Dub Nation HQ Draft Tourney Semifinals: #9 Alperen Sengun vs #13 Chris Duarte
Cult favorite post wizard big vs the older sharpshooter
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.
And if you don’t want either one at #7? Yeah yeah I get it. You can still help us choose between them or just let the rest of us pick.
How The Candidates Got Here
This side of the Tourney bracket is completely in tatters.
#1 Davion Mitchell vs #9 Alperen Sengun. (22% - 78%) On paper, a huge upset, but everyone on DNHQ could see this coming with the pervasive doubts about Mitchell.
#13 Chris Duarte vs #5 Jalen Johnson (51% - 49%). Whew, a close one, where the HQ comment vote overrode the Twitter vote.
I wonder if Dub Nation would have been more receptive to Davion if there wasn’t this feeling of the whole mock draft media thoughtlessly assuming he was perfect for GSW.
Dub Nation Speaks
A farewell to Jalen
Arash (9 ♡):
I legitimately hate this lazy narrative that Johnson "quit" on schools. Johnson helped take Sun Prairie to the regional finals in 2017 and their first ever Division 1 semifinals appearance in 2018.
From there, he transferred to Nicelot (which wasn't anywhere near as good of a basketball school) because they "have a lot of family out here, so my family and I just felt it was right and at the right time just for a change.”
While at Nicelot, he eventually won the state championship there before transferring IMG since its an academy that has developed lots of of basketball prospects. If you call winning a championship with a high school, and then deciding to go to an environment that best prepares you for the future "quitting" then . . . by all means. I just fundamentally disagree.
Finally, the Duke decision . . . bro he'd been playing through an injury all year and decided, instead of continuing to play for Duke who had very little chance at getting to the NCAA tournament, that he'd stop getting exploited for 0 money and instead heal up and prepare for the NBA.
A farewell to Davion
Sleepy Freud (11 ♡):
Is Mitchell much more than a rich man’s Ky Bowman? Only without the rebounding chops? Call me a homer, but I’m not totally convinced he’s going to be a better pro than Nico. He’s likely better right now, but he’s also 2.5 years older (i.e. 3.5 years older than Nico when he was drafted). Everything he accomplished last season in college — which was impressive indeed — needs to come with the caveat that he was doing it as a muscular 22 year old man against a lot of skinny teens.
The FT shooting also terrifies me, both in and of itself and as a harbinger of his NBA three point shooting. What’s the pro upside of a short-armed six-footer who can’t shoot consistently?
I’m not 100% sold on Sengun, either, but I’m much more intrigued by the upside. It’s basically the opposite of the Mitchell caveat — the insane numbers he put up last season are even more insane when you consider he was doing it as a skinny 18 year old against grown men..
The lack of length is only one of the *five* red flags with Mitchell. The others are age, shooting, drawing fouls, and rebounding.
Lillard is a poor comp, since he beats or crushes Mitchell in all five categories. He was old entering the draft — one of the extremely rare superstars who was 22 as rookie — but was almost a year younger than Mitchell is now. He was small, but much longer than Mitchell (6-8 wingspan). And his rebounding was just a bit above average for a PG (5.8 per 40) but still miles better than Mitchell’s atrocious 3.2 boards per 40.
I’m old enough to remember the wages of wins era, when Mitchell’s atrocious rebounding *alone* would have been a deal breaker. We’ve come further with advanced stats in recent years, so can put individual rebounding numbers in proper context. But rebounding still correlates really well to things like effort and coordination; and it still (unlike most other stats) tends to be a innate skill that young players do not significantly improve on as they mature.
Drawing fouls is in the “innate and hard to improve” category as well. Guys like Lillard and Donovan Mitchell got to the line in college more than twice as often as Davion. And Davion with his ripped physique doesn’t have the excuse of being frail to be so poor at drawing contact.
Most importantly by far: the shooting. In today’s NBA, it’s the most important skill by far in a small player. It’s the reason Ky Bowman is not an NBA player, the reason Jonny Flynn was a bust, and the reason Steph is a top 15 all-time player. Lillard, like Steph and much every great shooter ever, has always been a great, not good, FT shooter. He totally crushed Davion from the stripe in college — 85-90% to 64-68%. That’s a massive chasm. And FT shooting correlates better than 3FG% to sustainably good perimeter shooting. The list of players who shot as poorly from the stripe as Mitchell did at age 22 and still ended up great pro 3 pt shooters is infinitesimal.
No amount of great athleticism, defense, and intangibles — and I buy all of it with Mitchell — can overcome being a short-armed six-footer who can’t shoot. Was Ky Bowman lacking on athleticism, defense, or intangibles?
