There is a growing consensus that the Houston Rockets will be one of the hottest up-and-coming teams in the next few years. Their recent seven-game win streak, which includes a win over the Brooklyn Nets, proves that the young team is special.
19-year-old Alpren Sengun is considered one of the searing young talents donning the Rockets jersey. The 16th overall pick is still raw but has shown flashes of brilliance from time to time, particularly on offense. The Turkish knows he has a ton of lessons to learn. In a recent interview, he shared his plans to boost his development by working with Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon.
"I was working in a young team in Turkey. I was watching a lot. When I watch, I learn quickly, and it also helps me a lot. But also I’d like to work with Hakeem Olajuwon about this. We will work in the future. He said, ‘I’ll teach you some moves.’ It’s good for me, I’m waiting," Sengun said, The Athletic.
Sengun fits the profile of a modern-day big man. He stands 6-foot-10 with a reliable stroke from deep. In addition, he also has decent handles coupled with playmaking abilities. So one might be wondering: why does he want Hakeem Olajuwon, a center who thrived in a different basketball era? The answer is simple. Footwork is one of the fundamentals of the game that a player should master. And the Dream, without a doubt, has the best footwork in all of basketball. Not to mention how Olajuwon, per Sideline Sources, is considered one of the most criminally underrated stars in history.
Just ask LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, who have tapped Hakeem to teach him his ways. Between the two, perhaps Bryant used Hakeem's moves more. Kobe's game hinges on breaking down his defender through infinite methods. James, as analysts have mentioned, is and always has been a pass-first player. Although in recent years, LeBron has been showing off his post moves.
Skimming through Sengun's highlights reveals that he has lots of room to grow. At this point, it is difficult to gauge what type of player he will be. Will he be like Nikola Jokic? Tim Duncan? Who knows? But it is for sure that after he spends time with Hakeem Olajuwon, Sengun will be inches away from being the best version of himself.