Over the last few weeks, one name has been consistently linked to the Sacramento Kings and the ninth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft: Franz Wagner. As a team desperate to make the playoffs next season, Sacramento's reported interest in Wagner has made sense for those familiar with the team's needs. The Michigan forward will likely be ready to contribute on day one, rather than having to wait years for his skill set to develop, and his combination of size, defense, and passing would fill many holes for a Kings roster severely lacking in defense-first attitudes. Wagner to Sacramento felt relatively locked up as recently as mid-July.
And yet, over the last few days, another name has become more and more attached to Sacramento through a variety of media outlets: Alperen ÅengÃ¼n. Two weeks ago, outside of a workout that was reported and somewhat forgotten by everyone, no one had ÅengÃ¼n heading to the Kings. A week ago, only Kevin O'Connor of the Ringer mocked the Turkish forward to Sacramento, but the phrasing regarding the selection was more around ÅengÃ¼n's potential as a player, rather than specific interest from Sacramento's perspective.
The first sign of a potential change came from Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. On July 22nd, he forecasted Franz Wagner to the Kings without a single mention of ÅengÃ¼n, or any other player, as a potential option. It seemed as if Sacramento was locked in on Franz. On the 27th, Woo completely changed his tune, switching from Wagner to ÅengÃ¼n:
The Kings have drawn a good deal of interest in these picks, but have been constantly linked to ÅengÃ¼n, whose impressive production in Turkey will be particularly appealing to their analytics-driven front office, with his combo of youth and counting stats likely to project well. Sacramento has also been linked to Franz Wagner, but is viewed as willing to think outside the box a bit.
A similar adjustment can be found in Sam Vecenie's work with The Athletic. On the 22nd, Vecenie, perhaps the most well-respected draft guru out there, projected Wagner to the Kings, while mentioning that Sacramento is focused on defense, analytics, and picking up a wing or a combo forward in the upcoming draft. Once again, no mention of ÅengÃ¼n. Fast forward a week, and while Vecenie remains committed to Wagner as the selection, ÅengÃ¼n's name popped up for the first time in any of his Sacramento-based selections:
The other name that has come up most often here as being a possible selection is Sengun.
Finally, there was the recent change by the folks down at ESPN. Just like every other well-reputed mock draft site, ESPN has consistently projected Franz Wagner to the Kings, although there has been a little bit more movement on their board than with some others. However, in their final mock draft, ESPN followed suit and projected Alperen ÅengÃ¼n to the Kings, as Franz Wagner was already selected. And even though Wagner was gone, it's the phrasing in ÅengÃ¼n's selection that makes things interesting:
The Kings were said to be fans of Franz Wagner, who is off the board in this scenario, as well as Sengun, who is still available and reportedly had an outstanding workout in their building.
As always when it comes to draft season, every report must be taken with a truckload of salt. Mock drafters occasionally change things up just to keep things from feeling stale, while a team in Sacramento's position, a team that may prefer to trade the pick, is always obliged to show interest in the most desired players to get the most bang for their buck.
And yet, all of that being said, the Sacramento-ÅengÃ¼n shift is interesting to watch as every outlet switched at almost the exact same time, with similar wording. Either the Kings truly do have interest in the high-ceiling, high-risk Turkish big man, or they're throwing up a smokescreen to hopefully take advantage of a team desperate for ÅengÃ¼n's services. In just a few hours, we'll get to find out what was very real and what was nothing more than a clever feint.
Not sure we need another guy who thrives on offense, but can’t defend.
I heard Vecenie mention how offensive players in the NBA are so damn good that you have to be a top 10 defense to even remotely be able to stop them from scoring. Not that you shouldn’t try to build a solid defense, just that it needs to be on such an elite level to make a huge difference. Maybe the offense should be so over the top that the defense does not need to matter as much? I don’t know, just a different way of looking at things and building a team.
Sounds like this has some merit, especially when viewed in a vacuum, but a bit laughable when you consider that the Kings D this last seasonmwas historically bad.
Kings D was laughable last year. They didn’t even try most nights.
