Timberwolves sing praises of Alperen Sengun after playing Rockets

Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun is becoming a player who is showing up on the radar of opposing NBA teams. In his second year, the Turkish-born player is garnering praise from many elites.

“I think he’s really talented,” reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic said earlier this year. “Maybe this is going to sound weird, but I think they need to play a little bit more through him. This guy has the talent. He can pass the ball, He can post up, and he has the touch around the rim. You can see some different moves that he’s made.”

Jokic’s statements echoed those of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo after a game against the Rockets in December 2021 — when Sengun was in his first two career months, as a rookie:

He’s a good player. He takes his time; nothing can speed him up. He might be slow in the post, but he’s effective. He’s playing well. He’s playing a lot of minutes off the bench and gives energy to his teammates. He rebounds the ball well. He’s being aggressive and sets good screens. I think the sky’s the limit for him.

Although Houston’s 10-30 record is not where they want it to be, Sengun has made himself a staple in the Rockets’ offense by averaging 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 26.6 minutes to go along with 11 double-doubles. Sengun is shooting 54.9%, and his true shooting percentage is an impressive 60.5% this season.

His presence on the floor makes opposing coaches have to account for his whereabouts, which opens the floor for his teammates.

“Me personally, I think they need to build around number 28 (Sengun), Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards told Rockets Wire after playing against Houston on Sunday. “Jalen (Green) and KPJ (Kevin Porter Jr.) are franchise players also, but that dude is something serious. We had to game plan for him.”

Three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert acknowledged how much of a force Sengun is becoming in the league.

“He has been getting better and better,” said Gobert, a fellow European big man who watched Sengun play internationally before coming to the NBA. “I think he is very unique in the way that he plays. The way that he is finishing. Last year he was turning the ball over more, but this year he has gotten a lot better.”

Sengun and the Rockets now head out to the West Coast for a four-game California road trip where they will face the Sacramento Kings (twice), Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers.

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire