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Tuesday Bolts: The Sengun Cage Match

Tuesday Bolts: The Sengun Cage Match

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When the Thunder traded pick number 16 to the Rockets in the 2021 draft, darling Alperen Sengun headed to Houston and the rival franchises’ tank-off got somehow more intense. Aside from the Sengun and Russell Westbrook trades in recent years, the two teams have also traded losing streaks and lottery positioning while trying to aggressively rebuild.

The two fan bases have been trading barbs over which franchise is truly a black eye for the NBA and which has placed the right bets on incoming prospects. The arrangement has been pretty bitter ever since James Harden was dealt south to join forces with Pat Beverley against Westbrook’s kneecap. Rockets fans are wont to gloat about Sengun’s play so far, and the bolt below about his interview process with Oklahoma City generated a little extra pettiness on the timeline. I could suggest that those in glass houses–where players are driving home at halftime and getting suspended–should maybe stand down when throwing stones over a player averaging 9 points yet to prove he won’t become another “can’t play him” big in the next Rockets/Thunder postseason series.

But you know me. I’m not that petty.

Instead, I’ll note that the Thunder did not let Sengun slip to the Rockets because they were worried about his English, or psychology, or even his basketball ceiling. OKC liked Sengun as a prospect. They just liked the value of the trade better, as it could net them up to two top-10 picks down the road. That may turn out to be the wrong bet, and he might become a supervillain that torments Thunder fans for years to come. But the origin story was not as melodramatic it feels.

The Bolts:

If Thunder fans had forgotten about triple-doubles, Josh Giddey reminded them with his record-setting performance during OKC’s 95-86 loss to Dallas on Monday. It’s popular to denigrate round numbers these days, but you know what? Triple-doubles are fun, because players who fill the boxscore are fun. Giddey is, in a very different way than Russ before him, extremely fun to watch. 17 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds at the age of 19?

Fun, fun, fun.