And they were quite good on O and got 31 wins? I know where I would focus on for improvement. But what do I know? I have never broken a clipboard.
I am not advocating that they forget defense altogether. They obviously need to get better on that end. Not having Hield and Bagley playing minutes will more than likely make the defense better.
I hear that a lot. I think that is wishful thinking, and will in itself not make a significant difference.
This team’s defensive woes are not that easily solved.
There was that elbow at Ervin Johnson though.
You remember when Dutch Boy Paints was sponsoring the NBA and had the Dutch Boy in the paint highlight? I loved those.
Utterly off-topic, but I watched Tim’s Vermeer a while back and thought it was fascinating and pretty convincing, while taking nothing away from the work. I love Vermeer’s paintings, and was lucky enough to see a few at the Rijksmuesum a few years ago.
The law of American tourism that says that because you’re the only Dutch person I “know,” I must pass Dutch things that interest me by you, preferably in a loud voice, adding stereotypes and condescension whenever possible.
I’m fine with that, just pissed that I didn’t get to drink a shake with you at the Amsterdam McDonalds.
Next time, Rik, and then we can go to one of the 38 steak places in the Leidseplein! 😉
Hah! The best steak place (and spare ribs) is in the Kerkstraat.
I’m going to need a name of this legendary steak place! If it’s Argentine, I will have high expectations for their chimichurri!
You gave me Tempo Doeloe, Sama Sebo and Blauw rijstaffel places (which I haven’t been back to visit and try) but rijstaffel was my favorite meal in Europe.
Having an unstoppable offense will get you into the postseason, but you need an elite defense to contend for a championship. When shots aren’t falling — which inevitably happens to every team — you need to be able to get stops.
We saw this from both Milwaukie and Phoenix this last postseason, and then we ultimately saw Milwaukie’s unmatched defensive versatility cause Phoenix’s “everyone eats” offense to compromise and, ultimately, fall just short.
The Suns were also in the finals, so I’m not sure it’s quite fair to preach that their style of basketball didn’t work. Really, it took a superhuman performance from Giannis, who is an MVP to win.
And I think the Suns are a good example of how team defense and not over-thinking this too early helps. Ayton was supposed to be a bad defender. Booker has always been a bad defender. Bridges was emerging into their lockdown wing and Crowder has always been a plus defender, but not a stopper.
There really wasn’t anyone at the start of the season who thought a team starting CP3, Booker, Bridges, Crowder, and Ayton with Payne and Saric as their top subs would be a top 10 defense and even better in the playoffs (believe top 2 playoff defense).
This isn’t that different than our 2002 Kings who started Bibby, Christie, Peja, Webber, and Vlade and had a top 6 defense. But more through playing grea team defense and having a couple of very good defensive players in Christie and Keon Clark off the bench as opposed to having an elite 5 man defensive roster.
That’s just a quality comment all around. Nicely done.
I always go back to the very obvious maxim: the goal in basketball is to score more points than your opponent
This can be by improving your offense or improving your defense. And it helps to grab high end talent who can make a big impact above replacement level in one or both of those areas.
In 2001, when we acquired Mike Bibby, a lot of pundits and [redacted] fans sneered and said that move didn’t help our defense and he can’ guard Shaq who was dominant when we were swept out of the 2001 playoffs by the [redacted]. Well, we did significantly better against them in 2002 because Bibby gave us a big competitive advantage at PG and unlocked another level of our offense.
So yes, I want to address our defense as much as the next person. And if you have two players in the same draft tier and one is an ace defender, I have no issue with anyone preferring another option to Sengun. Shoot, I will also be thrilled with Moody or Wagner, a someone who has Sengun above them.
But at the end of the day, our team would benefit significantly from a multi-talented offensive force who can (after 1-2 years) post, face up, shoot, pass, and run the P&R. Our half court offense last year was mediocre at best. Having a dynamic half court scorer who gives us a front court presense to both post against some defenders and to stop the opposing team from playing small ball to try to counter our perimeter speed is important. Adding a big man who can shoot and spread the floor is important (Bjelica was one of our top impact metrics bigs, despite being a mediocre player because he added that dimension). Adding another passer to set up easy shots is important.
