Houston Rockets Season Review: Alperen Şengün

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Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets
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What Alperen Şengün Needs to Improve

The first thing Şengün needs to improve is his ability to stay on the court. Early on, his conditioning was cited as the reason for his limited minutes, but if he’s going to constantly foul opponents on offense and defense, he could be a marathon runner, and it wouldn't matter. 

On offense, Şengün would benefit substantially from improving his jump shot. He doesn’t need to be a 3-point threat right away, but he hardly took any mid-range jumpers and was inefficient when he did. 

If he wants to operate the offense out of the high post, a credible mid-range game would open up more scoring and passing opportunities. His 3-point stroke suddenly popping would be a nice bonus, but it's likely a few seasons away if it ever does occur. 

Şengün's passing is special, but his recklessness makes Russell Westbrook look like a small-town accountant. Much like how bad shot selection can stifle a talented scorer, poor pass selection can undo even the most gifted passers. With more reps, Şengün will hopefully cut out some of his wild passes without sacrificing the vision and audacity that makes him a highlight waiting to happen. 

An area where Şengün struggled some was finishing against length. He’s not incredibly long and his lack of burst means he’ll have to become adept at finishing beneath his defender. He has the strength and footwork to minimize the issue, but to become a go-to low-post scorer, he’ll need to develop an eclectic below-the-rim package. 

On defense, Şengün needs to improve his lateral quickness. Unless he has an unexpected growth spurt, which appears unlikely due to his already muscular frame, he’ll need to be able to stop attacks before they ever get to the rim. His instincts and quick hands could make him adept in this role, but if he constantly gets blown by those traits won’t matter much. 

Alperen Şengün Season Review 

Due to the excellence of his rookie season, the expectations for Alperen Şengün have risen dramatically from that of a usual 16th overall pick. That alone should have Rockets fans excited. Finding a player outside of the lottery who pops so quickly, and at such a young age, is what the kids call a steal. However, the reasons he fell to 16th in the first place are still there. 

Can Şengün survive on defense? Will his offense make it so it doesn’t matter? Can he play alongside another big? Will his passing vision be undone by decision making that at times resembles a drunken chimp? Can he consistently finish against NBA quality starting centers? Will his jumper ever become a weapon?

Chances are he’ll answer a few of these questions next season. His rookie season was awesome, and he has an incredibly bright future. People don’t ask questions of role players. They only ask them of All-Stars and superstars. Şengün isn’t there yet, but he could be in a hurry. Even if he ends up on the low end of his projections, he figures to be an incredibly valuable bench anchor and offensively oriented spot starter. Not bad for the 16th pick. 

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