The Houston Rockets drafted explosive scoring guard Jalen Green second overall in the 2021 NBA Draft with an intention to rebuild around him as a foundational piece. However, Green has seen his efficiency numbers dip, and his star go a bit dimmer as a result. But amid Green’s struggles, another one of the Rockets’ 2021 draft picks is continuing to cement himself as, perhaps, the true jewel of the Rockets’ rebuild. Alperen Sengun, the 20-year old center out of Turkey, has been that impressive.
In fact, Alperen Sengun’s all-around contributions and sky-high potential were in full display once more when the Rockets took on the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. In 28 minutes of action, Sengun tried his best to hold his own against dominant big man Domantas Sabonis, and he came out with the first triple-double of his young career with a 10-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist effort.
And in doing so, the 20-year old center became the youngest Rockets player in history to notch a triple-double, beating out some of the best players in franchise history, such as Hakeem Olajuwon, as a result. He is also the first center in Rockets franchise history to notch a triple-double since Olajuwon did in 1997.
Of course, Alperen Sengun has plenty of headstart on other Rockets players in history, especially when he entered the league as a 19-year old. Hakeem Olajuwon literally could not have accomplished Sengun’s feat, seeing as he was still playing collegiate basketball when he was 20 years old. (For reference, Olajuwon notched his first career triple-double when he was 23 years old, with a 26-point, 12-rebound, and 11-block effort against the Golden State Warriors.)
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that Sengun is anywhere close to being at a similar level to arguably the greatest Rockets player of all time in Olajuwon. The Rockets would be fortunate if Sengun becomes half the player Olajuwon was, especially in his prime days when he led the Rockets to two straight NBA championships.
But at least for one night, Sengun etches himself deeper into Rockets lore with a solid, stat-sheet stuffing performance, even if it resulted in a 135-115 loss to the Kings.