Arguably the most talked about player in college basketball today, Evan Turner is making strides to take the top spot in the 2010 NBA Draft out of the hands of John Wall. Despite breaking his back in November, Turner has turned the heat up and stormed onto the scene as one of this year’s most talented players in college basketball.
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I’ve heard a few different ones but I will have to say a mix of Brandon Roy and Dwayne Wade.
Turner has many qualities to his game overall and many translate superbly to the NBA game. For starters, Turner can play the game from three different positions; point guard, shooting guard and small forward. Can you say versatility? He not only plays these positions but he produces good numbers at all three positions. He’s a great small forward because he can dribble-drive and snatch rebounds — he’s averaging 9.3 per game. What makes him a great shooting guard is his ability to, once again, dribble-drive into the lane as well as his outstanding mid-range jumper. My guess is that he won’t play much point guard in the NBA but he will when called upon and will be above average at that as well. He has a great basketball I.Q. — he plays the game as if he knows what’s going to happen next on offense — and his assists per game shows he knows how to get his teammates involved.
Some people could argue that since he’s in the Big Ten, he doesn’t face the stiff competition like that of John Wall’s Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC. I would have to completely disagree. The Big Ten will have 4-5 automatic NCAA tournament teams this year with maybe a couple of others sliding their way in as bubble teams. Turner and the Buckeyes have faced stern competition all year, against teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue and even Illinois and Minnesota. The Big Ten is chock full of competition, constantly gunning to take Tuner out of the game and many have proved to be unsuccessful.
To put the cherry on top of Turner’s glowing review, he has proved to be a coachable young man who loves to play defense. His defensive skills are very progressed, as opposed to others at the same position. Turner is a junior this season and so the experience is there. His maturity is far ahead of many players in the class but still is a respectably young 21 years old, which is luring for many teams because you don’t want to choose a too young kid nor some college dinosaur. His three years at Ohio State have let him develop a winners mentality, a quality the Wolves, as well as many other teams high in the lottery, need badly.
To sum it all up, Turner has many on-court abilities that could help a team score and win ball games. He can shoot and drive the lane, rebound, dish it off to teammates, play solid defense, and be a strong, vocal leader on the court all helping a team win games. And in the end, aren’t wins the only statistic that really matters?
It’s hard to put into words how hard NBA executives have fallen for Turner. His play since returning from a back injury has been stellar. If John Wall didn’t have such superstar potential, Turner would have a legit shot at going No. 1.
Turner’s do-it-all game has GMs salivating. They love players who can play three positions, and Turner has proven night in and night out that he’ll be able to do that in the pros. His leadership, ballhandling skills, floor vision, scoring ability and rebounding ability should make him comparable to Brandon Roy at the next level.
While teams still have some concern about his deep range, and a few GMs continue to remind me that they’ll be taking a close look at his back MRI, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Turner is close to locking down the No. 2 spot in the draft.
The obvious weakness of Evan Turner’s game is the lack of range on his jump shot. Turner is not a three-point shooter but could easily be developed into one. With his superior mid-range game, it shouldn’t be hard for a coaching staff to further his range beyond the three-point line. Another weakness is that Turner is turnover prone. Just like Wall, Turner has a tendency to force plays when they are not there. Usually that’s the case of any playmaker in basketball, even a superstar like Dwayne Wade, whom some compare Turner to. Probably the only other real weakness to Turner’s game is his lack of finishing skills. When he attacks the basket, it usually results in a floating layup. Well, in the big leagues that floater will easily be swatted away by some lanky center with mammoth paws in the paint. He needs to learn to take it strong to the rack and learn how to “posterize” the enemy.
Why the Timberwolves should draft him:
To me, and many other avid basketball fans and analysts, Turner would be the perfect fit for the Wolves. His experience and leadership qualities can translate into wins right away, as well as his ability to take games over single handedly. In drafting Turner, it would allow Corey Brewer to move to his more natural spot at the 3 while Turner plays the 2. In the triangle offense, it is very beneficial to have a 2 or 3 to be able to knock down open shots from mid-range to three-point land. Also, with Turner’s size and strength, he will be able to post up against smaller guards at the high post, which is another quality that can be beneficial to the triangle offense — just check out what Kobe is doing this year for instance.
Perhaps the most important reason the Wolves should draft Turner is the chance of having a bonafied superstar on their team. The Wolves are slashing season ticket prices to convince fans to attend games next year. I think that the best way to get fans in the seats is to simply win ball games. That’s the old fashioned way, right? More wins equals more buzz and publicity which in turn equals more ticket sales. Turner could blossom into one of the NBA’s better shooting guards and the Wolves can’t afford to pass that up for the third time in just a five year span.