San Antonio Spurs NBA Draft Big Board: Players 8 and 7
8. Alperen Sengun - Center, Besiktas J.K.
Alperen Şengün's meteoric rise this season has really been incredible to witness. The 18-year-old playing in the Turkish Super League has had a dominant season, to say the least, recently winning league MVP. He averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game during his time with Besiktas and led them to a first-place finish in the league this past season. He went from barely being on my radar in early 2021 to now being in my personal top ten based on his unmatched skillset.
Many concerns revolving around Şengün have to do with his lack of athleticism, and I'm here to tell you: those concerns are overblown. Don't get me wrong, he's far from being one of the most athletic in his class, but he has sneaky strength and athleticism that still has room to develop. Also, despite his poor 3-point shooting numbers, his smooth stroke and great free-throw shooting are indicators that his shot could develop quite nicely for him as well.
That said, his athletic ability still limits him quite a bit in terms of his ceiling unless he were to become a Nikola Jokic-type clone. Even then though, he isn't as big as a player like Jokic and I can see him mightily struggling on the defensive end once he enters the league.
7. Usman Garuba - Power Forward, Real Madrid
If you've seen anything that I've written about Garuba this draft season, you probably know that I am quite a bit higher on him than the consensus, and it's because I am becoming a believer in him developing a solid offensive game. His defense is what can be a total game-changer for the Spurs, though.
He is already one of the best rim-runners in his draft class and is debatably just as impactful of a defender as the number six player on this big board. He will immediately fill a position of need and will make the Spurs roster even more athletic than it already is.
Even though Garuba's rebounding and defense should translate well to the NBA, his ceiling entirely hinges on his ability to develop his offense. While he projects as a decent facilitator, his handles are still in the early stages of development and his shooting splits speak for themselves. Like I've said, though, I'm a believer based on his shooting mechanics and recent free-throw shooting numbers and think he would be a fantastic lottery pick.