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Rockets draft pick Alperen Sengun continues to impress

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Alperen Sengun has put on a clinic in Las Vegas.

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Alperen Sengun has looked impressive in Summer League action with the Houston Rockets. So far, Rafael Stone made the right move by trading up for Segun at the 16th pick. Sengun has proven his versatility on offense and defense as a 6’10” center. While playing in the Turkish league, Sengun won MVP at 18-years-old. Rockets Summer League coach Will Weaver gave credit to Sengun’s professional experience in the Turkish league. Weaver said:

“Both Jalen and Alperen’s experience makes such a difference. These aren’t their first professional games.”

Out of my curiosity, I wondered if Sengun was good at defense, but in the last two games, he has proven the ability to have active hands and great feet. That allows him to trap his defender and become useful in switch defense. In the NBA, big man must be able to guard the point guard and center in pick-and-roll situations. Sengun proved that against the Detroit Pistons Tuesday night. He was able to cause turnovers because of his 7’0” wingspan and lateral quickness.

His defensive arsenal could allow him to punch serious minutes with the Rockets this season, even though the roster is already loaded at the center and power forward position with Daniel Theis (who just recently signed a four-year $36 million dollar deal with the Rockets), Jae’ Sean Tate, and Christian Wood. Coach Silas will possibly have his hands full with creating this rotation.

In an average of 25 minutes per night across his two games, Sengun has recorded 8 blocks because of his help side defense and timing on opposing players. Sengun has been able to use his strength to out-muscle opposing players in post-up defense, which causes a faulted possession or a turnover. Although Sengun isn’t an athletic specimen, he still manages to get the job done on defense.

Sengun’s IQ has been impressive on offense because of his ability to know when to make the right pass. Nikola Jokic is an exceptional passer for the Denver Nuggets, but Sengun has shown similar if not fully developed capabilities for the Rockets. He is great at finding an open teammate amongst the perimeter and a cutting individual in the paint. Segun’s passing skills are guard-like when he creates a shovel and a no look pass to certain teammates from wherever on the court.

Like Theis, Sengun is great at pick-and-roll because he knows when to slip or roll when the defense gives a certain look. His body type allows him to push off certain guards and big men, so it creates driving lanes for Jalen Green or Josh Christopher. John Wall and Kevin Porter Jr. will love that from that Sengun. Once again, Sengun has great hands, which plays in his favor underneath the perimeter for catch-and-shoot opportunities after he creates room for himself.

Sengun is exceptionally good at the top of the free throw line. He creates offensive opportunities for himself because of his versatility. Sengun has lethal movement for a big man by using spin moves and pump fakes to confuse his defender. Another thing Sengun does so well is getting to the free throw line. He uses his body to create contact, which causes his defender to foul. Sengun is very patient in his post-up attempts throughout the game. His shiftiness and fadeaways cause problems for opposing players.

It will be fun watching Sengun in pistol and horn sets for Coach Silas because of his passing and scoring abilities. He honestly gives me a slight reminder of Kelly Olynyk. As of right now, Sengun is averaging 18 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Sengun is also great at blocking out his matchup to collect rebounds on defense and offensive possessions. He allowed the Rockets to have extra possessions, which benefited in their favor against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Pistons. Sengun has a knack of getting to the basketball.

Hopefully, Sengun keeps his play up, as he’ll be fighting for minutes this season, and Silas won’t be able to keep him off the court if this performance continues.