And more than anything, we have two dynamic dribbling and playmaking guards and look at the options we have given them to run the P&R (pick and roll) which is one of the most important offensive plays in basketball:
Pick and Roll skillset of big men who have played with Fox
WCS: Roll man (solid), Pop man (meh), Passing (bad), screens (bad)
Randolph: Roll man (bad), Pop man (Solid), Passing (ok), screens (great)
Skal: Roll man (bad), Pop man (meh), Passing (bad), screens (bad)
Papa G: Roll man (lol), Pop man (lol), Passing (lol), screens (ok)
Koufos: Roll man (solid), Pop man (bad), Passing (bad), screens (good)
Bagley: Roll man (solid), Pop man (meh), Passing (bad), screens (meh)
Bjelica: Roll man (bad), Pop man (good), Passing (solid), screens (bad)
Dedmon: Roll man (bad*), Pop man (bad*), Passing (bad), screens (solid)
Holmes: Roll man (great), Pop man (bad), Passing (meh), screens (good)
Whiteside: Roll man (good), Pop man (bad), Passing (bad), screens (solid)
* Maybe better for career, but not Dedmon’s short stint in Sac
Most of those options are terrible and even the best options were decently easy to defend because they are limited. Holmes sets a good screen to help free the ball handler and is a great roll man, but he has no ability to pop and isn’t a great passer, so the defense just needs to try to clog the lane and play Fox appropriately. Bjelica could pop and was a good passer if the D was off balance and he drove, but was a mediocre screener and had no ability to role, so again limited impact and easyish to defend.
About 24% of our half court plays last year (via NBA.com) were pick and rolls and yet we ran them in a very predictable, easy to defend manner. Now imagine, we have a player like Sengun who is good to great at all four of those skills (again, in 1-2 years), now the defense gets hit with a hard screen freeing Fox or Hali, the opposing big and wing defender are trying to figure out if Sengun is rolling or popping, while trying to contain Fox or Hali, and if any help comes over after a pass to Sengun he is snapping the ball over to a wide open Barnes or Holmes. That is extremely dangerous and greatly ups our offensive ceiling.
I am fine having that and then putting two elite defender around our core and working on our team defense.
Well thought out and excellent points and data. Here here
I’m kind of skeptical after the whole Papa G fiasco. If you are going international, I think Giddey is the far better choice for today’s NBA
PapaG had nothing in common with Sengun aside from being a Euro big. Their levels and styles of production (or lack of production in PapaG’s case) were completely different. I don’t necessarily disagree with taking Giddey over Sengun, but PapaG shouldn’t have anything to do with the equation.
Papa G was not on anyone’s radar in the Lottery or the 1st round until a day or two before the draft. Sengun has easily been more scouted and hyped over the past 6-12 months, and had a way better career in Europe.
I’m saying low post scorer, slow footed big man is the comp
Sengun and PapaG have nothing in common. That’s something the real Napear would say, no not me, I’m talking about the real peaches.
I am the real Grant Napear. So please change your screen name. Also, I’m super hot and sexy.
You must have just fallen out of bed, Grant because that’s the least yelling I’ve ever heard from you.
Have you seen the video on Sengun? He’s not exactly super slow!
Can he play small forward?
This is how everyone pictures Euro players to this day. Franz Wagner would be generating a lot more excitement if his name didn’t make him sound like a piano composer.
(Side note: If Wagner becomes a King, I vote to make his nickname “The Piano Man.” He composes sweet music on the floor, and his name is just classical as heck.)
Franz Wagner, yep he is from Austria. Well rounded game, good BBIQ, room to grow into NBA game.
Agree. Sengun has an actual motor that runs pretty hot. I think if we retain Holmes he may be able to get him to where he at least needs to be on defense even if he doesn’t have the fastest feet.
