Assessing Alperen Sengun and Sehmus Hazer
May 19th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Recently, Alperen Sengun has been drawing significant draft buzz, and the big man from Turkey has been playing very well in the Turkish BSL Playoffs this season. He is currently slated to be a solid candidate for the lottery in the 2021 draft. While I couldn’t find full game footages of Turkish BSL playoff games online, there have been more games of Sengun to scour and watch recently. Therefore, I decided to watch him play in a January 28th FIBA Europe Cup game for Besiktas against BC CSU Sibiu, with thanks to YouTube via FIBA – The Basketball Channel. It also presented another opportunity to watch Sehmus Hazer play. Here are my thoughts on how Sengun and Hazer fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.
Alperen Sengun played well to help lead Besiktas to a double-digit win over BC CSU Sibiu. He especially excelled as an interior player and facilitator, and he was able to make solid plays to help his team on both ends of the floor. Sengun did a good job of scoring in the post. He showed a knack for scoring after using quick shoulder fakes to his right to score easily off the glass. He also spun to his right and utilized a drop step move to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk while getting an extra free throw afterwards. Sometimes, he would rush his shots on occasion, which would lead to misses.
He also was excellent at scoring on strong rolls to the rim. Sengun would tend to roll hard to the rim to get the ball, and he would throw down a powerful dunk to score from close range. He also would use an overhead ball fake to score on a crafty layup or on a powerful dunk if he would get the ball a little further away from the basket. Sengun has very good footwork and finishing ability that enabled him to thrive as a scorer on rolls to the rim, and he also would draw free throws to help his team.
On one play, Sengun ran off the ball to get it, but he ended up missing a quick, long two badly as he was given the ball towards the end of the shot clock. He also didn’t look to take jumpers very often, so he didn’t show that he could comfortably knock down jumpers from further out. He also didn’t make free throws at a high rate in this game, but he went to the free throw line often, and he was quite effective as a scorer in the paint.
He also displayed good playmaking skills. Sengun is a very unselfish player that can pass off the dribble as well as out of the post to notch assists. He would consistently pass out of the post to find open shooters. He also would push the ball up the floor and lead the break to create transition-scoring opportunities for his team. He managed to make a quick drive and kick pass to set up a score for a corner shooter in transition. Another time, he dribbled to the post, and he threw a nifty-behind the back pass to find a teammate ahead on the break. He also managed to pass the ball back to a teammate and then set a screen for him on a dribble handoff play to notch another assist late in this match. Sengun was able to throw a long, accurate outlet pass later on, and he also excelled at setting lots of solid screens to help get his teammates open jump shots and driving lines. He did commit one turnover, as he threw a hasty interior pass that got intercepted early in this game. Also, Sengun did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Sengun would chase down balls to help his team get defensive rebounds, and he would sometimes push the ball quickly up the floor afterwards. However, there was one play where he didn’t box out his man, which led his team to allow a put back score.
Sengun also played satisfactory defense in this game. He would often get his hands on passes to get a plethora of steals and deflections, and he also was able to leap up and run in to intercept a couple of passes to get a couple of other steals due to possessing solid athleticism, length, and instincts. He also was able to rotate to block and contest drives to force misses. Sengun also would hold his ground when defending in the post to get stops for his team. He also was able to successfully contest jumpers at times as well.
On the other hand, he tended to sag too far off his man if his opponent would be out on the perimeter, and sometimes he would choose not to guard him at all, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on open three-pointers. Later on, he ended up overcompensating by committing an aggressive foul by landing on a three-point shooter. Other times, he would be slow to get back, which would cause his team to allow scores on the break. He also would sometimes miss on a steal attempt or be caught over-pursuing an opposing ball handler, which would lead him to be caught out of position afterwards.
In general, Alperen Sengun is a solid prospect that primarily excelled as an interior player on both ends of the floor, and he also showed some underrated playmaking skills that enabled him to rack up plenty of assists to help his team win this game. He may have a fairly good chance to get drafted in the lottery this year, and he has the skills that could enable him to be a solid player in the NBA.
