Why NBA Teams Should Be Targeting Myles Turner in This Year's Draft
Who is Myles Turner? Unless you're a big college basketball fan or you've just followed a lot of NBA pre-draft coverage lately, you might not know who he is.
Just a year ago, Myles Turner was a highly-regarded recruit coming out of high school. This college basketball season the 19-year old played his part on an NCAA tournament team at the University of Texas. Now Turner finds himself in the top 10 of Chad Ford's Big Board.
Most mock drafters have the 6'11" big man going somewhere between picks 10 and 13, to middle-of-the-road teams like the Heat, Pacers, Jazz and Suns. Don't believe me? This happened last night in the #FordBilasMock:
Myles Turner is underrated. Elite size, rim protector and stretches the floor. In two years youâ€™ll thank me Heat fans #FordBilasMockâ€” Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 23, 2015
While that's nothing to overlook, the numbers say Turner might just be better than that. He could provide a lot of value for a team in need of some talent -- maybe even number-one pick value. Think I'm lying? Check it out.
Turner vs. Towns
It's not too difficult to see the physical comparisons between Myles Turner and Karl-Anthony Towns, the projected number-one overall pick in this year's NBA draft. Turner stands 6'11", 240 pounds while Towns also measures 6'11" at a slightly heavier 250 pounds.
The general comparison doesn't stop there. It merely begins.
Both players enter the draft after just one year in the NCAA ranks -- a year in which neither player averaged big minutes. Both youngsters played just more than a half per contest with Towns averaging 21.1 minutes and Turner averaging 22.2 minutes per game. Based on talent alone, both should have played a lot more, but you won't see any NBA executives frowning over that.
While both players avoided injury and a large amount of wear and tear on their bodies, they still managed to provide some impressive play and even more impressive numbers for general managers to judge from. At Kentucky, Towns may have been given more opportunities to show off his stuff for NBA scouts, and he really did capitalize on them, but when it comes to the numbers Turner stacks up with Towns.
On a per-game basis, neither Towns or Turner put up NBA-caliber numbers.
Neither player put up very flashy numbers, but Towns shot marginally better from the field. He shot 56.6% from the field with a True Shooting Percentage of 62.7% and an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 57%. Turner didn't. He shot just 45.5% from the field while earning a True Shooting Percentage of 55.6% and an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 48.8%. But there's much more to that story.
Towns did most of his scoring close to the basket, shooting just 2-of-8 from three-point range on the season. Turner didn't fare all that well from three either. He shot just 27.4% -- a mere 2.4% better than Towns in terms of percentage. However, Turner was really misused at Texas. He played too much center and not enough stretch-four, which is where he'll likely slot in on an NBA roster. If you want to see why, 0:36 to 1:00 of this video says it all.
And as good as Towns was from the free throw line (81.3%) Turner was even better, shooting 83.9% from the charity stripe. Turner seems to know his range and if he can pick and pop around the free throw line he could be a very valuable offensive threat. By looking at his per-40 averages you can see the offensive and all-around potential -- the same potential people see in Towns.
A Poor Man's Towns
Now, we've seen the similarities between the two but here's where the big disparity in the numbers come in.
Towns has the edge in each of the following advanced metric categories: Player Efficiency Rating, Box Plus/Minus, Offensive Box Plus/Minus and Defensive Box Plus/Minus.
However, Turner did play against tougher competition. Per Sports-Reference.com, Towns played a Strength of Schedule of 8.67 points above average while playing in the SEC whereas Turner played against a Strength of Schedule of 9.07 points above average while playing in the Big 12 -- arguably the best basketball conference in America.
Now I can sit here and argue competition until I'm blue in the face, but Towns is the better prospect. I can't disagree there. But Turner isn't as far behind as many around the NBA think he is.
If he's ultimately drafted where he's projected to be drafted, Turner could provide a lot of value with the same upside as a number-one pick.
That's why NBA teams should be targeting Myles Turner come Thursday night.