Let’s see what NBA Draft.net said about Papa G…
Great size and length for his position ¦ He is already an intimidating force on both ends of the floor ¦ Rim Protector ¦ Good athlete for a player his size ¦ Runs the floor well ¦ Very a good vertical leap ¦ Impressive agility and coordination for a big man ¦ He is good in pick and roll situations ¦ Has good hands and makes difficult catches in traffic and on the move ¦ Active rebounder, especially on the offensive glass ¦ Over time has developed some post moves ¦ Can turn from either shoulder ¦ Can finish with both hands ¦ Solid Midrange game, can shoot from 15 feet ¦ Better passer than most people think ¦ Possesses high basketball I.Q.
NBA Draft.net isn’t a useful source.
Nobody on this board has seen more than a five minute highlight reel on this kid. It’s all hype. I think he can be good. He might be. I think he even might be worth the pick. I just think Giddey fits more into current NBA scheme.
You might be 100% correct on that…but continuing to compare him to Papa G is just lazy and inaccurate.
You can give all the scouting blurbs you want, but one of those two won the Turkish League MVP and averaged 19/10 and the other averaged 10 minutes, 5 pts and 2 boards in the Greek League.
One of these is not like the other, even if the same result occurs in the NBA.
I’d be willing to say a number of people here have likely seen more than a five minute highlight reel. Personally, I’ve seen about 4-5 complete games, along with a number of single game highlight reels and various in-person scouting reports.
Yeah, don’t think anyone is watching those games but you and a few diehards. Have you watched Giddey?
I have. Though a bit less than Sengun. Giddey is fun to watch. One of those guys that plays at his own pace. I think what a lot of people miss in his highlight reels is how much of a floor general he is. He’s constantly directing traffic. That said, his shot IMO, is a long way from being a weapon.
I love having multiple playmakers to deploy. Haliburton and Giddey would guarantee at least one on the court and maybe both all game.
I have actually watched many scouting reports, game highlights, and partial games that he has played. The skills are real, and he was on the radar of the NBA in the U18s. The knock on him was his body. He has improved on that end, and continued to improve his game during the season. Papa G had none of that, and averaged 10 minutes or less on his Euro teams before being drafted by Vlade. The comparison is laughable.
My comparison is drafting a low post player with questionable agility vs. A playmaking swing like Giddey.
For what it’s worth, I think Sengun’s shot is going to be good and his role is going to look more like Sabonis than Vucevic. Less posting up. More playmaking from the elbow and on the short roll.
For what it’s worth, I think Sengun’s shot is going to be good and his role is going to look more like Sabonis than Vucevic. Less posting up. More playmaking from the elbow and on the short roll. Though his shooting will be more like Vucevic, IMO.
They never watched PapaG play. It was obvious in the first few minutes of his first summer league game that he was utterly unskilled.
The same could be said for those who don’t like Franz Wagner because his brother hasn’t been very good.
Absolutely. Mo shouldn’t be part of the equation.
I’m now to the conclusion that if the Kings keep their #9, they will pick one of Sengun, Wagner or Moody. I have a pretty good feeling, one, if not all will be there at #9.
We will find out soon enough but if our GM plays it right, and retain his moniker after tonight, he takes Kai Jones. That is the genius move. (Ziaire and Sengun are also acceptable).
And it is genius or at least smart to try to get media to link names to your team you have no intention of taking. That prevents teams from jump ahead and taking your guy.
If you know how smooth and pragmatic and cunning GMs operate you know that the player associated with their draft position is the player they are least inclined to take.
First there was Wagner, and some sort of bogus “soft promise” the national media could not even confirm but lazily ran with in unison across 4-5 mocks for 3-4 weeks.
Jonathon Givony couldnt say if SAC worked out Wagner, then admitted if a promise had truly been made, the player would stop working out for other teams.
And when our local boys talk up Wagner, there is no mention he’s NOT on Tony’s List of 35 players coming to SAC! Why?!? That is being intellectually disengenuous, dishonesty by ommission.
You see the Kings are SO high on House Plant, we did not even need to bring him to SAC to workout, is that what we are to believe!?!
