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Rockets Rookie Reactions: The 4 NBA All-Stars most like the Rockets Rookies

N.B. Lindberg
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Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets
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Alperen Sengun's NBA All-Star Comp

On a per-minute basis, Alperen Sengun has produced like a borderline All-Star. The only rookie that has played substantial minutes to best him in win shares per 48 minutes and box plus/minus is Evan Mobley. 

The only thing holding Sengun back has been a lack of game time. According to Sengun, his limited minutes total has been to protect him from injury as he adjusts to the breakneck scheduling of an NBA season. 

His per 36-minute averages of 17.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.7 blocks indicate that Sengun can more than hold his own against NBA competition. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise for last year’s Turkish League MVP.

While playing more minutes will be crucial for Sengun to reach an All-Star game, his rookie season has all but assured that he’ll make a run at them in his prime. 

Another factor going for Sengun is his age. Born on July 25, 2002, Sengun will spend the entire season as a 19-year-old. In fact, he was the sixth youngest player selected in the 2021 NBA draft.  

Add it all up; the production, the pedigree, and the precociousness, and Sengun, at the very worst, should be Domantas Sabonis

Related. What’s Alperen Sengun ceiling?. dark

Nikola Jokic, Domantas Sabonis, Houston Rockets
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Alperen Sengun's NBA All-Star Comp: Domantas Sabonis

While Jrue Holiday and Draymond Green were best-case scenarios for Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba, Domantas Sabonis looks like the floor for Sengun. 

The two have similar body types, Sabonis is 6’10 240 pounds, and Sengun is 6’9 230 pounds. They also don’t possess elite burst or speed but make up for it with excellent strength and quick feet. They’re able to be bulls in a china shop, with the ability to dance around priceless vases. 

In Sasbonis’ first All-Star season, He averaged 34.8 minutes, 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5 assists a game. Sengun, on a per 36-minute basis, is already close to those marks as a rookie. 

Sengun is already better at drawing free throws, a trait of elite scorers than Sabonis has been at any point in his career. They both are excellent playmakers from the post and high-post, but Sengun has shown a proclivity for highlight-reel dimes that exceed even what Sabonis is able to conjure.

The best-case scenario is that Alperen Sengun becomes a smaller version of Nikola Jokic. Comparing any player to Jokic is unfair. He is an elite 3-level scorer, maybe the best passer in the league, and this year has become a good defensive player. 

Sengun’s lack of shooting and length is what makes the Jokic comparisons unlikely. However, if he ends up 80% as good as Jokic, that’s still an All-NBA quality player. 

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