Alperen Şengün Scouting Report

Background

Alperen Şengün was born on July 25, 2002, in Giresun, Turkey. He met basketball thanks to his father who used to be a basketball player. Salim Taslı, one of his father’s teammates, thought that Alperen had good potential to be a basketball player and invited him to training. Taslı was running the 1994 generation in those years, which included Alperen’s older brother. As Alperen went to both his own training and his older brother’s training, his love for basketball increased and he decided to build his career on basketball in Giresun.

While in Giresun, Şengün played in a tournament called “Minikler Şenliği” and was the superstar of that tournament. Following this tournament, Ahmet Gürgen talked with his family and all of his coaches to include Şengün in their team. Şengün left his family in Giresun and went to play basketball in Bursa.

Şengün, who played at Teksüt Bandirma until the end of the 2019-2020 season, signed with Beşiktaş Sompo Japan in the summer of 2020 and is making the biggest leap in his career at Beşiktaş.

The thing he has been working on most since his youth is post-up game. He tries to get better at post-up games by watching tapes of Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. His favorite team in the NBA is the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. His favorite players are Kevin Durant and Nikola Jokić.

He has not suffered a serious injury, only a minor injury to his left thigh in early 2019, which slightly affected his performance for a month.

Şengün is generally optimistic, likes to work, has a really good bond with his family, and knows how to deal with challenges. At a very young age, he went to Bursa from Giresun and left his friends and family behind and got to know a completely different city. I think his ability to be coached, handle new structures and philosophies are tremendous for his age. Şengün worked with many coaches in the summer of 2020 to improve on many different areas and listened carefully to the coaches’ warnings.

Physical Tools

Standing 6-foot-9 with an average wingspan length, Şengün has physically changed in the last year in terms of weight, length, strength, and flexibility.

He did a good job to lose weight, which was slightly above average and made him seem bulky, to ideal levels by the summer months of 2020.

Şengün knows how to use his shoulders when he drives to basket – he can push the defender by using his shoulders to create a jump and finish angle, and to gain momentum.

The strength in the arms is a bit interesting. It is difficult to say that Şengün could not push his opponents and use his arms very well in my opinion. Because he can create his own angle by using his arms very well in positions close to basketball and he can easily score. You can even see that his arms are thin because he lost some muscle mass in his arms when he lost weight, but I don’t think this is a major problem. Because Şengün has used his arm length and strength perfectly so far this season.

He doesn’t have good strength on his chest, which limits him as a rim protector and movement defender because he sometimes cannot cover the handler’s drive or the big’s aggressive shoulder/low stance offense.

His palms are wide and fingers are long, plus his wrists are thick. The thickness of his wrists and the width of his palm allow him to grip the ball better. Although he is not able to grasp the ball very well when he is shooting and dribble, which causes him to not be able to adjust the momentum of the ball well.

Recently, he does a good job to use flexibility in the torso especially this season. The only good thing about his lower body is flexibility and mobility in the hips. In the post, Alperen Şengün can use his hip mobility in a very impressive way while turning very quickly on the baseline side or attacking the basket from the nail / forward. But in the rest of the things he has room to improve. He is not good laterally, vertically (can make a dunk, even posterized but has limited vertical pop, can be better), and linearly. Şengün doesn’t have good strength on the legs, he should add some footwork tricks, occasionally using his footwork but not consistently.

And this raises the biggest question mark in my mind on his NBA projection: Athleticism.

First, he is not fit for the open court pace, quickness, and fluidity in early offense demanded in today’s NBA. He’s not an elite athlete, but Şengün showed his fluidity and explosiveness very well in set attacks, including in tight half-court offenses. This season, he scored points by showing his fluidity and driving to the basket, even against good rim protectors such as Johnathan Williams, Bryant Dunston, and Jan Vesely. He also showed his explosiveness, two-feet leaping very well as a catch-and-finisher and dunker spot scorer.

On the defensive end, he is a good rim protector thanks to his explosiveness and basketball knowledge, but he is not a good defender as an athlete. So, he is like old-school big. However, it is very important that he can drive to the basket from the nail, perimeter, and wings. Overall, Şengün is an 18 year old basketball player who has shown notable flashes as an athlete. If he can add more quickness, fluidity, and elite vertical pop, I think he definitely can be an NBA player. But now, I don’t think that he can handle the tempo in the NBA due to the lack of elite athleticism.

Offense

Alperen Şengün’s offensive game revolves around interior scoring. He is an excellent catch-and-finisher, does a pretty good job as a dunker spot man, makes a lot of money in low-post situations, and also can attack the basket from nail and wings very well.

Alperen Şengün’s elite offensive weapon is catch-and-finishing. A perfect complement to guards who have the drive and dish skills, Şengün almost makes no mistakes when he is close to the basket. He can finish with both hands, but he usually finishes better and comfortably with his right hand. While finishing with one hand, he can move his opponent with other arm, shift his body weight and jump off two-feet, adjusting his angle perfectly, absorbing contact, using his length well, and if he needs it, he can use glass to score more comfortably.

Şengün is a smart finisher. When he takes the ball under/around the basket, first, he tries to understand how the defense is working. If there is a rotation from downhill, he goes to finish quickly by using his hips to avoid the rotation defense’s help. If there is a help defense from the weak side, he can both give the pass to the weak side or can go to the basket dominantly. He has the ability to make the defender bite with half-jump and pump fakes. Şengün can finish shots in the air over the rim protectors or absorb the contact. One of the critical points here that he does not have a good, soft touch. It is not a highly important thing, because he has solid touch but adding some softness will allow him to play more comfortably in my opinion.

A warrior who is in the game, who can control his aggressiveness even when he reaches very high levels, Şengün sometimes can get confused against help defense, cannot go over the help defense to the basket and makes turnover. He has a little bit of smoothness but should work on it more.

