6 Spurs Thoughts After Alperen Sengun Bodies Zach Collins with a Vicious Dunk

While the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Houston Rockets to snap their 11-game losing skid, the most memorable play of the game was undoubtedly Alperen Sengun’s dunk that sent Zach Collins to the ground and caused his head to bounce off the court. Sengun went coast-to-coast before elevating and causing Collins’ life to flash before his very eyes.

The Spurs reacted to the dunk by checking to make sure Collins was still in one piece, while the Rockets struggled to comprehend what they were seeing on the video screens that were replaying the massacre.

Thankfully for us Spurs fans, the dunk was actually waved off due to an offensive foul being called on Sengun. Without that call, this nastiness would have been a Dunk of the Year candidate alongside Jeremy Sochan’s hellacious dunk from earlier in the season.

That said, this murderous slam was a harsh reminder that the Spurs decided to not select Sengun in the 2021 NBA Draft. Instead, San Antonio selected Joshua Primo out of Alabama primarily due to his supposed strong character and innate leadership skills. Yeah, no, that didn’t work out well at all.

After Sengun nearly put Collins in a body bag, let’s take a few moments to consider how we got to this moment.

1) At the time of the draft, Sengun was the player the vast majority of Spurs fans wanted their team to pick. Draft experts also saw the Spurs as a likely destination for Sengun. In fact, many thought that there was no way that Sengun was drop past the Spurs at 12. As it turned out, he went 16th and ended up with San Antonio’s in-state rivals.

In retrospect, the Spurs should have obviously drafted Sengun before Primo. That’s not even debatable. Sengun is a very productive big man and Primo was waived by the Spurs in record time.

To make matters even more embarrassing for the Spurs, Primo turned out to not even be the best prospect out of Alabama. Herbert Jones, who went 34th to the New Orleans Pelicans, was better than Primo from Day 1.

How did the Spurs get that pick so wrong? Ouch.

2) Would Sengun have been the best possible pick at 12? Time will tell. It’s definitely possible. The 20-year-old native of Turkey is averaging 14.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in only 26.8 minutes per game. He’s a smart, crafty offensive player who utilizes masterful footwork and surprising athleticism (just ask Collins) to score around the rim. For such a young big, he’s already a high-quality passer.

3) Despite his impressive numbers and drool-worthy highlights, there are still some question marks with Sengun. He turns the ball over a ton and his three-point shooting (4-for-21 on the season) is worse than advertised coming out of Turkey.

On defense, Sengun has a lot of issues at this point of his development. For evidence, just look at how Tre Jones took advantage of him on his way to a career-high 26 points tonight.

If Sengun doesn’t improve on defense, it’s questionable whether he can be a full-time starter on a successful NBA team.

4) Was that an offensive foul on Sengun? The referee called it an offensive foul live. The Rockets challenged the call and it was upheld. Honestly, though, it could have gone either way. Sengun had his arm out as he flew through the air but he only extended it a little bit. Typically, on a highlight-reel play like this one, that call isn’t made.

As it turned out, Collins’ head didn’t dribble off the hardwood in vain — which I’m sure he’ll be happy about once he remembers who he is and what sport he plays for living.

5) Speaking of Collins, he might need to add some weight if he’s going to play center full-time. This isn’t the first time this season he’s hit the floor following a midair collision. In a similar play earlier in the season, Collins went up to block a Zion Williamson shot and ended missing multiple games due to being in concussion protocols.

Back before Collins missed multiple seasons due to injuries, he played power forward. But in his time away from the court, the NBA miniaturized and he found himself playing center upon his return. Right now, he’s having a difficult time holding his ground in the middle. A few more pounds of muscle probably wouldn’t hurt in that regard.

6) How long will Spurs fans view Sengun as the one who got away? Maybe forever. It’s actually a very similar story to Luis Scola. The Spurs nearly had a talented big man in their grasps but somehow fumbled away the opportunity and he ended up in Houston. San Antonians still talk about what would have happened if they had kept Scola.

Fifteen years from now, Spurs fans may be asking similar questions about Sengun. His memorable dunk on Collins tonight surely won’t help Spurs fans forget about the pick that wasn’t made in the 2021 draft.