NBA Draft 2010: John Wall and Evan Turner

These are the two best prospects in this draft. Not much else to say. It is getting late in the process and the draft tonight should be good entertainment. If what I’m reading is correct and these two are the top 2 selections, that will be one thing the league gets right. 

John Wall, Kentucky: The consensus top pick since last summer. Wall has held onto that spot all year and his status as top dog has never really been in question, at least if what I’ve read is correct. Since he is considered the best, we should line him up against the best of all time. Here are the best PGs to come into the league in recent years in their freshmen seasons: 

Freshman PG

2 pt pct

3 pt pct

P40

A40

S40

A/TO

RSB40

Chris Paul

.511

.465

17.7

7.0

3.1

1.8

7.5

Allen Iverson

.455

.232

25.4

5.5

3.7

1.0

8.0

Jason Kidd

.537

.286

16.4

9.6

4.8

2.0

11.3

Steve Nash

.453

.408

13.6

3.6

1.4

1.1

5.9

Gary Payton

.470

.371

13.4

8.2

2.1

2.5

7.1

John Stockton

.578

n/a

13.3

5.8

2.9

1.5

4.9

Chauncey Billups

.446

.354

20.2

6.2

1.8

1.2

9.2

Penny Hardaway

.478

.363

19.3

6.1

2.8

1.5

12.0

Kenny Anderson

.544

.410

21.8

8.6

2.4

2.1

8.3

Terrell Brandon

.485

.436

19.4

6.5

1.9

1.7

6.0

Tim Hardaway

.521

n/a

16.4

6.0

2.2

1.9

5.7

Mark Jackson

.575

n/a

8.2

5.1

0.8

1.4

4.0

Rod Strickland

.497

n/a

16.4

6.0

2.6

1.9

6.0

Mark Price

.432

.440

22.3

3.6

2.2

1.0

6.4

Baron Davis

.624

.308

14.9

6.4

3.1

1.6

8.7

Mike Bibby

.497

.394

16.5

6.4

2.7

1.8

6.9

Gilbert Arenas

.527

.292

19.1

2.6

2.6

0.8

8.0

Stephon Marbury

.533

.370

20.2

4.8

1.9

1.4

5.4

Andre Miller

.557

.316

13.4

7.2

1.7

1.7

8.5

Deron Williams

.485

.354

9.3

6.7

2.1

2.5

6.7

Rajon Rondo

.583

.303

12.8

5.5

4.1

1.7

9.0

Derrick Rose

.521

.337

19.4

6.2

1.6

1.8

7.9

John Wall

.509

.325

18.2

7.1

2.0

1.6

7.2

 

It is still early, but I can say that John Wall fits in with this group fairly comfortably. As a PG he has shown he can run an offense, score with good efficiency and handle the physical side of the NBA. That pretty much sums up what a PG needs to do and Wall has it all covered. His career curve remains wide at this young age, but considering his natural ability, size and freshmen numbers, his range goes from solid player to superstar.

The thing that keeps nagging at me about John Wall is I think everyone is overrating him. The reason is there just isn’t one number that really stands out as dominating. That hasn’t always been necessary, but I’d have liked to have seen something dominating. Of the top PGs this decade, Paul and Rondo had the high number of steals. Rondo also had a high 2-point pct. Deron Williams and Derrick Rose each led a team less talented than Wall’s Kentucky team to the championship game. I might be nitpicking here, but I felt all year that the hype Wall received was a little overboard. I didn’t feel that his performance quite matched the hype.

That being on record, being slightly overrated shouldn’t keep Wall from being one of the top picks. Of the four who have been on top all season, Wall plays one of the most difficult positions to fill and he plays it well. I was very impressed by the way he has stepped up to defend his teammate Cousins during the draft process. Empathy for teammates is a great intangible skill for a future team leader to have. In the final analysis I feel John Wall will be slightly less of a player than recent PGs Paul, Williams, Rondo and Rose, but still a pretty solid NBA PG who will have a long career that includes an all-star appearance or three. Not really a knock on him, just an attempt to put some perspective on where he really stands.

