The Utah Jazz have been bringing in draft prospects for workouts non-stop, and the biggest session so far was last Saturday's, which pitted Texas' Myles Turner against Kentucky's Trey Lyles in a battle of big men. It's unfortunate that we'll never get to see footage of those workouts (for understandable reasons, I guess; can't let opposing teams in on training secrets). But we do have reports from local press -- like this piece from the Trib's Aaron Falk -- and our own Moni's tireless transcription efforts.
Of the two, Myles Turner projects as the better prospect, according to most draft boards. Here's ESPN's Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton, who rate Turner the fourth-best big man in the draft:
Ford: I struggle a bit between Willie Cauley-Stein and Turner for the last spot. I believe Cauley-Stein has the potential to be the best defender in the NBA. He has all the physical tools and defensive instincts to guard all five positions. But his utter lack of an offensive game scares me. So did his very inconsistent efforts at Kentucky over three years. Turner also was very inconsistent at Texas. But he's a similar size, a much better offensive player (he has the ability to stretch the floor) and he should be a good rim protector. And at the same age, he was a better player than Cauley-Stein as a freshman. I know there's some bust potential with Turner, but I really love the upside.
Pelton: If we talk about the direction the NBA is headed, I think Turner shines. While he didn't shoot the college 3 well as a freshman, his 83.9 percent free throw percentage suggests Turner should eventually develop into a dangerous outside shooter. The 3-and-D big man is an extremely rare species, and Turner's impressive shot blocking and defensive rebounding (his rates of both were similar on both counts to Towns) indicate he's got a real chance to join this group.
It's Pelton's point that gets me the most excited. Versatility is at a premium in today's NBA, and the Jazz already have two traditional bangers in Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. (Yes, both are great athletes and quicker than they look, but neither is much of an outside shooter.) We've talked about the Jazz's need to stretch the floor -- that's why I've advocated for the Jazz to take Kentucky's Devin Booker, the best pure shooter who might be available at #12 -- but the roster is definitely thinnest at PF/C after trading Enes Kanter, especially if Trevor Booker is not retained.
So let's learn some more about Mr. Myles Turner. Here's a great video (pointed our way by @Mac_Jazz on Twitter) from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that gives some personal background:
That's an old vid (from 2013, before Turner committed to his hometown Longhorns (and the producers ganked the soundtrack from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, apparently, but I digress)) but it gives a little insight into the kind of person Turner is. Definitely seems like he could fit in an organization like the Jazz.
And the Jazz seem interested:
.@chadfordinsider: "[Utah & Indy] are the two most likely landing spots for [M.Turner]. The Jazz & Pacers both have serious interest."— David J. Smith (@davidjsmith1232) June 15, 2015
The Pacers pick at #11, so it may come down to who's still on the board. And the Jazz still have plenty of prospects to see. The good thing about this year's draft is its depth -- lots of players project to stick in the league. The downside is that from about #10 to #20, it's anyone's guess who will end up the better player. Personality, like the quiet, unselfish intelligence Turner shows here, might make the difference. Or not.
Let's take a break from Turner Talk for FANPOSTS!
stocktonjr on the attributes scouts look for in prospects:
I decided to really define several of these attributes and figure out exactly what the so-called 'experts' mean when they say the things they do. These are not in order of importance, but a simple list. I'd love to hear in your comments what all you wise and informed jazz fans think are the most important. And of course I dove in for some examples in recent history both good and bad, with a few thoughts on the upcoming draft and the best prospects in our range (spots 9-20 are pretty similar in this draft).
sorro explains why the "J-note" logo isn't the Jazz's primary one:
When the Jazz went back to the traditional J Note logo from the late 90s-2000s Mountain Ball logo, they mentioned that there were reasons why they kept the Mountain Ball as the primary logo, even though all we've seen on everything the team's put out since 2010 has been the J Note.. It seems like the discussion at the time was that the Jazz were cheapskates and didn't want to pay to change it. While that sounds reasonable, it's not the case. With the discussion around the new Atlanta Hawks logo, I discovered that there are rules governing what you can and can't do with an NBA logo.
hansenjames compares our Jazz players to well-known video game characters:
Having spent an incredible amount of my life playing video games and watching/reading everything Jazz, I thought it was an important life project to do a video game comparison. BECAUSE IMPORTANT OKAY.
Below you will find the Current Jazz Roster (or at least who I personally care about the most because, really, that's all I care about. Duh) and the famous video game characters they would be if they were transported into the digital world.
Thanks, y'all. High five.
Okay, back to Myles Turner. Sounds like a great pick...but like every prospect, he has weaknesses. Here's ESPN's Jay Bilas, who only rates him #18 in the draft:
Upside: Very skilled big man who can face up and knock down a perimeter shot. Good turnaround jumper, excellent shooting touch. Good passing instincts, works hard, high character. Can block shots and change shots around the rim.
Downside: Lacks physical strength. Does not change ends, awkward runner. Not a great rebounder. Had his best games against the lesser teams on Texas' schedule.
The "awkward runner" bit seems like a weird thing to nitpick, right? Well, according to this DraftExpress article, Turner had heard about this criticism of his game and actually went and got it checked out:
It seems that at least one player per draft cycle is faced with concerns based around how they move on the court and what kind of toll the resulting forces are taking on their musculoskeletal system. Sometimes those questions are raised about a bruising big man struggling with lower back pain late in the season or a prospect who is particularly knock-knee or bow-legged relative to the norm, but they can also pop up for more subtle reasons like unsteady running form or a lack of ideal knee bend in the post.
This season, Myles Turner is perhaps the highest profile player in this draft to face scrutiny specifically for how he moves.[...]
[...]The returns of Turner's lower extremity physical, running mechanics physical, and foot and ankle evaluation revealed the root of Turner's mechanical issues as weakness in both his left and right gluteus medius. The resulting 27-page report, which includes analysis from three phyisicians, stills of Turner performing various stability and running on a treadmill, and numerous x-rays was distributed to all 30 NBA teams, but more significantly, paints a picture of an imbalance that can be corrected over time.
I recommend you click through and read the rest of the article -- not just to get more info on Turner but as a pretty fascinating piece of sports science. Bottom line, though: whatever movement issues Turner has, they look very correctable. THANKS, SCIENCE!
Last item: the full DraftExpress scouting vid on Myles Turner.
I can definitely see this guy playing next to either Derrick Favors or Rudy Gobert. And wouldn't you know it? That's exactly what Myles said himself. Via Moni:
** Are you a "four" or a "five" in the NBA?
I mean, I'm more than capable of playing both positions. I'm comfortable doing both. You know, here, if you have someone like [Rudy] Gobert at the five and I play the four, or you got someone like Trevor Booker at the four, I can play the five. I feel like it's interchangeable.
So are you sold? Hit the poll and comments.