Jae’Sean Tate is the player we’ll “scout” now. Of the bright sparks in a dim season, Tate is, if not the brightest, the most unexpected.
Remember – These are my subjective thoughts, I’m not a scout or anything like it. Your views may differ, and that’s the fun of this. The first number is my current rating, the second, a future upside number.
1 = Not NBA Level
3 = NBA Average
5 = All Star Level
Athleticism/Explosion – 4/4
He’s fast, strong, and a good leaper.
Shooting Ability – 2/4
A 39% 3pt shot over a full season makes him a 10 million + player when his deal is up. Odds are he gets there, or if not, he’s a league average 3pt shooter. He’s such a hard worker, I wouldn’t bet on him not getting close to 39% from three.
Awareness/BBIQ/Anticipation – 3/5
His basketball IQ is great for an NBA rookie, this is a good rating for a first year player. He’s caught up to the speed of the game, but soon he’ll be leading the defensive calls. He’s a young PJ Tucker, basically. Which is a winning player on a good team, and at least fun on a bad one. He’d make a team like Dallas devastating.
Physical Profile/Physicality/Durability – 4/5
Tate’s main problem is that’s he’s 6’4”. Other than that, he’s fantastic. He’s strong, fast, explosive, and tough. He exudes physicality, and aggravates opponents through his relentlessly physical play. In an earlier era, he’d struggle to find a place. Not now.
Playmaking/Shot Creation 3/4
A pretty good passer, already. He’s crafty around the basket, as befits a 6’4” center, but currently lacks the game inside to beat NBA defenders when he’s badly undersized in a matchup. His close game is still effective, though. As a 4th scorer, he’ll be a problem for opposition. As #2 option, he’s a problem for the Rockets.
He can’t really break down defenses, nor should he be expected to do so. The “4” future rating goes to him refining what he does do well, drive the rim, punish smaller players underneath (he can generally score on anyone 6’6” or below inside), and shooting the three off motion, drive and kick, or running the corners.
Handle/Speed With Ball 3/4
He can pretend to be a point-forward. His handle is good enough, especially good enough for starting a break on a rebound. He could probably facilitate from the high post, if the Rockets tried that, and could get a switch of a guard or wing onto him.
Able to guard 1-5 plausibly, at least the lesser of the NBA’s fives, versatility is Tate’s calling card, and he’s already there.
Defense – 3/5
It’s hard to know what to think of anyone in the Rockets horror show of a defense, except Tate. Tate is solid. Often solid by himself.
Best Case Comparison
A faster, better passing, younger, PJ Tucker. Tate is old for a rookie, so it has to happen now, fortunately all the signs point to improvement and a younger player slotting almost seamlessly in the PJ Tucker role.
Tate is already a win for Rafael Stone, being a FA signing out of Australia’s NBL.
Recommendation: Strong Buy