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Dub Nation HQ Draft Tourney Rd 2: #1 Davion Mitchell vs #9 Alperen Sengun
Undersized defending dynamo vs undersized center post move wizard
The whole tournament is at 2021 Dub Nation HQ Draft Tournament.
Your mission is to decide which of these two you would prefer the Warriors draft at #7 this year. I’ll bring the scouting reports, you bring the vote.
How The Candidates Got Here
Welcome to Round 2 of the tourney! These players cruised through Round 1 as follows:
Dub Nation Speaks
Goofus (7 ♡):
Mitchell is 3 inches shorter than Nico Mannion, who looked small out on the court this past season. For me to want a guy like that, there has to be zero red flags. Mitchell has a few:
1) FT %
3) Only one season of good 3pt%
So I’ve been trying to ready myself for the possibility of getting Mitchell all day … and I’m just searching for any positives at this point … and the one thing that I can hang onto is a lineup including Mitchell - Thompson - Wiggins - Green could grow into something terrifying. I mean I was watching those videos and *I* was feeling anxiety just watching — imagine handling the ball against him! And that’s really cool! Guys like Patrick Beverly and Tony Allen have carved out solid careers for themselves doing something similar!
But man … it’s really hard to see him being a productive offensive player … and pestering college guards is not at all pestering NBA guards … so … I just have a hard time justifying him at #7. He’s a guy who would be a nice find later in the draft, but there’s gotta be a better option at #7…
Davion Mitchell please.
The Mike Schmitz breakdown won me over. The way DM talked about his play on the breakdown, remembered plays and translated scouting reports to real game impact was impressive. He has great intensity and defends like a dawg. I also think he’s a good fit next to JP & JW moving forward. I’m not too worried about his 3PT shot, the guy had heaps of time off between Auburn and Baylor, clearly put in the work and it paid off. I believe he’ll do the same with FTs
Sengun, pretty easily. Star upside. Because he's so deft around the cup with footwork he's got this "old school" label. But I think that undersells how skilled he looks off the dribble in the face up game. He's not some back to basket dinosaur. He can take the ball from 20+ feet, make moves and get himself into post position where he can finish in a variety of ways. He's really talented.
I want to believe in Sengun (hopefully he grows more if the Dubs get him) and in his ability to become a playoff-caliber defender in a few seasons when he’s not a baby anymore, but he looks like he’ll be unplayable for a while come playoff time when he’s be hunted on switches and will bleed good shots to the opposition.
He would be fun during the regular season with his passing, finishing, transition game and with the possibility of his high FTr sticking, but he’s kinda hard to play around being a baby dwarf center who’s probably gonna be a bad defender for a while.
The Sword Of The Morning (7 ♡):
Sengun has more reasonable potential than anybody but Cade, Green and Mobley and maybe Barnes in this draft (Suggs is a high floor low ceiling prospect).
Barnes is a prospect who is completely shot dependent. He's going to be really good defensively, but his scoring game is basically nothing. With Barnes, you face the same issue as Draymond - they are both completely atrocious as play-finishers (from 3, in the paint etc) that they both have to be involved in every play offensively as a creator (so he can't even be a Capela or Ayton like lob threat on every roll). For Barnes to return all-star level value, he needs to have a credible jumper (33-35% on decent volume) or come very very close to one of the GOAT defenders in Draymond. And we all know his shooting profile is not good (though it's not hopeless).
For Kuminga, everything he has going for him is theoretical like Wiseman. He was historically inefficient from everywhere, has a somewhat shaky handle (for a guy who profiles as a wing with creation ability), and was bad defensively in the G-League. He has the tools obviously, but you're taking a giant leap of faith with him. If everything turns out great (better handle, much better passing and vision, really good shooting, higher motor) then sure, he has a higher ceiling. But what are the chances of him improving enough on all of those swing skills? At least with Barnes, he just needs a shot. With Kuminga, you're banking on substantial improvement on like 5 facets in his game. I don't think that's reasonable.
