Houston Rockets season review: Alperen Şengün
Alperen Şengün made the Houston Rockets look like geniuses for advancing through the draft and selecting him with the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Looking back, the precocious Turk who escaped the lottery looks even more ridiculous than he was in the moment.
Şengün was not an unheard of international prospect that only the biggest draft junkies knew about. He was a bona fide stallion in the Turkish League, widely regarded as the third-best domestic league behind the NBA and Spain’s Liga ACB.
At only 18 years old, Şengün won Turkish league MVP title averaging 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Those per-game numbers are even more impressive considering he averaged 28.3 minutes per game.
On a fee basis, Şengün lived up to his pre-draft pedigree, but a lack of minutes left him out of contention for Rookie of the Year. Far more important than being in the conversation for meaningless rookie awards, he has established himself as a player who should have a productive 15-year NBA career. It’s Alperen Şengün’s season in review.
Alperen Şengün’s full-season line of 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game is unmistakable. However, he accomplished the feat at 19 in just 20.7 minutes per night.
It is essential to remember that Şengün will not turn 20 until July 25. He more than held his own in the NBA at the same age that Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham were riding draft boards against NCAA amateurs.
Taking a look at his 36 minute numbers explains all the optimism surrounding his future. Every 36 minutes, Şengün averaged 16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists. The only players who matched or eclipsed those marks per game were Nikola Jokic, Domantas Sabonis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Julius Randle.
Şengün would have struggled to hit those benchmarks in a full season, but his combination of goals, assists and rebounds has the potential to make him an incredibly unique player.