San Antonio Spurs: 5 Controversial 2021 NBA Draft picks
Controversial San Antonio Spurs draft prospect #3: Alperen Sengun
Alperen Sengun had himself a monster season with Besiktas J.K. in the Turkish Super League this past season and is now playing in the Olympic qualifiers for the Turkish National Team. At only 18 years old, he won league MVP and stuffed the stat sheets, posting 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He also shot a ludicrous 65% from the field, which is perhaps his most impressive individual stat.
It should not go understated how impressive it is that Sengun was able to do what he did in the Turkish Super League as a teenager playing against adults, many of whom were former NCAA and/or NBA players. Sengun has already been compared to Nikola Jokic for good reason considering how well he's played.
With all of that in mind, though, the controversy surrounding Sengun is due to his size and athleticism. Standing at around 6'9" to 6'10", depending on which report is read, he is definitely considered undersized for a center in the NBA despite supposedly having around a seven-foot wingspan. Additionally, while I think he's a bit more athletic than he's given credit for, he will surely be one of the slower and weaker bigs on the floor once he's in the NBA.
These factors do not necessarily bode well for his potential on the defensive end of the floor in the NBA. Frankly, I don't think there's even a remotely good chance of him being able to reliably defend offensively-skilled bigs like Joel Embiid or Karl-Anthony Towns. A prime and recent example of the struggles he could face is how Nikola Jokic reportedly struggled against Deandre Ayton in the playoffs.
If the Spurs see a way to work around these potential struggles, then I think he could be a great addition to the team. For now though, I'm struggling to see how he'll fit with the current roster, and I expect the Spurs to go in a different direction unless there are some serious changes to the roster coming soon.