As this article https://deanondraft.com/2021/07/10/is-alperen-sengun-too-old-school-to-succeed-or-too-talented-to-fail/ indicates, Sengun's stats are better than guys like Sabonis, Love, Jokic at comparable ages against harder opposition (all all-star or MVP players). They're even comparable to Cade (from the article):
Age: Sengun - 18.5, Cade - 19.3
USG: Sengun - 26.7%, Cade - 29.2%
eFG%: Sengun - 0.641 (!), Cade - 0.515
OR%: Sengun - 17.5%, Cade - 2.3%
DR%: Sengun - 23.4%, Cade - 16.2%
AST%: Sengun - 18.2%, Cade - 20.8%
A:TO: Sengun - 1.11, Cade - 0.86
STL%: Sengun - 2.6%, Cade - 2.5%
BLK%: Sengun - 5.9%, Cade - 2.3%
Of course, Sengun's better at big man stuff like Rebounding and Blocks. but he's also better at things that are really important for a primary initiator - he's way more efficient, he has a comparable AST% (18 to 21 for Cade) and he has much lower TOs (Cade has more TOs than ASTs which is a huge red flag for a guy who profiles as a perimeter initiator).
Of course, this is somewhat cherry picked, but the major point still stands - Sengun is really good but is being docked points as people think he belongs to an archaic archetype (which is not true). If he turns out to be a more athletic Kevin Love or Sabonis with better defense and much more rim protection, is that not a really high ceiling?
BadlyBrowned (2 ♡):
I think Sengun has very high upside. Turkish MVP and he's still 18 and is like the 4th youngest player in this draft class.
So yeah, Sengun over Kai Jones, easy.
Article examining Sengun from deanondraft: https://deanondraft.com/2021/07/10/is-alperen-sengun-too-old-school-to-succeed-or-too-talented-to-fail/
His player comparisons here are Love, Sabonis, and Jokic (with Power Forward dimensions).
I'd be very curious to get an official measurement from Sengun. Found a reported one saying he was 6'9" with a 7'0.5" wingspan. He could still be growing, and if he ends up at like 6'11" with a 7'2" wingspan, no one is complaining about his measurables anymore.
In either case, Sengun still had decent block rate and a good steal rate, so he certainly has the BBIQ defensively.
I think there's a good chance Sengun's physicals will be enough to let his skills and BBIQ take off.
He is the current conventional wisdom pick for the Warriors:
Profile from Sports-Reference.com
Per 40. Duane Cooper, Will Blalock, Antonio Burks, Adonis Jordan, Mario Chalmers, Michael Gbinije, Lee Mayberry, Kirk Hinrich, Daniel Ewing
Advanced. Shane Larkin, Khyri Thomas, Tyrese Haliburton, Jared Butler, Michael Gbinije, Darius Miller, Grayson Allen, Chris Duarte, Patrick McCaw
NBA Draft Room Comp: Kemba, Jarrett Jack+
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: The big riser of the NCAA Tournament, Mitchell was one of the best two-way players in the country. He won the national Defensive Player of the Year award due to his toughness at the point of attack. He took on a variety of assignments too, from smaller guards all the way up to guys like Cunningham. But where he made his mark this year was on offense, where Mitchell actualized the tools he has in terms of speed and quickness and became an extremely high-level table-setter as a passer. On top of that, he hit nearly 45 percent from 3. His game looks tailor-made and ready to play in the NBA.
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Jrue Holiday, Donovan Mitchell, Norman Powell
Taking Mitchell is a win-now move. He can join any team and immediately be an impactful defender. But he has upside on offense after blossoming as a shot creator this past season. Mitchell is the type of player who could help the Warriors now and later.
Elite competitor who took an offensive leap as a junior to become a lottery talent.
Dynamic shot creator who has a speedy first step and can change directions on a dime. He shifts gears with his dribble to keep opponents off-balance, creating space for pull-up jumpers or drives to the rim.
Made a huge leap as a 3-point shooter, going from 31 percent over his first two seasons to 45 percent as a junior. It could be an outlier season, but he looks the part.
Comfortable finishing below the rim with either hand. On his drives, he plays with patience using subtle hesitations and fakes.
Good playmaker who delivers accurate passes to spot-up shooters and rolling bigs. He also looks comfortable handling pressure.
Excellent defender who sets the tone with his intensity, focus, and hustle. He’ll sprint for chase-down blocks, take charges, and dive for loose balls.
Switchable defender with active hands who’s excellent at moving laterally against quick guards. He’s also strong and tough enough to handle larger scorers.
Disciplined pick-and-roll defender who can fight through screens and stick to his man.
High-IQ off-ball defender who is always in the right position, makes smart rotations, and closes out quickly on shooters.
Lacks the type of wingspan possessed by most elite defenders.
Below-the-rim finisher who lacks elite athleticism and could struggle against NBA rim protectors.
Rarely got to the free throw line in college.
Subpar free throw shooter, which raises questions about his high 3-point shooting percentage as a junior.
