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9/9: Evan Turner

Number three on my list (but probably not yours) is Ohio State SG/SF/PG, Evan Turner. Check out the entire 9 players, 9 days series here. More on Turner after the jump.
Age: 22 (in late October)
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 205 lbs.

I've officially written this post three times, and if I had another day or two, I'd probably flip flop again...and again. Let me start with what Turner gives you, short and long term, then I'll explain why he's #3 (right now) instead of #2.

If the Sixers are lucky enough to land Evan Turner, he immediately becomes a 35+ minute starter at the two guard. He probably scores 20+ points/game, he probably gives the Sixers an unbelievable defensive trio on the perimeter in Jrue, Turner and Iguodala. He's got the size, he's got the scorer's mentality. He's a plus, plus rebounder. He can hand out assists. Pencil him in and you're talking playoffs this season.

Long term, Turner is a potential #1 option on offense. He makes the Sixers better in the half court immediately. He's a guy who can get his own shot, and make it. He's more than a building block, he's got the chance to be the centerpiece. If he reaches his potential quickly, he allows you to trade Iguodala. You may not have to trade him, but if a deal arises, you have a guy who can do some of the same things on your roster, on a rookie contract. Positional versatility on both ends of the floor, primary scorer duties, excellent size. Turner gives you all of that. He's got superstar written all over him.

Why number three, then? Well, like I said, this was an extremely difficult decision for me. I think all of the top three guys have superstar potential, top four really. Three things worry me about Turner, and I'm not sure how major any of them are, but they are concerns.

  1. Long-range shooting - I spent some time thinking about the premiere perimeter players in the league, and really the only one who doesn't hurt you from three-point range is Dwyane Wade. James and Kobe aren't great three-point shooters, but they can hit that shot. Michael Jordan wasn't deadly from three early in his career, but it was a different game back then and he had something in common with Wade, supreme athleticism. Turner doesn't have that. His offensive game is built on the in between stuff. Drives for pull ups. Mid-range jumpers. He's deadly effective on those plays, but I'm just not 100% confident it translates against the better wing defenders in the NBA. He could absolutely extend his range on the next level, but if he doesn't, well, then we're in the same boat we're in with Iguodala. If you don't put a couple of really good shooters on the floor with him, the lane closes down and it becomes easy to double him and get the ball out of his hands. Also, long term if he doesn't develop into a weapon from three, you pretty much have to trade Iguodala.
  2. Turnovers - This is a small concern, since he was playing out of position with limited talent around him last season, but you can't completely ignore 4.4 turnovers/game and a 1.35 assist/turnover ratio.
  3. Broken back - I know he didn't miss a ton of time. I know he came back and played unbelievably well. I know he was still the best player in college basketball, but the guy broke his friggin' back less than a year ago. That has to be a concern on some level, doesn't it? I mean, somewhere in the back of someone's mind you have to think back to "Yeah, well Elton Brand tore his achilles, but he was able to return. He must be fine now."
Anyway, like I said, even with those three things nagging on my mind, I'm still completely torn here. As of tonight, though, Turner is number three (or maybe 2B, I don't know).

9. Ed Davis
8. Cole Aldrich
7. Ekpe Udoh
6. Al-Farouq Aminu
5. Wesley Johnson
4. DeMarcus Cousins
3. Evan Turner
2. Coming tomorrow.

Thoughts in the comments, as usual.
by Brian on May 16 2010