16th overall pick in 2021 NBA Draft: Rockets select Trey Murphy III
Actual pick: Alperen Sengun
The Rockets did extremely well with this selection. Sengun averaged 14.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.9 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game as a 20-year-old. Having a strong playmaking center that can score, handle the ball, and rebound well is a massive asset. Sengun would be a top-ten pick if this class was re-drafted today, but there are some questions.
Can Sengun stay on the floor in the playoffs? The 6’9 big man struggles to defend in space and protect the rim. The Rockets allowed 120.3 points per 100 possessions when Sengun was on the floor last season. It is impossible to win in the postseason leaking that many points.
Trey Murphy III had a breakout second NBA season where he averaged 14.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in 31.0 minutes per game. The 6’8 forward shot 48.4 percent from the field, 40.6 percent on his threes, and 90.5 percent from the foul line. He can play two through four and offers lineup versatility that Sengun cannot.
Murphy III is not a 3-and-D wing yet, but he is quickly becoming one. The 22-year-old is an elite shooter, and his defense is improving. The Rockets cannot pass on the second most valuable commodity in the current NBA behind a star player.