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Big| 7’0 | 240 | Texas
Projected: Mid Lottery
Best Case: Lamarcus Aldridge
Most Likely: Brook Lopez
Worst Case: Channing Frye
Myles Turner is the guy I’d like to see the Blazers make a move for if they think LA is a goner. The comparables I’ve put up should show how incredibly high I am on him as a prospect. As a freshman at Texas, Turner played primarily at power forward and watching his game reminded me a lot of Lamarcus. His offensive is built around his jumper, with lots of catch and shoot, pick and pop and turnarounds mixed with some flashes of skill in the post. If he bulks up and is pigeon-holed as a center in the NBA, I could see that post game expanding and the jumper becoming a weapon to draw rim protectors away from the paint, much like it is for Brook Lopez. The other option is that Turner relies on extending his range to the three point line to make his mark in the NBA, in which case I can see a solid career as a stretch big in the Channing Frye mold.
All of this isn’t to say Turner’s bust-proof, just that I think his talent is such that it’d have to be for reasons outside his control that he fails. His gait has been the subject of speculation and much of his pre-draft work has been around changing his running form to help fix a muscle imbalance that is at the root of the problem. When you see awkward movement and hear muscle imbalance in regards to a 7 footer, the risks are obvious. With the sad story of Greg Oden and the current situation of Joel Embiid in everyone’s mind, it’s hard to blame teams for steering clear of Turner. Nevertheless, there is actually surprisingly little injury history to add to that concern and a group of physicians have stated that once the muscle imbalance is corrected, they see no reason Turner’s body should break down faster than any other 7 footer. Scant comfort that.
If he does stay healthy, Turner can provide the team that drafts him with an incredibly valuable combination of floor spacing and rim protection. His defensive strengths lie in the paint, so a team that runs a conservative scheme defending the pick and roll, like the Blazers, would maximise his talents on that end. His length and timing make him an elite shot-blocking and defensive rebounding prospect, although his lack of quick jumping ability and overall explosiveness limits him to being just an average offensive rebounder. The sum total of these talents plus the fact Turner is one of the youngest players in the draft should certainly have him off the board in the mid-lottery, with Sacremento and Detroit being my favourite fits for him.
I do hope that if the Blazers think they are going to be left at the altar by Aldridge, we can nab Turner to rebuild with. Unfortunately, the idea of trading up (at great cost) for a jumpshooting big man when our best player and best prospect are both jumpshooting big men probably doesn’t appeal to the front office. If they’re superstitious, his college number won’t help either.