This is the debut article of a recurring weekly segment, “Who’s Up Next?”, in which, I will be highlighting a player from one of the four major sports. Each player will be selected based on how I project their success for the future.
Myles Turner was selected with the 11th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. The power forward out of Texas has the prototypical ‘future-of-the-NBA’ body. He’s long, with a 7’4 wingspan to compliment his 7’0 height. Turner’s NBA success is right on the horizon.
Last season, Turner started 30 of the 60 games he played in. His per game stats were decent (10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks). The thing most keeping Turner from exploding onto the NBA scene is a lack of minutes. Once the young power forward starts seeing consistent time in Indiana, he will make a name for himself. Though Turner did start 30 games, he only averaged 22.8 minutes per game.
Extrapolate his numbers to a scenario in which he plays 36 minutes per game, and the difference is big. Turner’s per 36 minutes stats are more eye-catching (16.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks).
Turner was a great rim-protector at Texas, and continued to show his defensive value in his first year in the NBA. He had 2.3 defensive win shares last year. For context, Kristaps Porzingis had 2.9 defensive win shares last year, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 2.8. Both Porzingis and Towns played much more than Turner, which is a factor in this instance. Porzingis played 2,047 minutes, Towns played 2,627, and Turner played only 1,367.
Like on defense, Turner is very good around the rim offensively. Out of his 601 FGA during the season and the playoffs, 28.9% of his shots were taken at the rim. He shot 68.4% from that distance. That’s a good percentage from an area where the 7-footer should thrive. What sets Turner apart from other big men, and a large part of the reason why I chose him for this segment, is his mid-range shooting.
While almost 30% of his shots were taken at the rim, the majority of his shots were actually taken between 16 feet and the three point line. 36.6% of Turner’s 601 shots were taken from this distance, and he shot 42.3% from there. That’s pretty good for a player who wasn’t considered a good shooting big man prior to the 2015 draft.
Here’s Turner’s heat map courtesy of Basketball Reference:
Though Turner certainly has the ability to shoot from mid-range, he needs to work on his offensive game, as a whole, in order to maximize his potential. He really only excels at shooting the mid-range shot from the top of the key and the right baseline. In order to become a complete offensive player he needs to work on his shooting from all over the floor.
Also, if Turner can manage to improve his three point shooting accuracy and frequency, he could add an entirely new dimension to his game. He was only 3-of-15 from three point range last season. Finally, the biggest part of Turner’s offensive game that needs help is creating his own shot. 79.9% of his regular season shots were assisted. That’s really not the worst thing in the world, considering Turner is a power forward. The future is bright for the Pacers big man, but if he wants to become an All-Star level player, Myles Turner needs to learn to create his own shot.