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Rockets 2022-2023 player previews: Jae’Sean Tate

Tate is a little old on the Rockets’ current standard - is he part of this core?

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets
How important is Jae’Sean Tate to the Rockets?
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Some Rockets fans are down on Jae’Sean Tate recently — and it’s got nothing to do with Tate at all.

If you haven’t heard, Kenyon Martin Jr. has issued a trade request. It seems that he doesn’t see a long-term place for himself in what’s becoming a crowded Houston Rockets wing rotation. Some will suggest that Tate ought to be the odd man out.

I disagree.

Is Tate A Long-Term Rocket?

This is not intended to be a holistic comparison between Tate and Martin Jr. I’m only trying to point out that there are components of Tate’s game that the front office is right to value. For example, per Bball Index, Tate ranked in the 98.7th percentile in terms of Defensive Positional Versatility. Granted, Martin Jr. excelled in the same metric, landing in the 94.4th percentile. On the other hand, Tate ranked in the 84th percentile in terms of Matchup Difficulty. Martin Jr.? The 2.4th.

In other words, Tate can guard a wide range of players in terms of type and quality. He’s only 6’4”, but his low center of gravity and general strength allow him to guard much bigger players. Meanwhile, he’s got quick enough feet to keep up with guards and wings too.

Tate is also a deceptively strong ball-handler and playmaker. Granted, last year he may not have made as many plays as some Rockets fans would like — at least for others. Tate was a little prone to tunnel vision last year. With that said, he’s a strong finisher around the rim. A Tate layup is a good result for a possession.

On the other hand, a Tate three is suboptimal. That’s the swing skill to watch for Jae’Sean this year. Apparently, he’s been knocking down threes at a high clip this summer, but you know what they say: everyone can shoot in July.

Still, if Tate does make strides from distance, he could be a vital cog for this team moving forward. Tate is out of place on a rebuilding team. If the Rockets can get back to contention before the ages out of his prime, he profiles as a perfect eighth man on a good team.

Of course, that’s the other knock on Tate — his age. Call me crazy, but I think having a player in the Rockets’ long-term plans who’s comfortably above the legal drinking age could have some benefits. The Rockets could use an adult in the room:

If his role gets reduced, something tells me Tate won’t demand a trade.

Can Tate establish himself as part of this core in 2022-23? Let us know in the poll below.


Is Jae’Sean Tate a core Rocket?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    (75 votes)
  • 9%
    (16 votes)
  • 37%
    It depends on his shooting
    (62 votes)
  • 7%
    I am Kenyon Martin Sr.
    (12 votes)
165 votes total Vote Now