Rockets Notes: Smith, Sengun, Silas, Season Preview

Rockets rookie big man Jabari Smith Jr. remains sidelined as he continues to rehabilitate from a sprained left ankle, though he was cleared for contact practices on Tuesday, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The 6’10” power forward, the third pick out of Auburn, expressed confidence that he might be available for Houston’s 2022/23 season opener, scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, against the Hawks.

“I’m working to get back in shape now, just getting ready, getting my body ready for the first regular-season game,” Smith said. “It’s been tough, just sitting out, watching my teammates get better. I’m working to get better. I know I’ll be back in no time. It’s a long season.”

There’s more out of Houston:

  • Second-year Rockets center Alperen Sengun is working to get more involved in Houston’s offense, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle in a separate piece. “Al-P’s strength is having the basketball and he hasn’t had the ball much,” head coach Stephen Silas remarked. “He’s been a pick-and-roll player. As we go through training camp, which is still going on, he’ll get his post-ups and he’ll get his elbow catches and it’ll be more comfortable for him.”
  • Rockets head coach Stephen Silas has rejoined the club following a week-long absence due to his second COVID-19 infection, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Silas missed two Houston preseason contests and four team practices. Assistant coach John Lucas led the team in Silas’s absence. “It wasn’t a great experience going through it… but I feel good now,” Silas said. “I told the guys this; the hardest part is not seeing them and not being around them. The practices, it is what it is, the drills and the games and stuff. But just being around these guys, they’re such a fun group — I missed them.”
  • With Rockets first-round draft selections Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason and TyTy Washington Jr. now in the fold, joining young players Jalen GreenKevin Porter Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr., Josh Christopher, and Usman Garuba, the rebuilding Rockets appear poised to enjoy a fascinating 2022/23 season of development, though that probably won’t translate to wins. John Hollinger of The Athletic previews the club’s season outlook, projecting a 22-60 finish.
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