Hollinger, The Athletic: Everyone has a visceral reaction to ball-pressure guys, and Mitchell was probably the best in college basketball. His lateral quickness is insane; nobody could get by him off the dribble. Mitchell combines that with a bulldog mentality and a zest for taking charges. He’ll be a Patrick Beverley or Avery Bradley type checking other point guards, a real pain in the ass to play against.
Mitchell was also one of the country’s most improved players at the offensive end. He shot 44.7 percent from 3-point range last season and showed real growth as an on-ball distributor, although Mitchell and Butler (above) alternated responsibilities in the backcourt. Mitchell also has a tremendous blow-by gear to the rim and shot a stellar 56.5 percent inside the arc.
That said, there are concerns here. Mitchell has a good frame, but he’s going to look small in the NBA; I question his listed height of 6-foot-2, although we’ll find out more at this week’s Combine. One other notable red flag is that his rebound rate was embarrassing. He only grabbed 3.9 boards per 100 possessions in Big 12 play, the worst rate of any quasi-significant prospect in this draft.
Offensively, his 3-point shooting from last season may be an outlier; he still only hit 64.1 percent from the line, and finished his career at 65.7 percent. Even comparing usage rates this year, Butler had far more of the offense on his shoulders than Mitchell. To add, Mitchell also virtually never draws fouls. He’s also one of the older players in this draft, turning 22 in September.
In an offense-first league, I still have a hard time seeing starter upside in Mitchell at that end. His defense will surely keep him on the court, and his work ethic and intangibles will push him up draft boards as well, but today’s NBA is a tough place for ball-pressure guys to shine.
Profile from Sports-Reference.com
Wizzy’s Comps. None.
NBA Draft Room Comp: Tyler Hansbrough
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Sengun is putting up one of the most productive teenage seasons in recent European basketball history. As our John Hollinger outlined last week, the numbers Sengun is putting up in Turkey are dominant and preposterous at the same time. He is second in the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks. As John pointed out, Sengun’s PER would be the highest of the decade, and his 32.9 PER leads the Turkish league by a wide margin. From a scouting perspective, he can really finish inside, has a great nose for the basket and a great feel for getting separation. His hands are elite. The only problem comes on defense, where I’m pretty skeptical he’s going to be able to guard anyone because he’s a 6-9 center.
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Nikola Vucevic, Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter
He’s a dancer on the low post. He has unbelievable footwork, doesn’t predetermine his moves, and he can finish through tons of contact using either hand from difficult angles. He lives at the free throw line.
Sets strong screens and finishes at a high level on rolls to the rim thanks to his good hands and feel. He’ll use spins, fakes, and pivots to create space off the bounce. He can also finish loudly if he has space to leap.
Excellent passer with the upside to be an offensive hub. He facilitates from the post, the elbows, and even brings the ball up the court.
Untapped shooting potential: He shot nearly 80 percent from the line this past year and has good touch around the rim.
Heat-seeking missile as an offensive rebounder.
Good on-ball defensive potential if his athleticism improves in the pros. He has fluidity but needs to work on his technique.
Active off-ball defender. His hustle and spirit are major positives when projecting forward as he continues to hone his fundamentals and discipline.
He’s a nonshooter right now, but he has potential if he changes his mechanics—he has inconsistent footwork and it looks like his off-hand might be affecting his shot.
He’s undersized as a true center so it might be a challenge for him to battle on the post against larger bigs.
What is his position defensively? His slow feet and lack of verticality and length hold him back, meaning he’ll need to learn to be a positional defender.
As I noted a few months ago, Sengun is the pearl of a strong international class, and he is still flying somewhat under the radar despite winning the MVP of the Turkish League. That league is probably the second-best in Europe right now after Spain’s, and the history says that when a teenager — Sengun turns 19 in July — crushes a good overseas league like that, the fail rate is basically nil.
There are legitimate concerns about Sengun defensively, that he might be the type of guy who gets run off the floor in a playoff series. Overall, I would profile him as similar to Kevin Love — more of a “4.5” than a true five and somebody whose offense will need to make up for non-elite rim protection and mobility. Nonetheless, his offensive skill set is crazy good for a player his age. He has ball skills, passing ability, a good shooting stroke that projects to 3-point range and a dizzying array of spins, pivots and finishes on the low block.
I’ll be surprised if he isn’t able to rack up double-doubles relatively early in his career; it’s the defensive question in the modern game that keeps him out of my top three, and even then I still wonder if I have him too low. A lot of not-very-athletic bigs with average tools but advanced feel have ended up being far better defenders than initially projected — Marc Gasol obviously comes to mind for me — and Sengun could be another example. I wouldn’t just write him off at this end of the floor.
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