Houston Rockets Season Review: Alperen Şengün

Sacramento Kings v Houston Rockets
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Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets
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Alperen Şengün’s Bright Offensive Future

As the spread pick-and-roll has taken over the NBA, the offensive responsibilities at the center position have changed accordingly. Post touches and operating from the elbows have been replaced with screens at the 3-point line, a steady diet of rim runs, and, for the truly gifted shooters, pick-and-pop opportunities. 

However, Şengün breaks that mold completely. He is a menace in the post and can whip passes from anywhere to anyone. Can he set screens and roll? Of course, but that would be like buying a military-grade Hummer to drive the kids to soccer practice. 

Şengün’s passing is where he offers the most positional upside. His vision and willingness to push the bounds of passing possibility are only exceeded by Jokic at the center position. He finished ninth among rookies in total assists and was first among all frontcourt players in significantly fewer minutes. It’s rare for an offense to be run through a center, but Şengün offers that upside. 

As a scorer, Şengün also showed an incredible amount of promise. His shooting splits weren’t all that impressive, but they were acceptable, and he has the ability to get to the highest value spots. 

42.9% of his field goal attempts came within three feet of the rim, and 29.7% came between three feet and ten feet away from the basket. Nearly three-fourths of his shots were in the two highest field goal areas, which means he can produce above-average shooting efficiency even with below league average finishing. 

The secret sauce to Şengün’s scoring was his incredible ability to generate free throws. He averaged 3.2 free throw attempts on 5.7 2-point field goal attempts per game. His free throw attempt rate of .442 was the 15th best mark in the league. 

As an offensive prospect, there’s an awful lot to be excited about with Şengün. He’s a willing and creative passer, and he can get to the rim and generate free throws. The foundation of an excellent offensive player is already there, and it gives him a high floor on that end.