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Turkish big man Sengun has intriguing upside in NBA Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Washington Wizards are picking squarely in the middle of the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Whether Washington trades up, down or stays firm at No. 15, here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who the Wizards could consider selecting.
2021 NBA Draft Prospect Preview: Alperen Sengun
School/team: Beşiktaş (Turkey)
Age: 18 (turns 19 in July)
2020/21 stats: 29 G, 19.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.7 bpg, 64.6 FG% (7.0/10.8), 19.0 3PT% (0.1/0.7), 81.2 FT%
Player comparison: Al Horford, Goga Bitadze
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 12th, Sports Illustrated 17th, Ringer 9th, NBADraft.net 31st, Bleacher Report 15th
5 things to know:
-Sengun is the size of a power forward with a developed postgame and a strong track record as a rebounder. He's very crafty in the paint with spin moves and drop steps. He has good timing with his pump fakes and just generally seems to have a natural feel for the game. He will have to continue to develop counter moves to stay ahead of defenses at the NBA level.
-One weakness for Sengun at this point would be his three-point shooting. That will give teams some pause about his long-term ceiling, though the fact he shot over 80% from the free throw line is encouraging. In addition to shooting a high clip from the line, he also got there often, averaging 6.2 attempts per game. Sengun also happens to score efficiently because he's so good at finishing around the basket. So, it may just be a matter of range and continuing to gain confidence further away from the rim.
-Sengun was a good shot-blocker in the Turkish League. He has length and good timing. He also does not shy away from contact. If someone is flying towards the rim looking to dunk, he's likely to be right there challenging them. How that carries over into the NBA where the competition is bigger and more athletic, we will see.
-He plays with a lot of emotion and energy and has a knack for dunking on people. Sengun can finish strong in the halfcourt or in transition. He's not the most explosive leaper but is very aggressive looking for dunks and has long arms which help him get to the rim quickly.
-Sengun is set to become just the ninth Turkish-born player in NBA history. He has represented Turkey on the international stage, medaling in 2016 and 2018 at the FIBA Europe Championship.
Fit with Wizards:
Though the Wizards could use more depth at power forward, them taking Sengun would represent going for the best player available and betting on the long-term. He turns 19 years old four days before the draft, so he's likely got a long way to go in his development as a player. That said, he would come in with some professional experience and sometimes those guys can adapt quicker than other NBA rookies their age.
Sengun would slide into their depth chart behind Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans. He could also possibly play some at the five in smaller lineups, though the Wizards have a nice rotation at that position already with Daniel Gafford and Thomas Bryant, with the potential to bring back either Robin Lopez or Alex Len.
Sengun's game has some similarities to Bryant's. Both are uniquely efficient around the rim and more offense-oriented. Sengun, though, is a better rebounder than Bryant was at this age and Bryant had shown some more promise as an outside shooter. But like Bryant, Sengun could possibly thrive alongside a center like Gafford who can make up for his lack of rim protection and help clear the way for rebounds with his boxing out.
The Wizards have bigger needs than a player like Sengun, most notably at wing. And they also need to add outside shooting, which isn't Sengun's strength. But often times when you're picking 15th overall, you're thinking several years in advance. If the Wizards choose that route, Sengun is the type of guy who could make a GM look smart someday down the road.