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Why Alperen Sengun is an All-Star this year

The third year pro has taken his game to the next level and is worthy of being recognized as such.

Houston Rockets v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Alperen Sengun is an All-Star this year. Notice that I didn’t say he “should” or “could” be an All-Star, he is an All-Star. While the official voting has not declared him one as of yet, he has continued to make a strong case on his own behalf since the initial ballots were released.

In just a week’s time since he polled seventh among western conference frontcourt players, Sengun has leapfrogged Paul George and has also been named Western Conference Player of the Week. Fan votes won’t be enough alone to get the Houston Rockets prized possession into the game, but an increase in media attention and respect from his peers will certainly help his case.

Last week, I projected what the WC All-Star roster would look like and Sengun made my team. As long as he continues to play well and manages to keep the Rockets afloat, it should be a remorseless decision to reward one of the NBA’s brightest stars on one of the biggest stages.

Averaging roughly 22 points per game, Sengun is sixth among Centers in the league. While his rebounding numbers aren’t in the teens, he still is good for 20th in the league among all players with 9 per game. However, he’s really exceptional, especially at his age, in the passing department. At 5 per game, he’s fourth among Centers, even topping other bigs such as Bam Adebayo that are also exceptional at moving the rock.

Now I know you might not think these stats are super impressive if you were to put them next to someone like Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic, but they truly are indicative of a major leap taken between year two and three for Sengun. They’re not far off from what three-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis has put up in the past.

The main reason that I believe Sengun is deserving of this honor is because he has established himself as the undoubted number one option for this Rockets squad. This is important to me when it comes to All-Star nods because there are a lot of deserving players this season.

Among his peers, you can’t say that Sabonis or the two bigs in Minnesota — Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns — are the focal points for their teams. De’Aaron Fox and Anthony Edwards are the guys defenses turn their attention to first and foremost. The same goes for Paul George and Chet Holmgren, both having great seasons, but not “the guy” for their respective teams.

Sengun is that guy for Houston. Teams know that things run through him these days, but regardless, he has still produced.

The biggest deterrents towards a Sengun nod would be someone like Devin Booker, who should harbor fringe top-10 respect. Even Lauri Markkanen poses a threat after establishing himself last season. Then again, both have missed a decent chunk of games, something I would take into consideration with my vote.

There’s also the threat of one of the New Orleans Pelicans getting in with Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram. That might be the deepest team in the league and they’ve been humming as of late. It’s all a tossup at this point.

But circling back to Sengun, he should be rewarded for the amount he has managed to level up, not only for himself, but also for his team. Consider that the Rockets were winning 27 percent of the time with him as the third scorer last year and now they’ve nearly doubled that percentage with Sengun as the main guy this year. There's a correlation.

Let us all continue to play our part in getting our guy to Indianapolis. We’ve got until midnight of January 20 to keep boosting his ballots. Vote here!