Besiktas’ 6-5 guard, Sehmus Hazer also put forth a solid showing to help lead his team to a double-digit win in this game. He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he was able to make solid hustle plays to help his team on both ends of the floor. Hazer generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He was able to go coast to coast to score on a quick, right-handed drive in transition. He also ran the floor hard and caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop layup in transition. He also managed to score on a quick backdoor cut to the hoop. He did have his shot blocked on another backdoor cut, but Hazer generally excelled at scoring on off-ball motion plays. He also did a good job of seizing the opportunity to post up a smaller player, and he was able to score on a turnaround jump hook.
He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble. He generally excelled at going to his right to score on quick drives to the hoop, but he can also finish plays using either hand. He also managed to score on a reverse layup while getting an extra free throw afterwards. He also can draw fouls to get to the free throw line on aggressive moves to the hoop. He would sometimes take tough, off-balanced shots in traffic, which would lead to misses if he would not get the foul call.
Also, he showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers in this game to provide some floor spacing skills for his team. Hazer was able to make a couple of quick, open corner threes, and he was able to run off the ball to knock one down early on. Hazer was able to dribble to his left to knock down a pull-up jumper from the mid-range another time. He was fairly streaky with his outside shot, and he also missed on several corner threes. It seemed clear though that because Hazer established in this game that he could knock down three-point shots, that enabled for him to thrive as a scorer and it really opened the rest of his game up offensively.
Hazer displayed fairly average at best playmaking skills in this game. He would swing the ball to find open shooters to notch assists, and he also can make drive and kick passes to get the ball out to his teammates. On the downside, he would tend to over-dribble into traffic as he would get balls poked off of himself to commit turnovers. He also threw an inaccurate low pass that ended up getting intercepted another time. Also, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball. Hazer would chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he would also quickly push the ball up the floor after getting defensive rebounds for his team.
Plus, he also played adequate defense in this game. Hazer showed good footwork and ball pressure to hound opposing ball handlers out on the perimeter, and he would get his hands up in passing lanes and dive for loose balls to help indirectly force passing turnovers. He also would hustle and fight through screens to stay with his man, and he would actively contest mid-range jumpers to force misses. He also rotated to contest a shot in the post to help get another stop for his team. On the downside, he would sometimes gamble too much defensively. He would commit reach-in fouls when defending opposing ball-handlers, and he was called for a clear-path foul once. He also would sometimes not hustle back on defense, which would lead his team to allow fast break dunks. Another time, he sagged too far off his man, which led him to allow his opponent to score on an open three-point shot.
In summary, Sehmus Hazer is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can do a little bit of everything when he is on the floor, and he could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider late in the second round of the 2021 draft. In a favorable scenario, if he does end up making it to the NBA, he could end up being an effective role player as a versatile combo guard off the bench at that level.
Besiktas’ 2002-born Turkish big man, Furkan Haltali had a decent showing in his team’s win over BC CSU Sibiu. Haltali is a strong, physical low post player that was effective as a scorer on offense, and he was able to provide some solid minutes for his team in this game. Haltali excelled as a scorer in the post. He was able to make a shoulder fake to his left to score on a left-handed turnaround jump hook. He also made a tough catch to score on a right-handed hook another time. He can make shots with either hand, but he missed on a turnaround right-handed jump hook once.
On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone, though. For the positives, he would set screens to help his teammates get open jump shots and driving lanes. However, he can sometimes be careless with the ball on offense. On one play though, he got the ball midway on a roll to the rim, but he was called for a clear out to commit an offensive foul and a turnover when trying to post up. He also telegraphed a pass that was later picked off by a defender another time. Haltali showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball. He was able to get boards on both ends of the floor. However, he would sometimes allow opponents to get offensive rebounds in his area. Defensively, he struggled in this game. On one good play, he rotated to deflect a pass off of a drive out of bounds, and he had initially appeared to gotten the block. However, he struggled to guard quicker players, especially when defending in space, as it would often lead him to commit fouls as a result.
Overall, Haltali is a strong, physical big man that can score in the post, catch passes, and set screens for his team on offense. On the downside, he’s not a great athlete, and he generally struggled to defend more athletic opponents on the defensive end. His game seems to fit overseas better than the modern NBA right now, and he also didn’t really take jumpers from outside of the paint area or show passing skills. Haltali will need to continue to work on his game and improve as an overall player.
