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Rockets gem Alperen Sengun, not Cade Cunningham, is the best player out of the 2021 NBA Draft

Rockets, 2021 NBA Draft, Cade Cunningham, Alperen Sengun

Sorry to give it the Detroit Pistons, but Cade Cunningham isn’t the best player of his class. The Houston Rockets stole the top dog of the 2021 NBA Draft. But it isn’t Jalen Green. It’s actually Alperen Sengun.

It’s definitely bold to say something like this based on just a couple of Summer League outings. The fact that the no. 2 overall pick Jalen Green has had two top-notch performances in Vegas makes this take even spicier. Even though the former G-League Ignite star is having a standout Summer League showing so far, Sengun is definitely turning heads with his play so far.

There’s good reason the Rockets shipped out two future first round picks to get the chance to take Alperen Sengun at no. 16 in the 2021 NBA Draft. And he’s showing every reason why Houston made that trade to get him.

First of all, this kid dominated the Basketball Super League, the top league in his home of Turkey. He won league MVP at the age of 18 in one of the tougher leagues outside the NBA with averages of 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.7 blocks, while shooting 64.6 percent from the field. If that wasn’t enough to convince people he was the real deal, he certainly gave them a reason with his play Summer League.

Part of this hot take is obviously based on the Turkish big man’s first two games in Vegas. He had 15 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks in Houston’s opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons, he showcased his offensive bag en route to a 21 point night, while adding eight boards and swatting away another four shots.

Sengun’s well-documented footwork has been on display so far in Summer League. In addition, for a player his size and at his age, he also has a pretty exceptional handle. Watch this filthy move as he slithered inside from the perimeter with a sick behind-the-back dribble and nifty spin move to score the layup.

Watch the 19-year old once again show his ability to put the ball on the floor from the perimeter and get to the rim.

And as Alperen Sengun displayed above, he’s also a sneaky good athlete with how he got up on this alley-oop.

What makes Alperen Sengun more special is his great feel and IQ for the game. He has great passing chops for a big man and is someone the Rockets can run their offense through. The former Besiktas center also knows where to pick his spots and more often than not, makes the right basketball play. Check out his great clock awareness to pull the deep three-ball with the possession going nowhere.

Sengun’s pre-draft weaknesses included his lack of range and shooting. He may have just debunked that with that logo triple right there. Obviously, he hasn’t shot the ball from the perimeter enough to warrant recognition as a consistent outside shooter. But it’s easy to see how he can eventually develop that aspect of his game.

With his relatively slow feet, there were also concerns with how he is going to fare with NBA-level defense, especially in pick-and-roll situations. But so far, he has been able to make the right reads and this has led to a pair of games where he has tallied a total of eight blocks.

A lot pre-draft comparisons compared Alperen Sengun to a Domantas Sabonis or a Nikola Vucevic. Those are definitely fair comparisons for the big man. But with what he has shown so far at the tender age of 19, it’s not crazy to believe he could become a Nikola Jokic with less of the otherworldly playmaking, but more athleticism and defense.

If Alperen Sengun ever reaches that ceiling close to the reigning NBA MVP, he’s your best player of the class of the 2021 NBA Draft class, and the Houston Rockets would obviously love that.