If Mitchell was lacking in say, three of the five key categories above, I could see buying into his crazy-great character enough to pick him at #7. Lacking in all five? Just seems crazy to me. But I could be full of it…
jzalvarado (3 ♡):
The last time I commented about the draft on here was about hoping the Warriors wouldn't take Wiseman (too much of a long term project). My preference was a trade back and Okokgwu (who had this own challenges throughout the year). But I didn't have a Lamelo or anyone specifically pegged as my choice if the Dubs kept the pick
Such is not the case this year. I am higher on Davion as a prospect from where we sit (not necessarily If we had the first or second choice because that honor would go to Mobley which I also hyped early last off-season) but it's the Top 4, then Davion then a gulf between the next prospects Barnes and Kuminga included. Defensive positioning is probably the best out of any top prospect I've seen coming out in years. Decision making with the ball is elite. The anti-Poole when Jordan came out of college. His main knock is his size and wingspan BUT If this man was 6'4 with a 7 foot wingspan he'd be a Top 2 lock.
He is a better more refined prospect now than when Lillard came out of college (similar draft order projection). This isn't a reaction the other way because of Wiseman because I knew he'd struggle. But to label this man a high floor low ceiling prospect is ludicrous. This man is a huge floor high ceiling prospect. If the Warriors don't pick him I think it's going to be a monumental mistake much more than Wisemans slow development.
hammystyle (2 ♡):
Mitchell. I buy his work ethic, and ability to improve. Think he's a very talented late bloomer who's got more upside than your typical 22 year old draftee. Not only was his shooting and A/TO efficiency great, but it was all in an NBA style. Step backs, off the dribble 3's. Ability to take guys 1:1 off the dribble. Making reads in the pick and roll finding both shooters and rollers. I think he could step in as a solid offensive PG who's excellent defensively and is stout enough to have defensive versatility.
That's an incredibly valuable player, full stop. AND it's a great fit. He can play in lineups with Steph and is almost the perfect candidate to play in bench lineups with Poole.
I think people are way too fixated on the FT%. Yes, it's a known stat that FT% correlates more strongly to 3P%. But that's in aggregate. He took and made a lot more 3's and 2's at fantastic efficiency. There's limits to rules of thumb.
I guess to flip back...can you give me any examples of first round picks at any position who shot 45% from 3 at close to five attempts a game and then were bad 3P shooters?
There's just not going to be a bunch of examples. He's an outlier.
Jason Richardson shot 65% from the line through two years of college. Was 69% through his first handful of years in the league.
Mookie Blaylock was 67% FT in college.
Deron Williams was 68% from the line in college.
Lonzo Ball was pretty awful at the line prior to last year, but steadily ticked up his 3P %.
Kent Bazemore was sub 60% in college.
Pretty good one. John Stockton, 72% for his career at Gonzaga, but two sub 70% years including his senior year.
Considering this is just me hunting around and guessing for 10 minutes, there's probably more. Most of these guys were more good then great shooters. But also none of them were close to 45% from 3 in a year at college either.
The Sword Of The Morning (8 ♡):
Sengun can handle and pass the ball as well.
https://streamable.com/eo66g8 - This is him handling the ball with dribble moves in transition like SloMo (is that an oxymoron).
https://streamable.com/bmo35z and https://streamable.com/wdbctp - Here he takes 2 people off the dribble going both left and right.
https://streamable.com/213t8g - This is the most exciting clip, a left-handed Jokic like pass to a cutter (this would fit in perfectly for our system).
It's the playmaking that really intrigues me. If he can reliably function as the offensive initiator for a high-level offense, his potential rises exponentially.
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.
Dean On Draft: (#7) Sengun does not fit the ideal for a modern NBA archetype, as he is a post-up PF that has become completely obsolete.
At 6’10” with 7’1″ wingspan and limited vertical explosion, he can play as a small center in some situations but lacks the rim protection to be ideal for the role consistently. And it’s not clear if he has the mobility to defend the perimeter, although he has a chance as his feet seem decent enough.
But once you get past the physical limitations, Sengun has a rare combination of skill and IQ. He has a capable handle, and is a sharp passer for his size, averaging more assists than turnovers (2.7 vs 2.4). He is also an exceptional offensive rebounder at 17.5% and shot maker with 63.2% 2P and 79.4% FT. He only made 7/35 from 3, but given his FT% at age 18 it seems likely he should be able to develop into an above average NBA 3 point shooter in time.
And what he lacks physically defensively, he helps atone with high IQ with good steal (2.6%) and block (5.9%) rates. If he proves capable of lateral movement and sharp decision making, he may not be a defensive sieve as feared.
The obvious comparison for him is Kevin Love. Which raises an interesting question– if you knew for sure you would get Kevin Love, where do you draft him in this modern era? It’s difficult to say, but there is a limit to how bearish you can be on such a statistically productive player. And Sengun’s statistical output smashes everybody else in the draft– even Mobley. So there is some wiggle room for him to be even better than Love.
While the prospect of drafting such an archaic mold with a high pick is scary for a modern GM, this mentality could also lead to Sengun being a steal with such a rare combinaton of youth, skill, and intelligence.
