Turner intrigued scouts from his stellar play throughout his NCAA career. Standing 6’11 and weighing helped him reign supreme in the post. Through the course of 34 games he was able to average 10.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.6 APG and a whopping 2.6 BPG in about 22 minutes per contest. Respectable stat lines like those awarded him the honor of being named to the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Third Team All-Big 12 and First Team All-Big 12 Defensive.
After his outstanding year, Turner announced he would declare for the draft. When asked about his decision he was quoted saying “The decision wasn’t really that hard because I knew I would be picked pretty high, so I knew this was my opportunity to go”. Turns out he was right. With the 11th lottery pick the Pacers selected Turner.
Naysayers around the world were all silenced when Turner hit the floor during the Orlando Summer League. Few words are appropriate to describe his performance. The best would be along the lines of sheer dominance. Turner averaged astounding figures to the tune of 18.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 4.3 BPG while shooting over 60%!
One thing was clear after his performance; the Pacers had found themselves a diamond in the ruff. Turner has possibly one of the highest ceilings in the draft. Combine his tantalizing frame with a 7’4 wingspan and excellent shooting touch and the opposing team is in for a disaster. Turner was able to shoot 80% from the FT line which is remarkable when compared to other dominant bigs in the league (other than the Gasols!). His offensive game should develop without much issue and paired with his ability to defend (notably send shots into the stands!) he could become one of the better two-way players in the league!
The only knack on his game would be the fact that he still appears to be raw and his possible contributions next year are questionable. At times Turner seemed out of place and out of position when trying to establish defensive or offensive structure. With time though, these problems can be corrected.
Graphic via nba
Fit On The Indiana Pacers:
A more ideal situation for the Pacers is hard to imagine. After losing their starting bigs in David West and Roy Hibbert they were left with the likes of Ian Mahimi and Jordan Hill to fill in the gaps. Now, they have a rookie who has the potential to reinvent their PF and C positions.
Turner is ready to contribute in more than one way. I’m not suggesting a starting spot, but in limited 20 minute spurts he can cause a lot of problems for the opposing team. Given his adapt ability to score and defend at an elite level, he should never be a hindrance to his team. This is especially useful due to the fact the Pacers will be vying for an Eastern Conference Playoff spot.
Losing two starters was viewed as a bad move by most fans when taking into account the Pacer’s playoff potential, but when observed closer, it may have not been such a horrible thing after all. They created room for a young talent who has shown flashes of greatness and West wasn’t getting any younger. It’s a great time for the Pacers to look towards the future and embrace the possibilities of a future core of Paul George and Turner!
Graphic via nbcsports