Omer Yurtseven sat out the 2018-2019 season after transferring to Georgetown from NC State, and despite an ankle injury that effectively ended his season on Feb. 8, he still posted impressive per-36 numbers in his senior season as a Hoya.
Yurtseven has a bevy of international and collegiate playing experience at 22 years old. Couple that with his size and touch, and it starts to make sense why NBA teams have him on their second-round radar.
Height: 7’ 0”
Wingspan: 7’ 1” (estimated)
Weight: 260 pounds
Strengths: 7-footer with passing skill, floor-spacing, rebounding
In yesterday’s interview, Yurtseven said that he views himself as a “skilled big.” That is an extremely accurate assessment. He didn’t get to flash his shooting range as much last year because Georgetown relied on him as an interior presence (3-for-14 3PT), but he shot 23-for-47 from beyond the arc over two seasons with the Wolfpack and is a career 69.3 percent (75.3 percent at Georgetown) free-throw shooter. Yurtseven has a developed low-post game, an advanced mid-range game (he has a nice turn-around jumper) for a modern big, and at least some floor-spacing potential. He’s a surprisingly good catch-and-shoot player off of movement, too, as shown in the clip below. He should be a solid inside-out scorer once he gets his feet under him in the NBA.
Not sure how many other guys 6'11+ in the draft could hit this moving jumper as easily as Omer Yurtseven pic.twitter.com/cZBhWCdJdw— Mavs Draft (@MavsDraft) September 28, 2020
As we watch the NBA playoffs, it’s evident how important it is for teams to have a big man that can participate in an offensive system rather than just finish plays and clean up missed shots. Yurtseven finished his college career with 72 assists and 125 turnovers, but he showed plenty of flashes where he hit an off-ball cutter with a timely pass from the elbow or dunker spot. College offenses basically never feature a center as a main playmaker, so the turnovers aren’t as much of an issue when he’s shown ability to facilitate, too.
Being seven feet tall and 260 pounds, Yurtseven is naturally a good rebounder. He gathered 14.4 rebounds per-40 last season with a 19.7 rebounding percentage. He has the strength that is required of NBA big men to battle in the paint, but he could stand to use his body to position himself a bit better. Still, his size and feel for how the ball is going to come off the rim make him a high-level rebounder.
Question marks: lateral quickness, defense, injury history
Another thing that Yurtseven mentioned in the interview from yesterday; his lateral quickness is something that NBA scouts have been questioning for some time. There are very few 7-footers with natural quickness, especially laterally. Yurtseven has made it a point of focus to become quicker during the pre-Draft process, which is undeniably a good start, but whether it improves enough for him to be able to stay on the floor defensively remains to be seen.
A player’s lateral quickness shows itself, for better or worse, on the defensive end. Yurtseven struggles to defend in space at times, especially against smaller bigs. He had an ankle injury that limited him to just two appearances between Feb. 8 and the end of the season; perhaps getting healthy, combined with his conditioning work, will alleviate some of the concerns regarding his ability to stay in front of the ball.
Yurtseven is not without his flaws, but he’s easily worth a draft pick. There just aren’t a lot of 7-footers with the skill and shooting touch that he possesses, so if he can stay on the floor defensively, he should be able to carve out a nice role as a role-playing center than can function as the hub of a second-unit offense. We all know how badly Charlotte needs an infusion of young talent in the middle, and Yurtseven provides that with an interesting skillset to build off of. He’s viewed as a late second-round prospect that has a chance to go undrafted, so the Hornets will have a solid chance to scoop him up with the 56th pick.