Another year crushing defeat in the Lottery and Kahn's comments about trading the house to draft a potential franchise player has many of us playing the trade machine with the Sixers to try and get that second pick. That is fool's gold. The Wolves should draft the BPA at #4 and be thankful that Philly follows it's fans logic and snags Evan Turner.
Since 1980, not a single draft has seen guards go both #1 and #2 overall. Size matters in the NBA as is being shown by the Garnett-Wallace-Perkins frontcourt and the Gasol-Bynum-Odom frontcourt respectively once again this post season. The chase for a championship requires you to have competence both on the perimeter and in the post, but the few teams that have more than one two-way big are set up for yearly success.
Psychologically, Evan Turner has been on the radar for most of us at the beginning of the 2008-09 when he started to flourish as a playmaking shooting guard. His continued progression this year as essentially a PG changed the flirtatious overture of money fans into a downright love affair. The change of the offense to Rambis' hybrid triangle only furthered the need for a wing who can handle the ball and be an effective decisionmaker. As it appears now, the hopes of acquiring Turner sans a lopsided trade, seem unlikely after last night's results, but don't despair, the silver lining is potentially better.
Returning to the discussion on Two-Way bigs, the Wolves have been searching for these since their franchise inception. They drafted one in Kevin Garnett, then trotted out a myriad of failed frontcourt sidekicks from Rasho to the Kandi Man only to see Garnett depart for multiple championship runs with the green and white. Struggling for years trying to find a second two-way big to pair with Garnett leaves plenty of evidence that the only place you find these players is in the draft, and even moreso in the top 5 picks. Once Garnett developed, we were forced to hit the free agency and trade markets to find this player which proved an impossibility. But the lottery order as selected last night gives us hope. Of all the possibilites going into that fateful drawing, the lone catastrophe of #5 was avoided and now its time to reap the spoils of a Top 4 pick in a four player draft along with perceived values failing to match actual value.
The first case in point is the perceived value of Evan Turner. Evan Turner is a great prospect at a position of need for the Timberwolves, but if the Sixers select him as is widely assumed in most mock drafts save Tom Ziller at FanHouse, this puts another wing squarely on the market. His name is Andre Iguodala. For those that don't know Iggy, here is a great writeup from DX about his skills:
Overview: Versatile swingman who is quickly became one the more productive all-around players at his position in the game. Great size and strength for the shooting guard position, to go along with an excellent 6-11 wingspan. Possesses tremendous athleticism. Great speed in the open floor. Good first step. Elite explosiveness and leaping ability. Becoming a very dynamic offensive player. Very talented defensively as well. Fills up the stat-sheet in every way possible. An iron man who never comes off the floor. Plays 40 minutes per game, and never gets hurt. Missed just six total games in his first five NBA seasons. Showed his versatility during his two seasons at Arizona. Has developed substantially since then. Locked in as Philadelphia’s franchise player for the foreseeable future, although he may be better suited playing second fiddle considering his skill-set. Still has room to continue to develop.
Offense: An extremely productive player who has developed considerably, but still has some holes to his game. Gets the chance to showcase himself as the centerpiece of Philadelphia’s offense, but doesn’t always show the skill-set to carry such a heavy load. Outstanding in transition first and foremost, is absolutely deadly in the open floor thanks to his strength and athleticism. Not quite as effective in the half-court, but still manages to produce in a major way. Lacks consistency on his 3-point shot, which may be the biggest part of his game holding him back. Makes his 2-pointers fairly efficiently. First step allows him to get to free throw line at a very good rate. Tough to stop once he has a head of steam. Finishes with authority. Can jump over defenders if he has to. Not all that effective in pure one on one situation, lacks some advanced ball-handling skills and tends to settle quite a bit for tough pull-up jumpers. Would be best suited trying to use his athleticism to get to the rim more effectively, but must become more fluid with the ball to do so. Has most of his problems when he’s forced to pull up off the dribble. Very good passer. Can drive and dish. Will generally make good decisions with the ball, and has adjusted to being a primary offensive threat. Was a versatile offensive player as a rookie, but has blossomed as a scorer as well.
Defense: A tremendous defender who is arguably the most dynamic player maker on Philadelphia’s roster. Does a very good job reading the eyes of ball handlers and intercepting passes to create transition opportunities. Has the quickness and length to effectively deny penetration. Will make some plays blocking shots as well. Gives more effort than almost every elite scorer the League has to offer. Very good rebounder as well. The type of player that coaches love.
Some of the things that stick out in my mind are "very good passer", "tremendous defender", "productive all-around player", "tremendous ahleticism", "very good rebounder," etc. These are the exact qualities that we are looking for in a shooting guard. Yes Turner is a better facilitator than Iguodala but Iggy is a better athlete and likely is the better defender. Either one of them would fit well in Rambis' system, and Iggy skills in transition would be a much better compliment than Turner with Rubio.
If Philly selects Turner at #2 they are going against history, creating a redundacy problem on the perimeter in terms of skillsets, and pushing a Top 4 big with the potential to be that elusive two-way big right into the Wolves hands. This should be celebrated not bemoaned. SnP referenced in one of the many lottery reaction threads that his ideal situation was to land #2 and draft Turner and overpay for #4 and draft Favors, which I can agree would be quite a haul; but if the Sixers select Turner, we can still win by selecting Cousins or Favors and overpaying for Iggy instead of #4. I'd even argue that attaining Iggy is cheaper in terms of assets than acquiring #4 would have been in that dream scenario. The prospects of finding a wing player in Free Agency and Trade are much better than finding that elusive two-way big in those same avenues. Celebrate Evan Turner as a Philadelphia 76'er and hope that either this off-season or by the trade deadline next season that we have the ammunition to get Iggy because this team will be closer to championship with Favors or Cousins and Iggy than Turner and any big we could acquire via trade or free agency.