For a franchise in the lottery, it is a chance to hit the jackpot and find a player who can help the team become a playoff contender immediately and a title contender down the road.
According to several league executives, Texas center Myles Turner has the potential to be that type of player.
“He’s probably a late lottery pick with big-time upside now,” one general manager told SheridanHoops. Our Joe Kotoch has Turner at No. 14 in Mock Draft 1.0.1, going to Oklahoma City (provided the Thunder do not move up in the lottery).
Right now, picks 10-14 in the lottery are Miami, which could use another big man with Chris Bosh coming off blood clots in his lungs and aging Chris Andersen; Utah, which is in need of a backup center for Rudy Gobert; Indiana, which could be looking for a long-term mobility upgrade from the plodding Roy Hibbert; Phoenix, which has backup center Brandan Wright headed to free agency; and Oklahoma City, which lacks big men that can stretch the floor in Nick Collison and Mitch McGary off the bench.
It seems unlikely that Turner will slip past that stretch of teams. With that in mind, he spoke with SheridanHoops to discuss his draft preparation, goals for his career, why a lottery team should select him and more.
One NBA scouting director perfectly summarized the scouting report on Turner heading into the Draft Combine on Tuesday.
“He’s a face-up player offensively and a good shooter with some capable range,” the scouting director told SheridanHoops. “Defensively, he’s a solid rim protector who has some length. He needs to get stronger and there are questions about his mobility and agility.”
On offense, the 6-11 Turner’s range extends to the arc on pick-and-pop and catch-and-shoot situations. His face-up game and ability to shoot turnaround jumpers over his right shoulder on the block have drawn comparisons to LaMarcus Aldridge, who also went to Texas.
On defense, Turner averaged 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in just 22.2 minutes during his freshman season in Austin. If you extrapolate those categories with extended playing time, his averages compute to 11.8 rebounds and 4.7 blocks over 40 minutes. His 7-4 wingspan allows him to alter many shots as well.
Turner is familiar with his own scouting report and has trained at Impact Basketball in preparation for the draft to add more pages to the book on his game.
“Specifically I’ve been working on my running mechanics, get that a bit better,” Turner told SheridanHoops. “I know there’s been some question and speculation about that. I’ve also been working in the low post a bit more than I have in the past. I’ve definitely been working on my left hand exclusively. Working on that and trying to get that a lot better. I’ll be needing that at the next level.”
Brook Lopez, a fellow big man with deep range, thrived offensively this season thanks to a floater he added to his repertoire as he carried the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs. At Turner’s size and reach, adding a consistent hook shot with both hands would be hard for defenders to block and could result in similar benefits.
The man who is helping Turner hone his craft is Ken Roberson, his trainer. Roberson has worked with Turner since he was 13 years old and has also trained Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Karl Malone.
“I honestly want to be one of the greatest players there was and that’s a really long-term goal,” Turner told SheridanHoops. “I have a lot of work to do to achieve that goal, but that’s definitely my mindset.”
Coming out of high school, Turner showed the pedigree to do so as a McDonald’s and Jordan Brand Classic All-American. Turner was ranked as high as the No. 2 overall recruit by ESPN in the class of 2014, which also included Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns, the projected top two picks in next month’s draft.
Turner already is looking to get the jump on his classmates.
“Definitely a long-term goal is to get Rookie of the Year and get into the NBA All-Star Weekend,” Turner told SheridanHoops. “As far as short-term goals, I’d like to be able to have a great role within the team I’m drafted by to be able to go out there and get quality minutes instead of riding the bench the whole entire rookie season.”
Frontcourt players in today’s game are highly valued for their ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim. Therefore, Turner believes he can make an immediate impact for any interested executives.
“I’d tell them that I have a lot to offer as far as the ways I can help the team,” Turner told SheridanHoops. “I feel like I’m a good rim protector, a good defensive player. I’m able to play inside and out offensively, creating matchup problems, especially on the pick-and-roll and the pick-and-pop scenarios. I feel like I’m a great teammate.”
Teams are putting an emphasis on chemistry on the court and behavior off it more than ever before regarding personnel. Teams want players to police themselves and represent the organization with class at all times. The last thing any organization wants is a situation similar to what happened with Chris Copeland and Thabo Sefolosha at 1OAK nightclub in New York at the end of the season.
“Off the court, I just do regular stuff to stay out of trouble,” Turner told SheridanHoops. “I enjoy playing PlayStation and Call of Duty. I enjoy bowling and I enjoy cooking. I really don’t get out that much. I just kind of stay to myself and chill.”
At just 19, Turner oozes potential and has well-chronicled traits that are coveted around the league – outside shooting and rim protection. With a solid 240-pound frame to work with, taking a flier on Turner is highly beneficial considering the dearth of talent at the center position throughout the league.
In an era where small ball is reigning supreme more than ever before, Turner can carve out a potentially lasting niche for years to come if put in a position to succeed.