RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Evan TurnerPosted by rtmsf on May 28th, 2010
Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Evan Turner
School: Ohio State
Height/Weight: 6’7, 214
NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Projected Draft Range: Top 5 pick
Overview: Evan Turner had one of the most productive college seasons in recent memory during his 2009-10 campaign in Columbus. The versatile National Player of the Year averaged a Big Ten-leading 20.4 PPG and 9.2 RPG despite a horrific back injury in December. Counting their Sweet 16 loss, the Buckeyes lost just five games last season in which Turner participated. In desperate need of a point guard to orchestrate the Ohio State offense, the 6’7 Turner took over the position for head coach Thad Matta and, like everything else he tried during his breakout junior season, excelled tremendously. Turner kicked off the season with two triple-doubles in his first five contests, putting on display his scoring ability, rebounding skill and outstanding court vision all at once. The Buckeyes’ season ended with another virtuoso Turner performance in St. Louis in a 31/7/5 effort against Tennessee. Asked to carry the load for most of the season, Turner responded to every call. While his athleticism isn’t off the charts, his high basketball IQ and knack for making the right play when the chips are on the table will endear him to his NBA team, much like it did the Buckeye faithful for his three seasons in Columbus.
Will Translate to the NBA: Turner’s versatility and ability to guard a variety of positions are his greatest strengths. His ball handling proficiency is as strong as any point guard in this draft, but he can penetrate efficiently and features the mid-range game of a two-guard. Turner can even guard a small forward at the next level if needed. He is an extremely strong finisher at the rim and maintains top-notch body control in the process. He can seemingly get to any spot on the floor he needs to operate effectively. Turner’s 6.0 APG as a junior show he’s been blessed with above average court vision and passing skill.
Needs Work: Turner is an acceptable athlete, but he won’t stun any NBA scouts in workouts with leaping ability or quickness. His catch-and-shoot game could also use improvement; he operated nearly all the time with the ball in his hands at Ohio State, so the jury’s still out on whether he can pop quickly off screens. Turner’s three-point percentage plummeted about 8% from his sophomore to junior seasons. A lot of that has to do with the opposing defense keying on him, but some extension of his shooting range certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Comparison Players: The most common comparison to Turner that we’ve heard is Brandon Roy, and it seems eerily accurate. Both players had decorated college careers at their respective schools and feature a very similar game. They possess a high basketball IQ, can fill up the stat sheet and are excellent ball-handlers that can create shots without the help of teammates or screening. Both Roy and Turner love to penetrate and draw fouls and even spent time at the point for Washington and Ohio State, respectively. Neither player is otherworldly at any certain skill, but they seem to do everything at a 9 out of 10 level.
Best Case Scenario: Turner’s best-case scenario is a perennial All-Star and to be considered one of the best players in the NBA. I don’t think it’s unfair to heap those expectations on the reigning NCAA Player of the Year and likely #2 pick in the Draft. Turner isn’t a project and could provide an instant impact for the team that selects the ultra-talented Chicago native. If Turner continues to improve his shooting (as Roy did) and keeps advancing his game, a Rookie of the Year honor in 2010-11 and an All-Star appearance in the next three years is very much attainable.
2013 Projection: We expect Turner to be contending for an All-Star nod by 2013. A player so incredibly efficient and intelligent doesn’t come along very often, and Turner fits that bill to perfection. A driven and intense young man, Turner shouldn’t be side-tracked or distracted like other high-profile draft picks. Turner will be one of the top 25 players in the NBA by the 2013 season.
Best NBA Fit: The team that needs a versatile two-guard the most of any high lottery team is the Minnesota Timberwolves. He’d have to slip to #4 in the Draft, meaning the Sixers would likely trade their pick, the Nets opt for Derrick Favors and someone like Wes Johnson or DeMarcus Cousins slides in front of Turner. The likelihood of that happening is extremely small. The Sixers or Nets could end up with Turner at #2 or #3, respectively. Philly isn’t a great fit considering Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday duplicate plenty of the skills Turner brings to the table, but that shouldn’t stop them from selecting the most complete player on the board.
* Zach Hayes contributed this profile to RTC