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Why Myles Turner should be Miami's first-round draft pick

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The former Texas big man is the perfect fit for today's NBA.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are in a very unique position in this draft.

They have a very strong core (provided they all return) in Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Hassan Whiteside -- which is as good as any starting five in the NBA and when you add Josh McRoberts as a 6th man you're looking at a contender for a top four seed in the East.

Beyond that, however, the team is littered with question marks. Chris Andersen is starting to get up there in age. Mario Chalmers is fresh off his worst shooting career as a pro, and if he doesn't solve that problem he may find himself buried on the bench come playoff time. Tyler Johnson had a solid season as a reserve but banking on production from him seems unsafe.  Shabazz Napier, James Ennis and Henry Walker are all relative unknowns as well.

Back to the draft. Outside of Bosh and probably Dragic, the Heat don't really have much committed to any one specific position going forwards. They can draft a player at any position knowing that the player they choose will one day be able to start - it isn't like they're sitting on a Jabari Parker who they know will be their starting small forward for the next (hopefully) 10-12 years.

With all that said, I'm of the belief that Myles Turner makes the most sense for the Heat at No. 10. I understand the strong desire amongst Heat fans to select a wing player that will hopefully take over for Dwyane Wade one day, but I don't think a player of that caliber is on the board by the time the team makes their selection. Devin Booker, Stanley Johnson and Kelly Oubre are all fine players and I think can all carve out nice NBA careers but I believe that Turner has the potential to be a game-changer.

Turner has the size to anchor an NBA defense - his standing reach of 9'4" was second at this year's combine and is just one inch shorter than that of current Heat center Hassan Whiteside.  His defensive numbers last season at Texas compare very favorably to some of the NBA's recent elite prospects (all numbers and analysis per Draft Express).


Defensive Rebounds/40


Myles Turner



Karl Towns



Joel Embiid



Nerlens Noel



"While not an explosive athlete, Turner combines his plus length with excellent timing and great shot blocking instincts to be a consistent factor on this end of the court. Similarly, while Turner could certainly stand to fill out his frame with much-needed strength, he has good technique on the defensive glass and shows a nose for the ball, and does a good job collecting rebounds outside of his area for a guy who isn't all that quick."

While Turner's defensive potential is intriguing enough it's his offensive abilities that make him really stand out to me. The NBA is clearly evolving towards a more 3-point-centric league - Serge Ibaka took 205 threes this season after taking a combined 123 in the five seasons prior. Bigs that can shoot the floor are a hot commodity and Turner certainly fits the mold. We once again look to Draft Express for a breakdown:

"Offensively, Turner's primary weapon at this stage of the game is his jump shot. With a high release point, soft touch, and a quick, decisive release for a big man, Turner's ability to score from the perimeter is a dangerous and coveted skill for the 6'11" freshman. Turner flashes range (albeit inconsistently) out to the collegiate three-point line, where he hit 17 threes on the year on a 27.4% clip. A more realized use of his jump shot has been from midrange and, especially, from the free throw line, where Turner connected on an excellent 83.9% of his attempts this season."

Finding a big that can shoot threes is difficult. Finding a big that can shoot threes and adequately defend the rim is tougher. Finding a big that can shoot threes and be an elite rim protector is near impossible. Myles Turner has the potential to be one of those.

While there are other players on the board who might be more logical fits, the Heat are in a position where they can take the best player available, and in today's NBA, that just might be Mr. Turner.