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Phoenix Suns Draft Profile: Myles Turner has a long reach and a longer shot

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Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

In the weeks leading into the NBA Draft, Bright Side of the Sun will be presenting draft profiles of the players most likely to be available to the Phoenix Suns at the #13 pick.  Look for a new profile every weekday between now and the draft!

Myles Turner

School: University of Texas

Position: Center

Draft Range: Draft Express - 11, NBADraft.net - 13, ESPN - 11

Stats

Myles Turner Stats

Measurables

  • Height: 6'9.75" without shoes, 6'11.5" with shoesMyles Turner Stats
  • Weight: 239 pounds
  • Wingspan: 7'4"
  • Standing Reach: 9'4"

Combine Numbers

  • Maximum Vertical Leap: NA
  • Lane Agility: NA
  • 3/4 Court Sprint: NA
  • Shuttle Drill: NA

The Buzz

Elite rim protector.  Solid defensive rebounder.  Phenomenal shooting touch.  In the "Pros" column, Myles Turner sounds like everything Phoenix Suns' fans wished Channing Frye could have been.  In the "Cons" column, he ends up sounding a lot more like the Frye we all knew and loved/hated.  Undersized.  Inconsistent.  Poor defensive mobility.  However, at 19 years old, he's got a ton of upside and many experts have him gone before the Suns get a shot at him.  And this is despite being overshadowed by 3 other centers in this year's draft class (Karl Towns, Jahlil Okafor, and Willlie Cauley-Stein).

The Offense

Myles Turner's shooting mechanics are top notch.  Check out his 83.9% conversion rate at the free throw line.  That's rarified territory for a NBA veteran big men, never mind a freshman center.  That touch translates to his wider offensive game as the jumpshot was his primary offensive option at Texas.  Whether at the 3-point line, in the high post or down on the block, Turner frequently made the jumpshot his weapon of choice.

The good news is that he is a really, really good jump shooter.  He hit 51.3% of his 2 point attempts and 27.4% of his 3 point attempts.  The bad news is that the rest of his offense suffers as a result.  He shies from contact in the lane and shoots going away from the hoop.  When a center shoots 83.9% from the line, he needs to be drawing all the contact he can and jumpers are not going to get it done in that respect.  He's a decent athlete, but lacks the explosiveness and strength to make opponents pay in the lane.  He's also a bit of a black hole on offense, turning the ball over twice as often as assisting his teammates.

The Defense

Turner set himself apart as an elite weak side help defender in his one year at Texas.  He averaged 2.6 blocks in 22.2 minutes of playing time (or an absurd 4.7 per 40 minutes).  While he may not be a great athlete, you can't teach the kind of length that Turner possesses.  His 9'4" standing reach was the second longest of the 2015 draft combine.  The combination of that length and excellent timing on the defensive end makes him both an elite rim protector and excellent defensive rebounder.  He average 5.2 defensive rebounds per 22 minutes (9.4 per 40) and was generally good at establishing position on missed shots.

If length and timing are his strengths, then just about everything else is a weakness defensively.  Despite above average boxing out fundamentals, his slight frame leads to him getting pushed around by bigger centers.  He also lacks good defensive awareness in guarding the pick and roll as well as biting on shot fakes.  He has a lot to learn on this end of the floor.

Overall and Fit for the Suns

Myles Turner is a prototypical project big man: physically gifted with at least one elite skillset and a whole lot of work to do on his overall game.  At 19 years old, with his slight frame and glaring weaknesses, he is not NBA ready.  Also troubling was his tendency to disappear against top college opponents.  That could be youth, but it could be a sign that he lacks the sterner stuff required to compete at the next level.  However, he could pay off handsomely for a team with a little patience and the right development people in place.

As far as the Suns are concerned, Turner only makes sense if they are unable to bring back Brandan Wright and strike out on a veteran big man via trade or free agency.  With Archie Goodwin, T.J. Warren and Alex Len already on the roster and Bogdan Bogdanovic waiting in the wings, the last thing this squad needs is another whippersnapper to bring along slowly.

And, if I may digress for a moment here, this is what the first round of the NBA draft is about: general managers rolling the dice on half-baked 19 year-old prospects declaring early with one or two skills to hang their hat on and a whole lot of work required to make them real NBA rotation players.  Myles Turner is no one's idea of contributing NBA center and probably won't be for at least 2 or 3 seasons.  But by leveraging youth and a tantalizing yet unquantifiable "potential", he (and several other players like him) will find themselves on NBA rosters with lottery picks.  I'm not advocating for age minimums, but man this whole process seems like it was easier when players stayed in college just a skosh longer.

Given his intriguing combination of physical gifts, deft shooting touch and youth, it seems likely that Turner will be off the board by the time Phoenix picks.  If he is there, I have a hard time envisioning the Suns taking on developmental player at this point in their building process.