Or, maybe he came and went without being discovered, unlike 35 other prospects. How feasible is that???
Then there was Moody (Ham), now there is Sengun. I like Sengun but the fit with Kai Jones, Ty and Fox is superior, perhaps vastly so.
If the name that popped up this morning was Kai instead of Sengun, I would take that as disappointing. I want and sort of expect the rest of the league and mockers to be shocked!
That means our GM did his job of concealing his intentions.
Of course the names mentioned could prove prescient. We are dealing with probabilities. And in term of probabilities, I contend leaked names are more likely false leads than proper ones. It is just the way the game is played by smart participants.
The draft is analogous to poker, and when you look at the countenance of the best player, you have no idea if they are holding a full house or pair of 2s.
He would be an excellent ÅengÃ¼n into the post-Vlade era.
I think it’s likely one or more of these five will be there at #9:
and that’s the order I’d take them.
Kuminga > Sengun > Moody > Bouknight > Ziaire Williams > Wagner
Why rank Wagner so low ?
Decent size, shooting, good BBIQ
I’m not impressed with his athleticism or his shooting. I think his defensive upside is being oversold. That said, I think his passing is being undersold.
Ehh for some reason I’m just not a fan of his game. And I think #9 is too high for him tbh. As per Vlade “I’m just going with my gut”
If Kuminga is there I think you have to take him. The Kings need another homerun pick. I get the bust potential, but that’s a risk a small market team has to take.
Heard a lot of draft “gurus” mention conversations with front office people and they don’t seems to have much comment on Kuminga or much to point to about his skill in the NBA. Maybe all smoke screen to devalue him, hard to tell
Watch the Kings get him at 22.
Like Skal ?
Projected top 14 ?
but then dropped to 28th ?
I mean, it almost certainly isn’t going to happen, but draft day can get a little crazy.
Sengun at #9 and Zaire at #22 if the Buddy trade goes through. That’d be quite the haul.
I could get behind that.
My bet is if we get the 22nd pick from the Lakers, the selection would be Sengun at #9, Trey Murphy at 22
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Murphy go earlier than expected. He feels like the kind of guy some team unexpectedly takes in the teens.
Agree with this. With the success of Mikal Bridges and the trend going towards long, 3 and D wings, TMIII will probably go earlier than even he thought.
Agree. Based on our workouts, I wouldn’t be surprised if 22 was either Butler or Springer.
Would be thrilled with a gamble on Garuba, Williams, Jalen Johnson, etc. if any of them are still available. But if we do get Kuzma as a SF/PF and draft Sengun as a PF/C, then while we should still draft BPA at 22, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of the guards we looked at in that tier.
I wouldn’t be surprised either. Though there are other guards I’d take over those guys if I’m looking specifically at guards (Mann, Preston, Primo, Hyland, etc). Which I wouldn’t likely be since I’d rather load up on versatile wings (Edwards, Jones, etc.).
Yeah, agree, I’d be thrilled with one of the wings depending on how is there. Though, unless our FO is in love with a very specific wing like Edwards, we could probably get one from that batch at 39.
Maybe. It dries up a bit after Jones. I think at 39 I’m more likely just to look for the player I think has the biggest upside regardless of position. There are a lot of guys mocked after 39 I’d be interested in. So many I’d seriously consider buying another 2nd or two. Guys like:
(All guys going 39 or later in Vecenie’s most recent mock)
Prospects for #39:
Prospects for purchasing another 2nd:
Yeah, if we get two solid picks in the first round. I like the idea of a 2nd round lottery ticket. Someone like Todd could be interesting if he is still there.
Do you not like TJ Thor, or do you expect him to be gone already?
I like him okay. He could be on these lists, but in the source I’m using for reference, he goes higher.
Yeah, I can see the guys in both your lists having certain demonstrable skills other than draft measurables with some highlight flashes.
Works for me, but Kai Jones would be the better pick at #9.
Sacramento already drafted the “Michael Jordan” of Turkey … why not the “Bill Russell” of Turkey?
