Dub Nation HQ Draft Tourney Finals: #9 Alperen Sengun vs #7 Moses Moody
Post wizard or shooting defending wing?
The whole tournament is at 2021 Dub Nation HQ Draft Tournament.
When we started this little adventure four weeks ago, I was fairly sure Moses Moody would be here in the Finals. I really did not expect Alperen Sengun to make it in dominant fashion, but in some ways he had an advantageous bracket, where Franz Wagner, James Bouknight and Josh Giddey ended up on the other side, and where safe bet Chris Duarte took out the risky high ceiling Johnsons (Keon and Jalen).
On the other hand, the comments sections were full of lively discussion where posters convinced others of Sengun’s legitimacy, so it’s not just a lucky draw.
How The Candidates Got Here
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.
And no Sengun piece would be complete without this fascinating love letter:
Sengun is an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and we have really never seen anything like him. Offensively he is highly similar to Kevin Love, and possibly even better.
Defensively he is a mystery box. He could be too slow and played off the floor in the playoffs, or he could be OK, or he could be surprisingly good and massively punish everybody who doubted and passed on him. For the sake of argument, let’s err on the side of negativity say this is his distribution of defensive outcomes:
10% Draymond Green
20% Kyle Anderson
20% Blake Griffin
20% Greg Monroe
30% Kevin Love
That seems like a prospect who should at least be considered at #1 overall.
It is scary to gamble on the law of averages without any clear evidence on film, but everybody thinks Cade Cunningham is a lock #1 pick without a lick of visual evidence he can play efficiently, rebound, or defend. We are always making a guess and taking a leap of faith in drafting, and it can be easy to glaze over important signals while latching onto arbitrary points.
In this case it seems that consensus is too eager to put Sengun in a box of slow PF who doesn’t fit in the modern NBA rather than a versatile + outlier talent unlike any prospect we have ever seen in our lives.
His weirdness makes him difficult to peg with any confidence, but it seems the concern is that he is merely a regular season all-star whose value erodes in the playoffs. Which is still better than the upside of many of the boring role players projected ahead of him such as Davion Mitchell, Corey Kispert, and Kai Jones.
And there are so many different things that can go surprisingly right for him, and we cannot rule out the possibility that he becomes an MVP candidate and future Hall of Famer.
The most bearish position that can reasonably taken in light of his weirdness and unclear NBA role is that he is the clear top choice after the top 5 guys go off the board. The most bullish position is that we should be debating him vs Evan Mobley for #1 overall because he is currently better at basketball than Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green by a ridiculous margin.
Thus far I have erred on the side of caution and leaned toward the bearish route, simply because he is such a difficult prospect to understand with any confidence. But the least that can be said is if Sengun eventually becomes the Jokic to Cade’s Wiggins, it is going to seem like it should have been extremely obvious in hindsight.
Profile from Sports-Reference.com
Per 40. Malik Beasley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Cameron Thomas, Josh Okogie, Bradley Beal, Terrence Shannon Jr., Bryant Stith, Harold Miner, Andrew Wiggins
Advanced. James Young, Kevon Looney, Aaron Gordon, Jerami Grant, Keldon Johnson, Kevin Knox, Malik Beasley, Kelly Oubre, Trey Lyles
Jon Chepkevich: Statistical best comparisons are
NBA Draft Room Comp: Allan Houston
Kyle Boone, CBS Sports: With Stephen Curry still playing at an MVP level and Klay Thompson set to return next season, the Warriors would do well to add a high-level role player who can maximize this roster. Moody fits the mold. He's a 3-and-D talent who shot 35.8% from 3-point range on high volume (162 attempts) and who would give the Warriors' current backcourt a real boost with his shooting and ability to make an impact off the ball.
Jeremy Woo, SI. While a bad run in the NCAA tournament shouldn’t impact Moody unfairly, it did bring to light some of the primary concerns scouts have held surrounding his athletic toolbox and overall readiness for the NBA. Granted, he’s 18, so some of this is to be expected, but Moody’s efficiency can vary wildly from game to game as a player who’s heavily reliant on shooting jumpers to be effective. He has a good frame and looks the part, but he lacks the explosiveness and struggles to finish regularly in traffic. There’s appealing upside here and Moody had a solid freshman year on the whole. But his range looks more likely to be late-lottery and onward than top 10 at this point.
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: The excitement surrounding Moody has dampened a bit following an inefficient NCAA Tournament, but I think some people are overthinking it. Moody is a terrific 3-and-D wing option with real size at 6-6 with a 7-foot wingspan. He is switchable on defense, with really good feet and a tough mindset. Offensively, he hits shots with a smooth stroke off the catch. He took a ton of contested shots this season as Arkansas’ go-to guy, which led to some of his inefficiencies. But he also showcased some difficult shotmaking ability, too, off the move. The big things to work on here are his passing ability and finishing — and he’s not a wild athlete by any stretch. But it’s tough to find teenagers who are this good at shooting and defending with a platform to improve his other aspects as well.