Profile from Sports-Reference.com
Per 40. Luther Head, Cameron Johnson, Adonis Jordan, Khyri Thomas, Davon Reed, Steve Blake, Jon Diebler, Payton Pritchard, Kirk Hinrich
Advanced. Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Khyri Thomas, Buddy Hield, Davion Mitchell, Tyrese Haliburton, Marial Shayok, Payton Pritchard, Josh Hart
Jon Chepkevich: Statistical best comparisons are
NBA Draft Room Comp: Klay lite
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Some evaluators have docked Duarte for his age, as he’d be the oldest prospect in the first round. But I think his game is so tailor-made for the NBA that he’s not going to have any problem making an immediate impact. He’s an All-Defense member in the Pac-12 and a genuine playmaker with how disruptive his hands are in the backcourt with length at 6-6. And on offense, he’s a legit 40-plus percent 3-point shooter who can also handle the ball and make comfortable decisions. Duarte has high-level role player written all over him.
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Modern Rip Hamilton, Gary Trent Jr., Danny Green
A strong shooter who could stick in the league for a long time, especially if he makes progress as a playmaker and on-ball defender.
Elite spot-up shooter who can score off movement using screens, handoffs, and relocations.
He's not a dynamic shot creator, but he is a knockdown shooter off the bounce, able to punish defenders for going under screens or pull up and side-step defenders off spot-up situations.
Ambidextrous finisher who has the body control to bend and angle himself to score.
A hustler who goes out of his way to make plays on the ball, and a willing rebounder for his position.
Active and aware in the passing lanes as an off-ball defender. He makes reads like a defensive back and creates a ton of steals and deflections.
Good defensive fundamentals. He stays in his stance and plays hard. He needs to improve his lateral movement, but the tools are there.
Subpar playmaker at this stage of his career. He’s a willing passer but he’s inaccurate, especially off the dribble in pick-and-roll situations.
Likely not a very switchable defender, as he’s not quick enough to handle speedy guards or big enough for larger, stronger forwards.
He’ll be 24 by draft night.
Hollinger, The Athletic: Duarte isn’t for everyone, as he will be 24 years old when training camp opens. History tells us drafting old guys has often turned out badly, and that there is a lot less upside in picking Duarte versus selecting players who are as much as a half decade younger.
That said, this is where the selling proposition on Duarte looks reasonable. He is an NBA rotation wing right now, and may even be a starter. There is no development curve, no having to use our imagination to color in lines that might not be there.
Duarte is a good shooter (42.4 percent from 3 on high volume) and a deft operator around the rim who shot a staggering 63.1 percent on 2s, even in a high-volume role that saw him average 31.3 points per 100 in-conference games. He handles the ball well enough to be a secondary operator, finishing with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, and he can guard 2s and 3s. He also anticipates well off the ball, with a stellar 3.3 per 100 steal rate in Pac-12 play.
That combination likely yields a relatively unsexy package of a plus backup wing who can maybe start, but think of this as a free agent move. By nabbing Duarte outside the lottery, a team is basically getting four years of a $10 million player on a $3 million contract for four years. The tradeoff is that they give up on the improbable but still theoretically possible opportunity to pick a teenager and wind up with a $30 million player a few years down the road.
Dean On Draft:Duarte is the senior citizen of the draft, having turned 24 in June.
He fits a nice 3 + D archetype, and he can possibly give whoever drafts him a rotation player for cheap for 4 years as his rookie deal will essentially cover his prime.
But he is so limited with the ball and so low upside, it is difficult to see how he is adequate value for round 1. His best comp is likely Damion Lee who went undrafted and was acquired on the cheap by Golden State, and still was cheap to retain after finding a rotation role.
Searching for a cheap 8th man is such a suboptimal use of a late 1st round pick when there are guys who can be better right away and solid for years to come still on the board.
Duarte did do really well for Oregon and can be a bit better than Lee, and is likely fine in round 2. But capping your upside this badly in round 1 is just wrong. You can find similar caliber pulls to fill out the bench on the scrap heap and aim higher with your first round pick.
Vote on Twitter or post a comment clearly supporting one or the other. Comment votes count ten times more than Twitter votes.
It's really hard to say no to Duarte, as his combination of skills, character, and being a relatively complete player (compared to teenagers) seems like it would fit right in to the NBA. The pitch of "Klay lite" makes it super obvious how he would fit the team.
But Sengun is MVP of the Turkish league at 18, and deservingly so. Sure, his skillset might look redundant with some of the guys we already have, and dated compared to the modern NBA. But I don't think rebounding is going out of style anytime soon, overall BBIQ and passing are obviously Dub Nation values, and 80% on free throws is a great stat for a center / PF type. With his youth and everything we know about him so far, it is not out of the question to picture him as someone with the potential to be a new generation big man in the mold of Jokic / Giannis / Ayton / etc.
So I have to go Sengun with this one.
Watching Niccolo Mannion play for Italy. I would not be surprised to see a big jump from him this year. Maybe takes some pressure off of wanting to draft a backup point. At least that is what I keep telling myself.