was there to see Green in person, they were given an additional show by watching center Alperen Sengun in action. The former Turkish Super League MVP battled the aforementioned Mobley all night and produced 15 points and 15 rebounds with an array of post moves that had fans wondering if he is really just 19 years old.

Sengun’s defensive presence is what really stood out to the Rockets Summer League coaches as he continued to be a physical presence in the paint along with second-year veteran KJ Martin.

“It was all we could talk about as a coaching staff on the bench,” Summer League head coach Will Weaver said. “His closing speed made him look like he was out of the play and then he got back in the play and even blocked some shots with his forearm. It’s a credit to his natural and mental tools. We are excited to try and unleash that.”

Rookie guard Josh Christopher did not have the debut he wanted on the offensive end of the court scoring only 13 points, but his leadership skills and vocal communication is what stood out against the Cavaliers. On multiple occasions you could hear him screaming out offensive sets and putting players in the right position as if he was a veteran in the NBA.

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

“His communication and intensity, and will to compete, is the best maybe I’ve ever seen,” coach Weaver told reporters after the game. “We are really excited about what his potential is, in all those different areas. Picking up the ball, making people uncomfortable, creating deflection, and always being in the right spot, defensively, and ready to help a teammate.”

Houston will be back in action on Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons and No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham.

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