My brother, a sports psychologist, will tell you all about the importance of establishing a routine prior to taking free throws. The more steps the better, at least to a certain point. Anything that gets your muscle memory working, eliminates distractions, boosts your focus and all of that good stuff has to be seen as a plus. A few dribbles here, a few dribbles there, a deep breath, a little shoulder shrug or muscle flex — it's all fair game.
Talking to the basketball? I guess that's fair too, at least if you're Houston Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun. The Turkish superstar, taken with the No. 16 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft after an MVP season overseas, made a strong impression in his summer league debut with 15 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and a steal. However, perhaps nothing caught our eye as much as his bizarre free throw routine.
Well, what is he saying? Sengun decided not to tell us, saying that it's a "secret" on his Instagram story in response to another post. Whatever it was could use some work, however, as his 9-14 showing from the charity stripe was perhaps the weakest aspect of his night (he also only went 3-10 from the field). But the positives far outweighed the negatives, and it was about as exciting a debut as we could have hoped for.
The same goes for teammate and fellow rookie Jalen Green, the No. 2 overall pick, who exploded for 23 points and scored in just about every way possible.
Oh, and we'd be doing a disservice to our audience if we didn't share at least one of the hypothetical Twitter edits that showed what Sengun might have been saying to the basketball at the time. Any Ying Yang Twins fans here?