Report: Ime Udoka’s vision for Rockets includes emphasis on Alperen Sengun
The Houston Rockets have an NBA-leading figure of approximately $60 million in salary cap space in the 2023 offseason, which could bring needed reinforcements to a young and rebuilding roster.
But as new head coach Ime Udoka sees it, part of the transition from rebuild to relevancy also includes internal development — and perhaps better usage of certain players, relative to past seasons.
Take Kevin Porter Jr., for instance. Though he’s functioned as Houston’s starting point guard in each of the past two seasons, he’s become one of the league’s best catch-and-shoot options from 3-point range. However, it’s tough to get him many of those looks if he’s typically the man initiating the offense on each possession.
In a new interview with Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Udoka says the solution could be running more offense through Alperen Sengun and his unique skillset as a passing big man.
Udoka said (via Feigen):
Anytime you have a big that can initiate offense, whether its from the high post or off the block, you want to take advantage of his skillset. The [Nikola] Jokic comments are there for a reason because he does some of the passing and has the vision and can score from different areas on the court. He’s deadly in the pocket. You can hit him on the half roll, and he can make all the plays there. That just makes it easier for everyone else.
A guy like Kevin Porter who shot in the high 40s [percent] on spot up 3s only took two a game. You want to use that, move him around and have other guys initiate offense to get him those shots. Alperen has a unique skillset that we want to take advantage of.
Q&A: New Rockets coach Ime Udoka explains his philosophy and plans to turn young roster into winners https://t.co/P4YyoIMTtD via @houstonchron
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 18, 2023
Udoka also mentioned some potential changes for Sengun on defense, specifically with regards to minimizing his drop coverages and maximizing his switching opportunities — which he has shown more promise at doing over his first two NBA seasons.
“It’s my job to understand people’s limitations, and so you don’t put them in positions where they can’t succeed,” Udoka told Feigen. “You’re not going to have certain guys sitting back and in a drop position when they’re not great rim protectors and at a disadvantage. So, you tweak things to adjust to your personnel… and being a smart player, he should be able pick up all these concepts easily.”
The complete Udoka interview can be read here.
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