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Charlotte Hornets NBA Draft preview: Myles Turner

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Myles Turner was inconsistent for much of his one year in Austin but when the Texas freshman was on, he flashed major potential. Is his immense talent enough to justify drafting a third power forward in three years?

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, the Charlotte Hornets executed a trade acquiring the Los Angeles Clippers' Spencer Hawes. The discarded big man's presence represents another big in Charlotte's future rotation. While one big from this past season may be cast out (Maxiell) and another sits with his future up in the air (Biymobo), the Hornets may think about adding another a new postman entering the 2015-16 season.

Shortly after the college basketball season ended, Texas freshman Myles Turner declared for this year's NBA Draft. Turner, ESPN's No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2014, decided to leave the Longhorns after just one inconsistent season in the burnt orange. As the 2015 NBA Draft approaches, Turner could potentially be one of the biggest gambles Thursday night.

Measurement and Statistics

Height w/o shoes Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach Body Fat%
6' 9.75" 6' 11.5" 239 7' 4" 9' 4" 9.3

Minutes Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers Fouls
22.2 10.1 6.5 0.6 0.3 2.6 1.4 2.4

FGs FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3Ps 3PA 3PT%
3.4 7.6 45.5 2.8 3.3 83.9 0.5 1.8 27.4

Strengths

Myles Turner represents the modern post-player. In the midst of this evolving NBA, front offices are hungry for frontcourt players that can stretch the floor and protect the rim. Turner shows the ability to face-up and knock down a perimeter jump shot. He also possesses a solid turnaround jumper over his right shoulder. Turner has capable range for his size and it extends out to the arc. He's also a good, mechanically-sound free throw shooter and in the age of hack-a-whoever, it's important he's not a liability in that department. He shows decent touch around the basket but his biggest strength is his advanced jumper for a 7-footer.

On the other end of the floor, Turner shows the ability to be a Sultan of Swat. In just 22 minutes per game at Texas, he led the Big 12 in blocks, totaling 89 in all. He shows excellent timing and instincts when challenging shots. His rotations are solid as well. Almost as important as blocking shots, Turner often changes an opponent's shot near the rim. He reminds me of Willie Cauley-Stein in the way that neither of them are great on-ball defenders, they can get moved and give up space, but at the end of the day their length bothers an opponent, often leading to poor angles from shooters.

With his NBA size and length, Turner was a good rebounder in college. He was a much better defensive rebounder than offensive rebounder however. No one is going to confuse him for Tristan Thompson. At times he was moved when rebounds were up from grabs but he ended up with the sixth-most rebounds of any player in the Big 12.

In terms of intangibles, Turner is far from a knucklehead. He seems to be a low-key fella, who by all indications put in plenty of time in the weight room at Texas and has done what he needs to this draft season in terms of training. Candace Buckner of the Indy Star noted that Turner was very vocal and teachable in his workout with the Pacers, making sure to discuss strategies after drills with some of the NBA's best defensive minds: Frank Vogel and Nate McMillan.

Weaknesses

While Turner has NBA size and length, his body will certainly need some work if he intends to succeed at the next level. You can see the lack of strength when he plays and you can tell he needs about 25 pounds added to his wiry body. He is too easily moved off a spot, off his ground, whether it's offensively or defensively. While seemingly every rookie enters the league needing to "add strength," the physicality of the NBA will be a major issue for Turner early on and may continue to be if he doesn't add the necessary elements to his body.

In an almost bizarre shortcoming, NBA teams have problems with the "awkwardness" of Turner's running style. A theory was that he had knee issues and that is why he ran the way he did but at the NBA Combine he was granted a clean bill of health and most importantly, medically healthy knees (he's had ankle and foot issues in the past). Turner felt the reason for his awkwardness was the fact that he had some parts of his body that were particularly weak. He has spent his spring and summer in Las Vegas for training and his list of daily activities contained physical therapy (hip flexor work), track workouts and yoga, all of which are designed to cure his running mechanics. ESPN's Chad Ford reported that at a recent workout in Las Vegas in front of NBA teams, Turner ran well and somewhat calmed scouts' fears.

In addition to a quirky running style, Turner lacks explosion, fluidity and agility. All of those lapses hurt his lateral movement which could be deadly for his team when he's put in NBA pick-and-rolls. However, like his running style, Ford reported that Turner impressed teams with improved explosion and lateral movement in the Vegas workout.

His range and competent jump shot occasionally cursed him during his one year in Austin. He floated and hung around the perimeter too often and it led to too many contested jumpers that dragged down his 2PT%.

NBA decision makers are weary of Turner's inconsistency and his lack of production versus Texas' better opponents. Turner rarely played down to his competition, he often crushed them when given the chance, but when the Longhorns matched up with their superior opponents, Turner often came up short.

Fit with Hornets

Myles Turner performed a solo workout for the Hornets on Friday and I'm sure he showed off his talent in that vacuum.

Turner was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, a member of the All-Big 12 third team, and a McDonald's All-American. He is loaded with talent and potential. He may be a top-5 pick just on those two areas alone.

While excitement comes with a player like that, so does caution. Outside of maybe Kelly Oubre, Turner represents the biggest gamble, the largest high-risk/high-reward player in this year's draft.

He can play the four or the five offensively and guard the same positions on the other end of the floor. He's got the potential for outside shooting, a need for the Hornets, and the rim protection that every team covets. Cho and Co. enjoy players that have defensive strengths because they'd like to keep their strengths strong and team defense is one of them.

Turner has spent his summer working on scoring with his left hand and his back-to-the-basket game. All the work he's put in will only help but he's still raw offensively and defensively. You should not expect any immediate contributions from Turner.

The selection of Turner would count as the third power forward in three years for the Hornets. His game would be fine with Charlotte if it weren't for the logjam at his position. Turner would struggle to get on the floor with young bucks like Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh continuing to improve and veterans Al Jefferson and Spencer Hawes manning the post. That doesn't even include the possibility of Bismack Biyombo's return to the team.

The right opportunity often makes or breaks a player's career in the NBA. In this instance, the opportunity would be wrong for both Myles Turner and the Hornets.

Mock Drafts

CBS Sports 10th-13th
ESPN 12th
Draft Express 11th
NBADraft.net 12th
The Lottery Mafia 12th