On Tuesday night, Alperen Sengun and the Houston Rockets took on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in a bit of NBA inaugural In-Season tournament action from Dallas. Both the Mavs and the Rockets have gotten off to perhaps surprisingly strong starts to the 2023-24 campaign, and Sengun has established himself as an early candidate for the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year award, which will be announced at the end of the regular season in April.

Early on in Tuesday's game against the Mavs, Sengun hit a turn around one-legged fadeaway jumper that evoked memories of Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki. Making the moment even more special was the fact that Nowitzki himself was in attendance for the game–not only that, but he was actually on the Mavs' live broadcast when the play occurred, allowing him to comment on the homage jump shot.

“Oh, that's beautiful right there,” said Nowitzki, per the NBA's official account on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Over the last year or so, Apleren Sengun has established himself as an engine of sorts for what has been a revamped Rockets offense thus far on the young season. Sengun would be the inarguable best passing big man in the league if it were not for the existence of Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, and if he continues to improve his mobility and jump shooting skills, as demonstrated in the highlight above, he could become an All-Star level talent sooner rather than later for the Rockets.