After trading two-time NBA All-Star Nikola Vucevic in March, the Orlando Magic may have targeted a player they believe could potentially replace him in the lineup.
According to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, the Magic are thought to be interested in international prospect Alperen Sengun. Orlando holds the fifth and eighth overall picks in the first round, and could look to potentially select him at No. 8 on draft night.
The Magic are one of the few teams that will have Sengun in for a workout and are thought to be interested in the high-scoring Turkish star as a potential replacement for Nikola Vucevic, whom the team traded away at the deadline to acquire this selection among other assets.
The Magic had an opportunity to see Sengun up close on Wednesday after hosting a private workout with him. He has also worked out with other lottery teams, such as the Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs among others.
The 6-foot-10 forward is projected to be selected in the middle of the first round. He was named the 2020-21 Turkish BSL MVP after averaging 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals in 29 games with Besiktas last season.
Following his season, Sengun participated with Turkey in the Olympic qualifying tournament this month in Victoria, British Columbia. He averaged 11.3 points, six rebounds and two assists in three games as Turkey lost to Greece in the semifinals on July 3.
Sengun is widely considered one of the most versatile bigs in the draft this year with his ability to score in the paint and create for his teammates. He has proven to be a strong offensive player and projects to be able to score from all over the court.
Of course, drafting Sengun alone wouldn’t replace Vucevic in the lineup, and the comparison at this point may be unfair. However, Sengun is highly touted for his potential on offense and could fit in well with Orlando in a similar role that Vucevic had.
He is most commonly projected to be taken just outside of the lottery, but if the Magic feel strongly enough about his ability, taking him at No. 8 may not necessarily be a reach. With two high picks, they could afford to gamble some with the eighth pick.
Certainly, it will be curious to see if any more rumors emerge between the Magic and Sengun.
The NBA draft will take place at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 29.
2021 NBA Mock Draft: All 60 picks post-early entry deadline
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