San Antonio Spurs Draft

Is Alperen Sengun the answer to the Spurs' center problems?

San Antonio Spurs v Boston Celtics
San Antonio Spurs v Boston Celtics / Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images
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Reasons to hesitate on drafting Alperen Sengun

With how much I've talked up Sengun, you might wondering why he's not projected to be drafted higher. There's a simple, one-word answer: Defense. As an undersized defender, Alperen is going to need a lot of work on that side of the ball if he's going to make it in Gregg Popovich's system.

In today's NBA, it's becoming increasingly important for bigs to be able to switch on guards on the perimeter without being left in the dust. Jakob Poeltl, surprisingly, has shown a decent ability to do that. Luka Samanic as well. Alperen Sengun? Not so much.


The issue isn't so much that Alperen doesn't have the lateral quickness to keep up with smaller guys. At least, I don't think that's the issue. He just isn't disciplined and gambles way too much for someone that shouldn't be doing so.

The Spurs already just departed with a star center who became unswitchable on the perimeter this season, but we have to keep in mind he was 35 with over 1,000 games played. At age 19 by draft time, Sengun will have plenty of guys to learn from when it comes to defensive fundamentals.

Another negative that jumps out in looking at Sengun's statistics this season is his allergy to the 3-point line. This season, he's only shooting 0.7 threes per game and connecting on 17.4 percent of them. I wouldn't pay much attention to the percentage, as such a small sample size can severely skew that data. Remember how Keldon Johnson shot 60 percent from three last season? Well, that was on 22 attempts.

Most guys that shoot well from the free throw line are able to knock down threes as well, particularly if they're overseas players. Alperen is an 80 percent free throw shooter.

Both of his glaring weaknesses have the potential to be improved, but he'll need to demonstrate patience if Gregg Popovich is still running the Spurs, should they draft him. The real question is, should they?

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