With a contract worth less than $2 million per year through the 2022-23 season, Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate is already one of the NBA’s best bargains. The 25-year-old recently became the first Houston player since Luis Scola in 2007-08 to earn All-Rookie first team honors.
While general manager Rafael Stone deserves much of the credit for scouting Tate internationally and identifying him as a clear NBA talent, it appears that assistant coach Will Weaver played a key role, as well.
In 2019-20, Weaver was head coach of the Sydney Kings, who play in Australia’s National Basketball League. That also happened to be the team that Tate played on in his second year out of college.
Months later, when Weaver accepted a job in Houston as an assistant to Stephen Silas, Tate followed within weeks — and it wasn’t entirely a coincidence. Here’s what Tate said on his official documentary, which premiered this week on the Rockets’ YouTube channel:
At the time, Houston just showed the most interest. They made it seem like they really wanted me. It was going to be a real opportunity. It kind of made sense, because the style of play fit me.
It was icing on the cake when Coach Will [Weaver] became part of the staff, and it’s like, ‘Alright, I can be somewhere with a familiar face.’
According to Tate, his positive working relationship with Weaver carried over into the 2020-21 season. He explains:
Post All-Star break, I met with Coach Will, and we kind of dissected and went through how the first half of the season went. Things that we could improve on, and we made some goals.
I think one of the best things that happened to me was during that break… just looking back and seeing the growth that I had. Not only from my year in Sydney to my first half-season in the NBA, but also the continued growth from game one.
Tate started 58 of his 70 games played last season, with both figures leading Houston’s roster. The 6-foot-5 lefty averaged 11.3 points (50.6% FG), 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 29.2 minutes per game, and he was one of the team’s best and most versatile defenders, as well.
“I’ve been happy here,” Tate said of Houston. “I tell people all the time… I definitely could see me living here, or having a home here.”
Tate’s complete documentary can be viewed below.