The Oklahoma City Thunder were tied to Alperen Sengun throughout the predraft process in 20221. As a prospect, Sengun just screamed, “Thunder player!” according to Locked On Podcast Network’s Chad Ford. So, no one was surprised when Adam Silver announced the OKC Thunder selected the big man with the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
However, just moments later, Alprene Sengun was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for future draft picks. Those picks later were parlayed into a different trade to nab the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, netting the OKC Thunder Ousmane Dieng.
Alperen Sengun was thankful the OKC Thunder did not draft him, citing how “boring” Oklahoma is.
Alperen Sengun is in the midst of a breakout season. With a coaching staff that is smart enough to utilize him properly, Sengun has taken off through his first 14 games. During the 2023-24 campaign, he is averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and 1.6 STOCKS per game.
The Houston Rockets starting big man is also shooting 56 percent from the floor, 32 percent from beyond the arc, and just 63 percent at the line. Despite the shooting splits, Sengun’s impact on the Rockets has been high, a massive part in their turnaround.
From being one of the worst teams in the NBA last season, the Houston Rockets currently own an 8-6 record, which places them eighth in the Western Conference.
Alperen Sengun was on Paul George’s Podcast “Podcast P” to discuss a variety of topics from his basketball career, including the trade from Oklahoma City to Houston.
“No, I didn’t know [I was going to be traded] actually. It was like everyone is talking about [the] draft who’s going to go this pick, this pick.
I expected that I was going to go before 10. It was like Orlando, Sacramento, eight, nine. We passed that, and they said Washington and Charlotte was other teams, but I knew they [are] not going to pick me because I did not work out with them.
I didn’t even work out with Houston, actually. My agent was telling me all the time they calling me for you, they want to learn what you do, they calling everybody, you know?
I was getting bored because I was getting nervous because they not gonna pick me, you know. I’m going high pick, I didn’t want that.
Actually, I didn’t want to go to OKC that much. How I can say my OKC workout was like maybe somewhat my worst workout since I came here. It was really so hard. They say you go to OKC but my agent was in my table saying you going to go to OKC but they going to trade you in Houston.
I don’t even know anything about Houston because I didn’t even talk to them. But they were telling me OKC so boring, I hope you not going there. When they told me you going to Houston, I was a little happy because something to do over there, people said. I was lucky, a lot of Turkish people were there too, which has helped me a lot.”
While Oklahoma City being boring is a constant knock on the franchise, and there is a lack of nightlife for players, it actually is not the most interesting thing Sengun said.
To openly admit how the OKC Thunder workout was not only his worst but also the hardest workout he was put through was an interesting revelation. This is not the first time players have mentioned key details from their predraft workout with Oklahoma City.
Ultimately, this worked out for all parties involved. The OKC Thunder used those picks to get a player they have monitored for a long time, and it laid the foundation to add Chet Holmgren to the mix seamlessly.
While Typically, really good players can figure it out, so I had no question that if forced to, Sengun and Holmgren could have made it work sometimes guys just do not mesh well. With the offensive hud Sengun needs to be to thrive and the benefit Holmgren provides playing fast, those would be quite the opposite, with a steep learning curve for each.