In the 2021 NBA Draft, Evan Mobley is clearly the best center in the entire class. The Oklahoma City Thunder have a glaring need at center, but may not get the opportunity to select Mobley, as he’s expected to get taken in the top-three.
However, they’ve got a real shot at taking the second-best center in the class, who fits their international mold. Alperen Sengun is projected to be taken in the late lottery, and could be worth a look by OKC depending on where their picks fall.
If they end up with the No. 8 overall pick, which is the lowest their own pick could land, the Thunder could reach for Sengun, although it may be too early to select him with who could be left on the board.
On the flip side, I’d they end up with Miami’s pick at No. 18, Sengun will likely no longer be available. However, OKC has a ton of assets they could use to move up or back and take Sengun somewhere between 8th and 17th overall.
The second-best center in this class, he is still just 18 years, which is something Thunder GM Sam Presti has always admired. Young international players can always be a risk, but have recently proven to pay off in many circumstances.
While Sengun plays like an old school big and doesn’t have much of a shooting touch yet, he’s extremely crafty in the paint. Although he doesn’t have the jump shot many NBA executives like, Sengun has the passing and playmaking ability that could allow teams to run their offense through him.
His current game looks similar to Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter as of today, but Sengun has a ton of time left to develop into a modern NBA center.
If the OKC Thunder are truly going to take their time with the rebuild, perhaps an extremely young center project like Alperen Sengun should be a prospect to look into.
Once they trade Al Horford, the Thunder won’t have a starting-caliber center on the roster.