Rockets' Coach Ime Udoka Has Strong Belief In Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun Pairing

Despite the two respective parties thriving at different moments, coach Ime Udoka has a strong belief in the pairing of Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun.
Jan 6, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) celebrate with center
Jan 6, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) celebrate with center / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

HOUSTON — Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun have established themselves as the Houston Rockets' cornerstones. Both players made significant improvements during the 2023-24 season. Unfortunately, it appeared that both players were at their best when the other was a non-factor.

In a recent interview with Vanessa Richardson of Space City Home Network, coach Ime Udoka expressed how Green and Sengun can complement each other's best moving forward.

"I think their contrast works well for our team," Udoka said. Throughout the league's history, we have seen a good guard-big-man combo work. I think they already had a good two-man game going in previous years. 

"This year, we added to that. They are still learning how to work off each other. They both do things very differently. With both buying in and being competitive, it's a solid recipe for success." 

Şengün played near an All-Star level during the first half of the season. He averaged 21.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists, while Green's inadequate performances led to several early benchings. However, once Şengün's season came to a disappointing end due to an ankle injury, Green began to showcase the potential that led to the Rockets drafting him as the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. 

During Şengün's absence, Green averaged 24.2 points on 45.3 percent shooting from the field. He finished the season with two 40-point performances while Şengün watched from the sideline.

Udoka's belief coincides with general manager Rafael Stone, who expressed his trust in the pairing at the end of the 2023-24 season on April 16.

"One of the guys I've worked with for a long time had a saying, 'Somebody gotta score,'" Stone said. "Obviously, the more shots you are going to get, the more you are going to score. In that sense, Jalen benefited. Fundamentally, great players can play with great players. We are a team. I think it is a great one for having all of these guys, who every year, get better and better."

Want to join the discussion? Like Inside the Rockets on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest Rockets news. You can also meet the team behind the coverage.

Coty M. Davis