A handful of basketball blogs, particularly some in Philadelphia, are rushing to the assumption that Evan Turner will be the 76ers pick at No. 2 in next month's NBA draft, with one going as far as calling Turner the "Savior of the Sixers".
I'm certainly an OSU homer and a big ET guy, but I'm not sure Turner is the obvious second pick—and he's definitely not going No. 1.
The talented Mr. Turner was a great college basketball player, for sure, and as much as I'd love to see him have a Rookie-of-the-Year kind of season next year, the NBA transition will be tougher for him than folks are estimating.
As a versatile point forward, Turner was more crafty than quick in handling the ball for the Buckeyes. He struggled against a pesky perimeter defense against Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament in March. And just five or six months from now, NBA defenses will throw more than Demetri McCamey at him.
Turner also lacks an NBA shot. As a team, his Buckeyes were pretty dangerous from the perimeter, but ET got much of his own offense by being clever and creating space in drives down the lane. Sure he could knock down the occasional jumper, but his bread-and-butter was more suited for college than it will be for his first pro season or two.
If an NBA team asks him to play in the backcourt, he'll need to spend the summer working on protecting the basketball. Thad Matta had the rock in Turner's hands a huge chunk of the time, and I'd have done the same if I was the coach. But sometimes—perhaps due to fatigue—ET would handle the ball while being completely vertical, allowing smaller defenders to challenge him far from the basket.
Turner needs to develop a natural guard's habit of staying low, keeping the ball out of a defender's reach, and thereby maintaining some space in which to work.
I could see Philadelphia taking Wesley Johnson, who is probably a more active defender than Turner, with ET slipping to Minnesota to join those young Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 4.