Just my own personal preference, but I would much rather they take a wing than a big. That goes double for bigs who can’t defend the perimeter or the protect the rim. Lets say his ceiling is Nikola Vucevic which I have heard as a comp for him a few times. Vuc is a solid player and has made a couple all star teams but his team’s have always peaked as back-end play off teams in the East. I just think the roster construction needed in order to make that player fit into a championship contending type of team is really tricky. I’ll take Wagner, Moody or Giddey over Sengun because unless he’s a truly elite offensive engine like Jokic, I don’t know how much his archetype impacts winning.
That’s reasonable. My thoughts are I understand swinging for the upside for Sengun as we have two dynamic guards in Fox and Haliburton that should play well with his game. Vucevic did not have a terrific group of guards to play with and that put a low ceiling on his teams success.
We’ll see how Vucevic does in Chicago for a full season but the early results from last year were… not promising. I just think there is a ceiling on a big that needs the ball a lot to be effective unless they’re a freak (Giannis, Davis type guys) or such an overwhelming offensive force and play maker that they can completely carry an offense against anybody (Jokic).
Not good? The Bulls were 19-24 at the time of the trade and then had Zach Lavine miss a multiple weeks in COVID protocols before going 8-6 at the end of the season and 4-1 in the games both Vuc and LaVine played before Vuc and LaVine were shut down for the last two games.
Now, end of season performances don’t always carry over to the next season as us Kings fans should know all too well. But clearly they were playing a lot better even having barely played together.
Yeah I guess I just don’t really buy it. I also don’t buy that they’ll be all that good next year either. It’s certainly not all Vucevic’s fault but I just don’t believe an offense only center like Vuc can be your offensive focal point. Then, if they can’t be an offensive focal point, what’s the point? How effective is Sengun going to be if he’s the second or third option on offense and doesn’t provide anything on defense? If there’s an example of a player with that skill set leading a team to anything other than the back end of the playoffs, other than Jokic, I just don’t see it. I mean look at Karl Anthony Towns. He’s a fantastic offensive player but doesn’t play a ton of defense and his teams are consistently terrible. Not all his fault obviously and he’s a very good player but they have not been able to create a winning team around him. Maybe that has more to do with mindset but something clearly isn’t working there.
No issue with preferring a wing, I get the logic, but this seems a little unfair:
He got to 42-40 as the best player on a team with DJ Augustine, Even Fournier, Aaron Gordon, and Isaac – when Gordon and Isaac were both pretty young and ineffective.
He was also the #1 option on the team, when I think most of us would agree that Vuc or anyone we draft at #9 should be a secondary option at best (maybe tertiary for Wagner or potentially Moody depending on his development).
I mean, I love Moody and people have compared him to Mikal Bridges who would be a fantastic outcome for our franchise and I would do cartwheels if he became a duplicate player. But if Bridges was the #1 option or even the more ambiguous “best player” on an NBA team, do you think that team would win 42 games? They might not win 20.
Doesn’t mean that role isn’t extremely valuable and I am not throwing shade at Bridges or Moody, just saying that judging Vuc or any player like him based on Vuc having to try to play the LeBron, Giannis, Jokic, or Embiid role when that’s not his optimal NBA role really isn’t fair.
I agree that isn’t his optimal role but then what is his optimal role? Or what is a player like that’s optimal role? Unless he’s surrounded by Lebron or other high level stars I don’t know what the role really is. Vucevic is good because he’s an efficient offensive player at relatively high volume. So if you take away the volume then what exactly is he doing for you? Sure, he may still be efficient in a smaller role but is he actually helping you win? I guess I just don’t see it. What if Sengun is a better Jahlil Okafor? What is that really getting you? That’s sort of what I see in him. To be fair to him, his passing and motor are a lot better and that’s definitely a plus. I think he’s got a shot because of his motor but I just don’t like the player archetype.
If mobley is there at 4, what do you think it would take for the kings to move up?
For Masai Uriji to have a stroke?
I wish Mobley could go to Toronto just so he could have the best chance to reach his potential.
OT: Should the Kings consider Cam the #20 for the #9?