On one hand, that he is playing fairly well overseas in professional basketball is a feat in itself, and if he decides to declare to enter the NBA draft, an NBA team could decide to use a flyer on him to take him late in the second round as a draft and stash pick. On the other, it is uncertain as to how much upside he may have, and due to his fairly average athletic gifts, he might not have nearly as much upside as Sengun. If things pan out for him though, Haltali in a favorable scenario could end up being an effective role player similar to former San Antonio Spurs’ big man, Jeff Ayres if he ends up making it to the NBA one day.
BC CSU Sibiu’s 6-2 Romanian guard, Lucas Tohatan is an, agile skilled shooter that can run a team on offense, but he struggled to consistently make shots or to limit his turnovers in this game. Tohatan excelled at drawing fouls when quickly driving to the hoop in transition. On one play after having done so, he was able to draw and make both of his free throws at the foul line. Also, he showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. Tohatan showed a decent first step the hoop, and he was able to change directions to score patiently on a strong drive to the basket. However, he generally struggled to score in traffic when he wouldn’t get foul calls, and he would sometimes be prone to rushing.
He also was able to make a quick, open spot-up three off the catch. However, he struggled to shoot on the move, as he struggled with his jump shot later on. Whenever he would run off the ball, he would end up missing quick corner threes afterwards. He also attempted a step-back three, but his mechanics were off as he kicked out his legs and didn’t really follow through, and he threw up an airball instead.
Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game. Tohatan is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can make drive and kick passes and entry passes to string together assists. However, he is not always accurate with his passes. He would sometimes throw inaccurate low passes that would get dropped and intercepted, and he also threw a loopy inbounds pass that got picked off. He also was called for a clear out foul when handling the ball to commit an offensive foul and a turnover another time.
Though Tohatan did not grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to leap up to get a defensive rebound, and he then quickly pushed the ball up the floor. However, he try to crash the offensive glass but would miss on those tries, which would cause him to be late to get back and woefully out of position defensively, and his team would promptly allow opponents to score on fast breaks the other way.
He also played adequate defense in this game. Tohatan is an active help defender that has good hands to get steals. He would catch errant passes thrown his way, and he also hustled back to poke a ball out of bounds to nearly force another turnover. He also fought through a screen to stay with his man to force his man to pass the ball. Another time, he contested a mid-range jumper to get a stop for his team. On the downside, he would struggle to defend opponents in one-on-one situations. He once missed on a steal attempt that caused his team to end up in a scramble situation. He also over-helped in the paint and didn’t stay with his man, as his team allowed his man to score on an open three-point shot. Another time, he tried to fight too hard over the top of the screen, but he ended up being called for a reach-in foul.
Overall, Lucas Tohatan is a skilled offensive player that can knock down shots and run a team at the point with the ball in his hands. On the other hand, he does not possess ideal size or physical tools for his position, and he will need to show that he can consistently score and make plays at higher levels. He will probably go undrafted this year, and it is uncertain if he will ever end up playing in the NBA.
In the best-case scenario, if Tohatan does make his way to the NBA, he could end up being a capable backup point guard that could be a table-setter and passable enough of a shooter at that level. Most likely, he will probably remain overseas for the duration of his professional basketball playing career, and he could carve out a solid career even if he does not end up making his way to the NBA one day.
Former UMBC guard, K.J. Johnson played well for BC CSU Sibiu in his team’s loss to Besiktas in the FIBA Europe Cup. He is a very athletic, high-flying point guard especially shined in the fourth quarter, and he made numerous impressive plays to help make it a respectable score for his team in a losing effort. Johnson would often intercept passes and poke balls away to throw down rivetingly magnetic dunks on the break, and he also ran the floor hard to score on a two-handed dunk in transition. He also showed that he can score on aggressive drives to the hoop. He also showed off some playmaking skills, and he was able to throw a nifty behind the back pass off the dribble to set up a scoring chance for a teammate another time. Overall, Johnson excelled as a scorer, facilitator, and defender in this game. He will need to improve his outside shot, but his ability to make hustle plays on both ends of the floor could allow him to climb up the ranks of international basketball.