A couple smart people at ESPN (along with Chad Ford) posted some interesting discussion on Myles Turner and his NBA Draft prospects. The articles are In$ider only, but I wanted to share a few insights I pulled.
Myles Turner runs funny.
But Turner has been inconsistent, especially against elite teams, and so many scouts can't get over the awkward way that he runs the floor -- sort of like an old man with two bad knees playing pickup ball at the YMCA.
Say what? OK, he's not a dynamic rim runner like a vintage Roy Williams big, but I can honestly say I've never noticed any abnormal, Uncle Drew hitch to his step. Now, I'm not sure I'll be able to look out for anything else when Texas plays Baylor on Saturday.
Scouts are concerned about Turner's performance against top-tier bigs.
Performance against elite teams is an understandable concern. Turner has been a different player against better opponents.
In some ways, Turner represents the middle ground between Okafor (the best offensive player of the group) and Towns (the best defender)
But we knew this already. Turner hasn't underperformed to the same extent as Cam Ridley (who looks absolutely lost this season against anyone of NBA caliber size), but he hasn't shined like Jahlil Okafor or Karl Towns, either. I'd watch out for the fundamental attribution error here: Okafor and Towns operate offensively in much better situations than Turner and the dysfunctional Texas O. Having watched a lot of all three teams this year, I'd actually argue Turner has displayed significantly more offensive skills than Towns (no one is touching Okafor at this age). Turner lagged far behind Towns in the high school All-Star games, so credit due to Rick Barnes and company for nurturing talent.
Advanced analytics like Turner. NBA scouts will, too.
As discussed in the Okafor breakdown, the typical No. 1 pick has been projected for an average of 3.1 WARP during their first four seasons in the NBA. Turner's current WARP projection is 3.0, so he's right in that average range. That puts him a little ahead of Joel Embiid last season (2.9 projected WARP).
In today's 4-out NBA world (brush up here), Turner's ability to stretch the floor, unleash an array of offensive moves, and hit free throws combined with his defensive potential equates to lottery pick if he declares. Kevin Pelton's advanced metrics system loves Turner (see above), and Chad Ford posits Chris Bosh and Serge Ibaka as a couple of comparators. You think a team picking in the top 10 is going to turn down the next Predator or the next Serge?
I've been loving this Coach Fran film series, which is similar to Tjarks' excellent work over at The Cauldron.
Turner's workouts with John Lucas have paid off.
Because Turner has a high release point on his shot, coupled with his long frame, he has a turnaround shot in the low post that has become his weapon of choice. He also has developed an ability to pivot quickly and square up in the air while pivoting that is very, very hard to defend.
Turner has good footwork in the low post for a young big man. He uses "the Sikma move" (so named for former NBA star Jack Sikma), which allows him to pivot away from his defender inside and create the separation needed to get his shot off. I've also seen him use a Dirk Nowitzki fadeaway shot that, with practice, will be a nice "bread-and-butter" move some day.
Despite being billed as raw, Turner has actually exhibited an array of effective low-post moves (along with a credible perimeter jumper). Fraschilla posted a couple cuts of Turner on the low block against Iowa State that brought a Grinch-like smile to my face when watching live. The preceding paragraphs are an ample scouting report as far as Turner's skills go. He's also getting much more confident in the paint as the season grinds on: while the turnaround J has been there all year, the up and under clip shows in-season progress.
Turner's a plus defender.
For a young post player, he is rarely baited by shot fakes and stays on his feet until the offensive player leaves the floor.
But we knew that already. Similar to his offense profile, Turner has matured over the season. To Fran's point below, Turner's timing and awareness as a defender has been much better in conference play relative to his first few games (see the Kentucky game, for example).
The best of Turner is yet to come...and it won't be shown in Austin.
Similar sentiments were made about former Longhorns and current NBA star LaMarcus Aldridge when he was in Austin. Aldridge benefited, both physically and mentally, however, from his second year at Texas before being selected as the No. 2 pick in the 2006 NBA draft. Turner will not likely get that opportunity to improve the same way.
It would be ideal for Turner's development that he stays one more season in college and become the Longhorns' go-to guy as a sophomore. But, given the nature of basketball today, that's very unlikely to happen.
Sigh. Well, one can still hope, yeah?