We recently got information that one of the Turkish BSL’s and Anadolu Efes’ top young talents Yigitcan Saybir declared that he will be entering the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is Alex’s take on the talent.
Video Breakdown: based on the last 30 games played
Yiğitcan Saybir NBA Draft Entry Scouting Report
By: Alex Brown @AhbAnalytics
2020 Draft Age: 21 years
Measurements: Listed between 6’6 and 6’8, most likely 6’7. 200 lbs. Wingspan N/A
Background: Special thanks to my friend Kuzey Kılıç (@KuzeyKG) for the insight into Saybir’s personality and background portions of this report, as he took the time to interview Saybir and attend practices for Anadolu Efes SK, where he saw Yiğitcan in a myriad of environments.
Born February 27th, 1999 in Sisli, Turkey, Yiğitcan Saybir has been a promising developing combo forward prospect from Turkey. His father was a pro player, and he also played in the National Team. He started basketball with the guidance of his father. His mother was not a huge fan of him playing, but Saybir loved the game and went on anyway. He has been playing at Anadolu Efes for a while, and last season, Fenerbahçe, Bayern Munich, and ASVEL made an offer for Saybir, but Efes did not accept them.
Personality: According to Kuzey’s notes, at Efes training & practices Saybir was one of the most hard-working guys on the team. Alongside Shane Larkin, he would train for around 2 hours (extra) after each workout, showing the work ethic needed to be a long-term professional. Kuzey also notes that Saybir is very friendly and cheerful, but looks like a very cold person from the outside. Furthermore, Kuzey also states that Saybir is incredibly knowledgeable, especially for his age in the Turkish program. Off the court, he has some intellectual interests including history and literature.
Injury Report: Meniscus rupture in both knees 3 years ago + surgery (via Efes). 2018 knee injury that sidelined him for 2 months. Needs preventative treatment during the season.
Athleticism: Saybir has some flashes of bounce and power finishes in space when he can get going downhill, but is not an elite athlete. He has strong body control, but not a lot of vertical pop due to his lower center of gravity and weaker lower body. He lacks burst as well, and leans on his physicality to help negate this when slashing. The lack of burst makes him more suited to playing the small ball 4 spot overseas. Lower body strength could be an issue.
Projected Fit: Stashed Long-term Starter Overseas
Projected Draft Landing: Late Second Round/Undrafted. Rumored to have second round looks…
- High: Stashed long term starter on National Team and in Europe, whether that be in the BSL, Euroleague, etc. He has the upside and skillset to be a very good European player for a long time. Production increases due to development of 3pt shot & increased volume in his role. His high work ethic and potential for increased strength allow him to develop additional versatility on both ends in time. Has the potential to spend a season or two in the NBA when he reaches his prime, but likely stays stashed.
- Medium: Long term starter in Europe & National Team member. Likely to be in the BSL & Euroleague. His versatile skillset for a small ball 4 fits in more effectively there, where he spends his entire career. Does not become a high level shooter, but can hit open 3’s and begins to execute in pick and pop/roll.
- Low: Long term Euro-pro & National Team member. Shooting does not improve much, limiting Saybir’s value on the offensive end. He still provides value with intelligent cuts and finishing. A low outcome for Saybir would include making little to no shooting improvement and not developing further physically, essentially. He still, at the very least, looks like a long-term fixture for Turkish Basketball.
Saybir’s last 30 games
- Finishing: Saybir can be quite an effective finisher around the rim, partially due to his lower center of gravity, long strides, and wider frame that help him clear out space. He has good touch around the rim as well, and when given space to load he can finish powerfully. He is a physical slasher too, and is not afraid to draw contact and move defenders off of their spots. He finishes strongly through contact as well, though his lower center of gravity and lack of vertical pop limit his ability to finish over defenders. When given space to load, Saybir can finish some solid o-reb putbacks as well when he isn’t bodied. When he is able to get downhill, he is quite effective and certainly at his best offensively.
- Transition Motor: Saybir plays with intent when he can get out and run, and has flashed some impressive open court passing and finishing at times. If he has space to load, he can throw down some power dunks despite the knee troubles. If he ever has the chance, Saybir is pushing the ball himself or running the floor hard enough to get an opportunity to score. Transition made up for around 20% of his total offense, and it is easy to tell that he loves operating in this setting.