Evan Turner, Ohio State: A very good year. Really this was almost a historic season by Evan Turner in how truly impressive it was. I can’t imagine how overboard the hype would have been if this season had been accomplished by a player from Duke or North Carolina. Turner scored like the best SGs, rebounded like a PF and passed like a PG. There wasn’t anything here not to like. That it came during his junior year is a bit of a puzzle, because it makes me wonder where this player had been for two seasons. Here are the numbers for his career: 

Evan Turner

2 pt pct

3 pt pct

P40

R40

A40

S40

B40

A/TO

Freshman

.528

.333

12.5

6.5

3.9

1.9

0.8

1.0

Sophomore

.507

.440

20.0

8.2

4.6

2.0

0.9

1.1

Junior

.540

.364

23.5

10.6

6.9

2.0

1.0

1.4

His numbers weren’t terribly different these three seasons. There was steady improvement, but his efficiency, passing and defensive numbers were always top notch. The biggest difference was he was he started getting more scoring opportunities as a sophomore and that continued his junior year. He took advantage, scoring at a similar pace. The rebounds and assists improved, but he was always an above-average passer and rebounder for a wing player. The steals and blocks stayed about the same, another good sign as it shows he didn’t stop hustling when he became a star. It looks like Turner’s great season was more a case of him being given the opportunity to emerge than him actually stepping his game up to top prospect level.

As far as comping him to other players, there really isn’t much point. He’s statistically better than most past NCAA players at this point. I’ll throw some tables up for comparison sake. Here are SFs who posted an ASB40 over 8.5: 

Player

ASB40

Adj FG pct

P40

R40

A/TO

Walt Williams

9.7

.534

16.9

5.6

1.2

Mark Davis

9.4

.524

21.4

10.5

1.3

Terrence Williams

9.4

.504

14.5

9.9

2.2

Luke Walton

9.4

.495

17.1

7.9

1.6

Grant Hill

9.2

.503

19.5

7.7

1.7

Robert Horry

8.9

.520

18.7

10.0

0.9

Rick Fox

8.7

.526

23.6

9.3

1.3

Ron Artest

8.7

.538

16.9

7.3

1.5

Danny Granger

8.6

.589

25.1

11.8

1.0

Chris Daniels

8.6

.540

13.7

9.9

1.5

Jim Jackson

8.6

.536

23.4

6.8

1.3

Evan Turner

9.9

.540

23.5

10.6

1.4

The only player here who clearly had a better season was Danny Granger, who did this as a senior in a weaker conference than Turner played in. Davis was pretty good too. I had mentioned Davis before, figuring him for a smallish PF who just happened to pass well. This wasn’t Grant Hill’s best season, but it was his best passing season. The point is Turner stacks up very well against a strong group here. Next I’ll look at an SG comp. Here are junior SGs who topped .500 2-point pct, 22.0 P40, 0.8 A/TO and 10.0 RSB40: 

Player

2 pt pct

P40

RSB40

A/TO

Dwyane Wade

.519

26.8

12.2

1.4

Michael Jordan

.551

26.5

10.9

1.0

Doug Christie

.514

22.9

10.1

1.3

Bob Sura

.562

24.6

12.7

1.1

Evan Turner

.540

23.5

13.2

1.4

That’s looking at him as a SG. Again my main point is to show that he’s in pretty good company whether we look at him as a guard or forward. He also would qualify for the impressive list of players who averaged at least 2 steals and 1 block per 40 minutes that I used to sell Paul George.  I could compare him with Grant Hill to show that Turner’s P40, R40 and A 40 from this year are better than Hill’s career highs in each number. I just can’t look at Evan Turner’s numbers and not gush with enthusiasm for him as a prospect.

I feel Evan Turner is the best prospect in this draft. He stacks up well with the best ever whether we’re talking about SGs or SFs. A look at his freshman and sophomore seasons suggests he was a great player in need of more scoring opportunities rather than a player who had yet to develop into a star. The only real concern would be his high TOs, but I’m comfortable writing that off as a symptom of playing out of position at PG and that he’ll be fine in the pros when he has a real PG to handle the playmaking. Evan Turner looks to me like he’ll eventually become one of the better wing players in the league. I guess there is also a chance he could become a Doug Christie or Rick Fox, but that’s a chance any team has to take. This is a player with multiple all-star appearances and accolades in his future. In the end his career might look more like that of a Grant Hill or Scottie Pippen than a LeBron James, but that’s still a pretty good player to land.

1 comment for “NBA Draft 2010: John Wall and Evan Turner

  1. Iso-Joe
    June 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I tend to agree with you here. Wall’s potential is almost mythical, and as a stock broker I know how people can get carried away with potential. The similarites with Derrick Rose (Wall) and Brandon Roy (Turner) are interesting in this regard – Rose is an athletic marvel and a good kid, but nowhere as productive as the hype would lead you to believe.
    Brandon Roy, otoh, came in so polished he was almost boring to write about. He quietly became a franchise player within 2 seasons. Rose still has many years before he reaches his peak, but there are no guarantees he’ll ever be as good as Roy.

    PS – Ed, thanks for your work, as always, and have a good draft.

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