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Mikal Bridges, OG Anunoby, Morris Peterson
Safe bet to be a productive player for years. His ceiling, however, is unknown.
Excellent physical dimensions. Uses his strong frame and long arms to alter shots as a help defender near the rim or harass opponents man-to-man on the perimeter.
Good stationary shooter, but needs to speed up his release on 3s off screens and handoffs.
Unselfish player who excelled in an off-ball role. Does a good job of reading the floor off the dribble to make simple passes using either hand. Has intriguing potential as a screener who can thrive on the short roll.
Capable of pulling up from midrange after one or two dribbles.
Anticipatory rebounder with a nose for the ball, especially on offense.
Versatile on-ball defender who invites contact from larger players and has the agility to contain smaller, quicker perimeter scorers.
Intelligent off-ball defender who always seems to be in the right position.
Struggled to generate open shots against better defenders. Doesn’t project as a primary scorer unless his handle dramatically improves, and lacks the fluidity of players who develop that skill.
Lacks a floater.
Draws a lot of fouls but doesn’t finish well inside. A below-the-rim finisher. Needs to add more touch on finishes.
Lives in the midrange off the dribble. Needs to extend his range to 3 to hit more one-dribble side-step shots like high-level role players can.
Hollinger, The Athletic: Watching Moody’s tape, the two things that immediately strike you are that 1) he has a really good chance of carving out a career as a plus 3-and-D guy, and 2) he has fairly little chance of popping as anything more than that.
Moody has good size and length at 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and a smooth outside shot. His 3-point rate wasn’t off the charts, however, as he didn’t show the kind of ability to run off screens and fire on the move that you’d want to see from a high-level gunner. He also rarely gets to the basket and doesn’t wow you with athleticism.
Where he did show well is on the defensive end. While he wasn’t disruptive off the ball, he gets in a stance, slides his feet and uses his length to distract shooters. He’s also young even for a freshman, and has some instincts as a scorer, so there’s a chance some untapped upside remains.
He shapes up as a high-floor, low-ceiling type in spite of his youth, one who makes for a good pick around this point in the draft.
Dean On Draft: (#12) Moody is a prototypical 3 + D prospect, as he made 35.8% 3P and 81.2% at age 18, as he turned 19 recently in late May. He complements this with a 7’0.75″ wingspan that should help him hang defensively in the pros.
He is fairly limited as a shot creator, but he does have some interesting perks to his game. He is a good offensive rebounder (6.3%) for a SG, he has low turnover rate and about a 1:1 assist:TOV. And he has a surprisingly high FT rate for a non-creator at 0.482– higher than all of Cade Cunningham (.39), Jalen Suggs (.367), and Scottie Barnes (.339). This makes him both an effective spacer and efficient overall offensive player.
If there is one gripe to be had is that he uses his length surprising not well to generate steals, as he had a disappointing 1.6% steal rate– easily the lowest of Arkansas’s top 6 players. This leaves some questions about how much D he actually comes equipped with, but nevertheless he has an easy path to useful role player.
Dub Nation Speaks
belilaugh on Jun 23:
A couple random Moody facts:
NBA combine was today and the official measurements were taken. Moody has a +8.5 wingspan compared to his height without shoes, truly has freakish arms. Below is his placement among other guys with freak wingspans (holy shit THT) although it should be noted that this had assumed he was +8.25 and not +8.5. Kelly Oubre also has a +8.5, and no matter what you think of him everyone agrees his arms are absurdly long and help him have defensive versatility.
Also at today's combine his hand length measured 9 inches and his hand width measured 10 inches, both tops among all players in the combine 6'6 or shorter (also had the highest standing reach of that pool). The guy has big hands.
Also, people call Moody a "3 and D" guy and low upside, but how many guys have this polished of a footwork game at age 18 in college? Was Klay doing this back then (perhaps he was, I didn't watch him in his freshman season at Washington State)?
Moody averaged 6 free throws a game as a freshman, that's not common for "3 and D" guys. Klay took 1 a game as a freshman (upped it in future seasons), Middleton around 2, Danny Green never got to the line too much, etc. I think Moody would be a pure 3 and D guy next season, but I think he has serious secondary scoring option potential down the line once as he works on some of his weaknesses (like finishing, shout out Klay).
Some of these 3 and D guys like Mikal Bridges are pretty stationary (although Bridges is obviously way more athletic), whereas Moody's film shows a guy who has high movement shooting potential imo.
Moody averaged 7 rebounds per 40 minutes, those arms of his help him get to a lot of loose balls. You can also find multiple incidents of him diving on the floor for them, he's a competitor.
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