With the season already past the midway point, NBA GMs have their minds set on the NBA Playoffs. But for those teams that will be counting ping pong balls instead of playoff victories, the upcoming NBA Draft has many intriguing prospects that need to be recognized. So before March Madness takes over, Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro will be profiling players and giving them a team that would best fit their talent. First up was Kentucky’s John Wall, so now we’re on to Ohio State’s Evan Turner.
Player Comparisons: Scottie Pippen, Brandon Roy and Paul Pierce
The college game tends to make good athletes look like great athletes, and Turner has been a product of this. While he can dominate based on his athleticism for now, when he makes the transition to the League, he may not stand out as much athletically. He is still strong and quick for his size, but his jumping ability is not elite at the next level. It is also rare to see a player his size (6-7) with the great coordination that he possesses. At times, he has put Ohio State on his back (literally) and has shown that he can play the full forty minutes of a game with his great endurance.
If it weren’t for his lack of three-point accuracy, Turner would have the best fundamentals in college basketball. He can handle the ball like a point guard, post up like a power forward and drive like a wing player. His versatility allows him to play three positions and his killer instincts make him like the Kobe Bryant of the NCAA. Defensively, he can lock-down opponents with his sheer desire to dominate others. The guy is like a machine. (Seriously, have you heard him talk? He even sounds like a robot.)
There is no doubt that Turner can make a splash in his first season in the NBA. The question is whether he will be able to transition well. Take a look at Terrence Williams. Williams was a point-forward, similar to Turner. He also lacked three-point range, similar to Turner. Right now, Williams is struggling adjusting to the NBA game since he’s not capable of shooting consistently from the outside and does not have the ball in his hands at all times. Some worry that since Turner will not be handling the rock as often in the NBA – depending on what team he lands on – that his transition may not be as smooth.
Take a look at the comparisons Turner has received. All of them are versatile players and capable of killing you when you are not paying attention. He is tough as nails. How many players do you know who could return from a broken back in four weeks? Turner has the potential to be a great player, maybe even franchise player. It will all depend on whether he lands with the right team that lets him be a ball dominant player, similar to Brandon Roy‘s situation in Portland.
Best Fit: Golden State Warriors*
Although one cannot be positive whether Monta Ellis will be moved before the trade deadline, it could possibly happen in the future. Don Nelson is obsessed with point-forwards and Turner would fulfill this desire if he comes on board. Stephen Curry has proved that he is a point guard, but ideally he could play both guard positions alongside Turner. It is also very realistic that the Warriors would be able to get Turner considering their record projects them to have the third pick in the NBA Draft right now.
Runner-Up: Minnesota Timberwolves
The Triangle Offense in Minnesota is still being constructed, and Turner would be a great piece for them to add. Their wing positions need help and anyone can be moved to build around Turner. If he were to play alongside Corey Brewer, that would be two lock-down wing defenders. The one issue: could Jonny Flynn and Evan Turner play on the court together? They are both ball-dominant players and may struggle to play in the triangle alongside one another. Would a Ricky Rubio call-up be necessary?
*I know that Austin Burton wrote an article two months ago about how Turner needs to report to the Indiana Pacers, but there is one problem – the guards in Indiana are not a great fit next to Turner. Look at all of the possibilities for a back-court: Turner and Mike Dunleavy/Brandon Rush/Dahntay Jones/Earl Watson. These are all strange fits next to Turner. However, if they could make a move for another good combo guard, this would be the best fit by far. Is Gilbert Arenas out of the question?
What do you think?
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