Why College Player of the Year Evan Turner May Struggle in the NBA

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Why College Player of the Year Evan Turner May Struggle in the NBA
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Evan Turner ran away with the AP Player of the Year honors, receiving 54 of the 65 votes. He adds more hardware to an already impressive Trophy cabinet, and that’s bad news for Buckeye fans.

Turner has yet to publicly make his decision about the NBA. It is almost certain, though, that he will forgo his senior year for the riches of the NBA as a top five pick in this upcoming draft. He has dominated the college game this year, averaging 20.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game.

The NBA, however, will prove daunting for the talented Evan Turner. His 6’7’’ frame is a great size for a point guard or small forward, and his leaderships skills could help him on what surely will be one of the leagues worst teams.

Turner does have several weaknesses, which will be the main focus of NBA scouts in these next few months. For example, his perimeter shooting has struggled for most of his career. This season he averaged 36 percent from behind the arc, which is respectable, but he needs to find consistency with his shot.

Ball control can also hamper Turner during games. He was expected to do everything for the Buckeyes this season, and with those expectations, he had the ball in his hands a large part of the game. Handling the ball so much will naturally lead to turnovers, but in Turner’s case it lead to an average of 4.4 turnovers a game and 136 on the season.

As Turner’s playing time and responsibilities increased, so did his turnovers. This is something he’s going to have to fix quickly once he gets into the NBA. He had over five turnovers in a game 12 times this season, and twice he had at least 10 turnovers. Loose ball-handling will lead to even more turnovers at the next level for Turner.

Turner’s defense has been suspect at times during his Buckeye career. This soft play will get him eaten alive by the NBA’s elite guards. Turner will have to shelf the “Ole” defense and become a lock down guard, something he has yet to master during his college career.

Turner’s weaknesses aside, he is the best mid-shooter in this draft and has an uncanny ability to get offensive production in unorthodox ways. His slashing ability leads to more points than turnovers, and he's very unselfish with the ball. He has shown improvement in his perimeter shooting as well; with a continued focus on his shooting, he has the ability to develop into one of the NBA’s elite players.

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