Despite not being a slasher or an elite self-creator, Şengün has shown flashes where he goes to the basket from the nail or wings. While doing it, he gives eye/pass/a little burst fake, creates his drive to the basket angle, uses his strong first step, changes his direction on the ground (occasionally, does good job on euro step, little crossovers) and goes to the basket quickly. I think this part is one of the most important positive assets in his NBA projection.

Şengün is not someone who has perfect hooks, short jumpers, floaters, or runners. For this reason, he seems to be someone that defensive systems in the NBA can easily defend, but his ability to attack the basket as well as under the basket aggressiveness definitely increases his offensive potential. He can take the next step in this by adding reliability to his handle, balance to his dribbling and more elite athletic skills, and he can become a mini slasher in the 2-points area.

Şengün is a good scorer in post situations. He turns to the baseline side much faster and more efficiently than the free-throw line in both right and left post zones. He really has good hip mobility so when he turns to the baseline side, he has more space to use this. He’s a smart scorer in post situations. For example, when the defender pushes him shoulder to shoulder, Şengün turns quickly before the defender’s second shoulder push and dislodges the defender easily. On the finishing side, he shows pretty good wrist movement and solid touch but as I said, doesn’t have a good soft touch so he cannot finish things when he’s not close to the basket. Şengün has a long and strong drop step. He can see the court and if any teammates wait for the ball, he can make the pass.

He has good court vision, can see what happens in the team and can take his position smartly. He’s a smart off the ball scorer and, as I said, he is an excellent CnF and dunker spot targets. But Şengün also has the ability to cut to the basket from wings – curl, backdoor and flash. However, sometimes makes turnovers due to his lack of elite ballhandling.

Not an elite scorer in pick-and-roll situations. Sometimes, he does a pretty good job to attack the basket as a short roller but I don’t think he is good enough in PnRs.

Last, the ability to shoot the ball. In short, he is not a good shooter and has a lot of room to improve and I think he has the potential to be a better shooter in the future – he just hit one 3-pointer this season, but he had good hits throughout his career. Şengün has a two-motion shooting form, he doesn’t have good bend on the torso and this is effects negatively his loading time. He does have good bend and alignment on his knees, consistent elbow points, above the head release with a little jump. So he has a shooting form but I don’t think he is a good shooter because he can’t bend his hips well, gain good momentum while rising, and can’t fully grasp the ball and give the desired final touch. These are neither major nor minor issues.

Considering he is 18 years old, he can be a better shooter with hard work, which he has the potential and work ethic. Does not have any shooting versatility, even potential. But if Şengün will hit 3-pointers as a CnS player, that’s enough.

Defense

Alperen Şengün’s NBA projection is limited for now because he is an inconsistent shooter, doesn’t have good athleticism tools and has room to grow physically. He is 18 years old and I think he can improve on these three basic deficiencies. But there are a lot of issues on the defense that he has to improve…

Actually, he has to work a lot in every defensive area except the above average rim protection. His opponents from all positions can easily dislodge him. Şengün gambles a lot in passing lanes, his feet are not firmly on the ground, he cannot absorb the physical movement of his opponent in low-post and high-post games.

He does not respect his opponent’s shot very much in closeout and risks his shot and sometimes focuses on the ball side when he actually has to defend his man in off the ball situations, and turns back very slowly in the transition defense and breaks the rhythm of the team and allows too many easy points to the opposite team. I think the problem here is neither full about focusing nor physically. It is likely a combination of lack of elite physical tools, defensive instincts, and high-motor in my opinion.

The only good thing about his defensive performance is his ability to protect the rim. He is a good shot blocker, able to jump off one foot or two feet to make a block. Şengün has excellent timing, knows how to contest the offense’s shot, can use his length very well, shows advanced hip turns to make a block. Despite have not any elite anticipation, he can read the offense to make a block and really do it with willingness which is a very important thing. He is only 18 years old and he knows basketball above average and has experienced good levels of basketball, so he has the ideal base to improve. Nevertheless, right now I think he’s not the ideal defender for all levels.

As a rebounder, Şengün has almost no weak point. He can feel that where the ball goes and shows his timing and ability to use his length to grab the ball. He also shows his high-level aggressiveness very well on both sides of the court.

Overall

Alperen Şengün is not fit for the NBA yet in my opinion. Because he does not have elite athleticism skills or the best body and cannot shoot the ball consistently. He also has a lot of room to improve on the defensive end. However, he has the potential to be an NBA player. Because in today’s basketball, the dunker spot and catch-and-finish bigs are still important thanks to drive-and-dish games. Şengün is excellent in those areas and can also attack the basket occasionally and is good in post games. He’s almost unstoppable close to the basket. If he can add more athleticism skills and build a better body (especially in the lower body), he will be the ideal big man who has a role in the rotation.

Nevertheless, shooting and defense create huge question marks in my mind. In this case, Ivica Zubac, Jusuf Nurkić and Ante Žižić are excellent examples for Şengün’s projection. Žižić did not stay in the NBA because he has not improved on athleticism and shooting, just an interior scorer. Zubac is an excellent rotation player thanks to his dunker spot efficiency and PnRs BBIQ, and also, above average defense. Nurkić is almost in his team’s “Big 3” because he can attack the basket, has good defensive tools, improved physically, and can play around the perimeter with decent shooting. Şengün is like Žižić for now but he is almost closest to be Zubac.

The best thing about Şengün’s NBA projection is that he is just 18 years old. He has time to improve on shooting and defense. And also, he is someone who is willing to work. So, he has potential, upside, and picking him in first to mid 2nd round will not hurt in my opinion. From there, defense, shooting consistency, physical improvements, and athleticism will determine his projection.

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