NBA Position: C
General Information: 19 year old freshman, played at Texas. From Bedford, Texas.
Measurables: 6'11.5", 239 pounds, 7'4" wingspan, 9'4" standing reach
2014-15 Season Statistics: 10.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.3 SPG, 2.6 BPG, 1.4 TOPG (22.2 minutes per contest) - 45.5% FG, 83.6% FT, 27.4% 3P, 55.6% TSP
Summary: A shot-blocking shooter is the unicorn of the NBA, and Myles Turner has the potential to be that rare beast—his combination of exceptional size, length, fluid outside jumper AND 4.7 blocks per 40 minute average makes this otherwise raw big man an intriguing prospect. His shot selection needs work, and he's a hesitant/unsuccessful post player, and may present more of a long-term project player than Sacramento is willing to gamble on at this point.
Offensive Breakdown: Turner's most NBA ready skill is his jumpshot, and he's got a quick, soft touch that combined with his 6'11 size will tantalize despite the rest of his raw game. 52% of his shots were 2-point jumpers, and he hit on a decent 42.7% of them—he's good with his feet set, but he also showed an ability to score on the move. His 83.6% free throw success also speaks highly of his midrange ability. Combine his shooting touch with his long arms and size, and he could become an excellent pick-and-pop player. While he does have a shooting range out to the NBA three point line, his success has been overhyped—he finished the season shooting 27.4%, and only made 17 three pointers. His longball shot has the potential to be a good weapon as he continues to develop it, but it shouldn't be an expected capability from day one.
By contrast, despite a height advantage over nearly all opponents, Turner took only 23.8% of his shots at the rim. His success from midrange is almost a crutch for Turner, as he's shown limited ability in the post and oftentimes retreated from the paint when he got the ball to settle for a turn-around jumper or a fade shot. Despite his size advantage in college, he never showed a consistent willingness to stick in the post or battle against other centers; it is important to note that Texas played Turner as a PF, and he played alongside multiple post heavy players, so his tendency to play outside is a tad understandable, but not excusable. The class does have other big men who haven't developed much of a post-game—Krisptas Porzingis, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Robert Upshaw all lack offensive polish—but all three of those players are more explosive athletes than Turner, who lacks their abilities to play above the rim. Given his lack of success in college, this is a serious concern going forward.
While Turner is one of the best defensive rebounders in the class, his success on the offensive boards—a 7.2% rate—is worst among the first round big men prospects aside from Frank Kaminsky. Turner's lack of post play contributed to this, as he spent much of the offense outside of the paint, but for a player who boxes out so well on the defensive end he didn't show the same effort on the offensive end. His offensive awareness improved over the season, but he offers little as a passer and his 6.2% assist rate is among the lowest of the big men.
Defensive Breakdown: Turner isn't a great athlete, but he was one of the more prolific shot blockers in the NCAA last season, finishing with 2.7 blocks a game and a 12.3% block rate. These numbers are behind only Robert Upshaw for the class rankings, and compare favorably to the single seasons of Nerlens Noel (13.2%) and Joel Embiid (11.7%). He's got great timing instincts and was able to react well on the help side.
The rest of Turner's defensive game is raw, but he showed consistent effort. Teams learned they could attack him in the pick-and-roll, and more athletic big men had success getting by him on the attack. His length and shot blocking skills allowed him to recover well when beaten off the dribble, but against bigger, quicker NBA opponents he won't find recovering as easy. He also averaged 4.3 fouls per 40 minutes, and is too quick to bite on pump fakes.
One nice fascist of Turner's blocking—DraftExpress' Derek Bodner pointed out in his write-up about Turner from late March that while his offense numbers went way down as Texas played top ranked defenses, his blocking was nearly as successful against top ranked offenses. Texas didn't have the toughest non-conference schedule (except for matches against Iowa, Kentucky and UConn), and while Turner struggled to score against the Big 12 (seasonal average of 45.5% shooting, but only 41.1% in conference) he was just as successful with blocks—he had 4.7 blocks per 40 minutes against Big 12 teams, which equaled his seasonal per 40 total.
Turner is one of the better defensive rebounders in the class, finishing with a 24.9% rate that is tied with Upshaw. While Turner isn't the most physical defender, he shows much better determination on the box out and consistently used his 9'4" standing reach to beat multiple opponents for the ball. He'll need to continue to add low body strength in order to compensate for the stronger, bigger opponents he'll face, but his size and wingspan will continue to give him some advantage. If developed correctly, Turner could become a long-term rim protector.
Intangibles: Turner has a clunky running style that goes beyond simple stiffness, and any such physical quirks are going to raise red flags with scouts who fear taking the next injury prone big man. Thankfully, a series of tests completed in Dallas seemed to show that his running style wasn't due to any weakness in his knees or his ankles, but was more a lack of leg muscle. A full explanation and detailed write-up about Turner's running style can be found courtesy of DraftExpress, a highlight of which is below.
"The returns of Turner's lower extremity physical, running mechanics physical, and foot and ankle evaluation revealed the root of Turner's mechanical issues as weakness in both his left and right gluteus medius. The resulting 27-page report, which includes analysis from three phyisicians, stills of Turner performing various stability and running on a treadmill, and numerous x-rays was distributed to all 30 NBA teams, but more significantly, paints a picture of an imbalance that can be corrected over time."
While he's not the most mobile big man in the class and he lacks the explosiveness to be a big factor above the rim, his athleticism shouldn't cause him to fall out of the lottery. His size, length, rebounding skills and jumpshot can all help compensate.
Fit with Sacramento: Turner would present George Karl with a unique weapon on both ends, and in the long-term he could help spread the floor on offense while protecting the rim on defense. Using Turner as a stretch big man could give the Kings offense a ton of new options, especially with a gifted passing big man like DeMarcus Cousins, but Turner lacks the passing skills, shot selection and—most importantly—post game at this stage in his development to present a well-rounded rookie. The combination of Turner and Cousins wouldn't be the most agile of big man duos, but Cousins can guard enough of the athletic power forwards where the combination wouldn't be outmatched on a night to night basis.
While Turner could fill a positional need for the Kings while presenting multiple skills they want to add, he's also a project player in a way that other lottery prospects like Willie Cauley-Stein, Justise Winslow or Emmanuel Mudiay aren't. Turner may be more ready than Krisptas Porzingis—on a physical level, at least—but given that the Kings are thought to be looking for players who are ready to contribute immediately, Turner seems an unlikely pick.
And as always, check out the DraftExpress breakdowns;