This season has so far been a break-out year for the Turkish power forward/center Furkan Aldemir. The 2m07 tall player, who recently even got votes for being among the best international player not in the NBA by the General Manager of the American league, is averaging this season 6.8ppg, 4.8rpg and 0.4bpg in the Euroleague. Let’s analyze his game a bit deeper as he looks to be one of the European prospects that is the most highly regarded at the upcoming NBA Draft.
Aldemir plays nearly only close to the rim or Pick and Roll situations right now. He got used by his team mates for a low post situation where he showed a nice move with his back to the basket. He banged a bit on his defender to come closer to the basket and faked to go for a right handed jump hook. He used the little hesitation of the defender to make a front turn and finish on the left handed lay up. Aldemir can also score with a jump hook score after a dribble from the top of the basket. In another situation, the 1991 born inside player received a possession with his back to the basket where he started going over his right hand but made a turn to the baseline to finish on the left handed jump hook.
Aldemir mainly tries to finish on this kind of jump hooks as he had some more that he missed though. His physical strength that helped him to dominate on the youth level is matched in the Euroleague. This helps him though to not be overpowered in the low post. He does a good job on hedging situations as his lateral speed is good for a 2m07 tall. With his arms up high, he deflects some of the passes out of these situations and helps him to be very effective on recovering his initial defensive matchup. When defending in the low post, he tries to avoid reaching or blocking fouls but he sometimes gets called for moving a bit too late in order to push his opposition into a bad situation.
The biggest strength of Aldemir is his rebounding presence. Even if he is not boxing out perfectly every time and often looking too much for the ball instead of his opponent, he has an excellent feel for grabbing the ball on the boards. He goes up high with two hands and protects the ball well. After having caught the ball, he might hold it a bit too long instead of playing the quick outlet pass which puts him in situations risking a turnover when being doubled. His presence on the offensive glass is a lot more important than on the defensive end as underline not only his pure numbers but also his team rebounding percentages (19.1% offs rebounds vs. 12.0% def. rebounds in the Euroleague). He can come up with quick jumps and tips to keep the ball alive and offer second chances for his team.
Aldemir has still a lot of parts in his game where has to progress. So far, he has no outside game at all. We do not speak about a lacking jump shot around the paint but he feels not very comfortable when getting the ball out of position. He showed some problems to execute well a hand off situation where the guard did not pick up the ball and he had to play the dribble entry from outside. In the paint, his shooting touch is looking good but it would help him if he could come up with a bit more explosiveness on his finishes as he often prefers the layup to the dunk when he has a defender in front of him.
With the success of players like Omer Asik in the NBA, Aldemir is of course a target because of his size and rebounding presence. He has another year to become automatically eligible but it would not be a surprise to see him enter the NBA Draft already this season. His progress margin is there which gives him a status of a long-term prospect when adding a mid-range jump shot. His weaknesses in ball-handling will probably prevent him to become a face-up forward one day but as a pure inside role player, Furkan Aldemir has a future on the highest level in the next years.