- Pick and Pop Upside: Saybir is quite comfortable running P&P, and often it gets him in rhythm. While the execution is not there yet at .36 PPP, Saybir has the right mold to be a P&P/R threat in time as his shot develops. Furthermore, he is a pretty solid, physical screener on and off the ball who isn’t afraid of contact and appreciates what it does for the offense.
- Adequate Handle: Saybir does not have a high level handle, but has a strong enough handle to create a bit for himself off the dribble and in transition. He can get caught up in traffic, and lacks a lot of wiggle. Yet, he makes it work, and in his role his handle should be alright should it continue developing. It is not necessarily a strength, but not a major hindering factor that plagues other players in his archetype.
- Shooting Production: Saybir has historically had relatively poor numbers from deep throughout his career, and he struggles to find enough consistency to be a volume threat from deep. If he wants to really be a high value player for years to come, his shot needs to develop enough to produce at a higher volume. If he cannot bring shooting to an NBA program on day one, it is hard to see his value as a small ball 4.
- Shooting Potential: Saybir has pretty solid touch/range on his set shot along with a slower release with little lower body involvement. He doesn’t get much lift on his shot at all, which worries me regarding his past injuries if he still favors not using much lower body. His free throw percentages are average/below average as well over his past 30 games. While he will be able to knock down open 3’s at a lower than average volume and percentage, how good of a shooter could he realistically be? He will be 21 years old on draft day, and his lack of shooting production has been quite worrying.
- Playmaking Polish: Saybir’s touch and accuracy on his passes have a lot of room for improvement, occasionally completely missing quite open players in transition or the halfcourt. He likes going to live-dribble one handed passes, but needs to continue developing his ability to actually execute them effectively & consistently. I like the way he sees the game, and I believe the mental part is most certainly there. Yet, the execution is lacking. There is upside here for sure though.
- Off-Ball Deterrence: Saybir makes smart gambles when acting as a help defender when slashers come into his area. He is able to poke balls lose with his active hands when he steps quickly into the optimal position to deter. His larger frame provides physical resistance as well. He actually jumps passing lanes quite quickly for his size, and has enough burst in these situations to keep up with his quicker reactions. He reacts well to loose balls and errand passes, and attempts to keep his head on a swivel, remaining aware.
- Effort & Commitment: Saybir puts in the effort to contest every shot in his area and does not give up on plays. He makes up for slower footwork and hips with intensity and effort, always pushing himself to recover when beat or to contest an open shooter out of his area. This willingness and commitment is valuable in a young player.
- Defending P&R: Slower feet cause Saybir to get caught on screens relatively easily, he will need to focus on leveraging the mental aspect much more in order to become effective defending P&R, as his physical traits can hold him back. He does not recover very well either, as he doesn’t have the size, length, or vertical pop to chase down roller that get by him effectively. He is pretty much forced to go under screens if he wants to not allow a complete defensive breakdown, partially depending on the opposing players of course. He does play with intensity that can manifest at times when he can battle around screens.
- Slow Footwork & Hip Turning: Saybir’s footwork on the defensive end could stand to be improved, occasionally hopping into closeouts and also hopping instead of sliding laterally. His first step when moving laterally is quite slow, which really hurts his reaction time, as his feet cannot keep up with where his mind is at sometimes. His hips also turn very slowly, limiting his switch potential and often putting him in tough recovery situations. Typically, small ball 4’s need to be switch heavy players, and I do not see Saybir as a major switch defender despite the effort and intensity he brings.
- Potential Versatility: While he certainly will have more defensive versatility in Europe, I doubt that he has enough defensive versatility to succeed at the NBA level as a small ball switch defender. When that is such a valued trait in his archetype, lacking it puts him on the bottom hand when comparing him to other small ball 4 prospects. I think that his athletic profile will allow him to defend multiple positions in time in Euroleague, etc, just not the NBA.
- Defensive Rebounding: While he has not been incredibly productive on the glass due to the lack of vertical pop, Saybir can rebound strongly and has some solid hands for it as well. His rebound rate is rather low for a combo forward, as committing to boxouts and moving quicker to the ball are some areas he could really improve in. He has upside here, yet is following the trend of the execution not being there.
While there is no current standout skill Saybir can bring to the NBA from day one, I think there is value in stashing him overseas and letting him develop into a potential impact player in the future. I also believe that the current size and lower body limitations will hinder him from playing him true position at the NBA level. His gifts will be more valued in Europe, where I believe he will have a long and productive career.
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