(Originally posted at Upside & Motor)
The third play of the 2014 McDonalds All American game features Myles Turner hitting a deep three-pointer from NBA range off a pick-and-pop. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see more of that in the 2014 FIBA Americas U18, as Turner took a single three-pointer all tournament; one from the corner off a baseline inbounds pass in the third quarter of the championship game, with the outcome already decided. Billy Donovan had him playing the vast majority of his minutes as a true center, rather than using him as a stretch big, which limited his contribution on offense.
That’s because Team USA was a perimeter oriented team, with five wings posting usage rates over 20%, per realGM.com. Turner only got a touch in the block here and there, despite showing himself able to set decent position at this level. He flashed some intriguing passing skills but mostly tried to set up his right handed running hook, looking mechanical. And he was not provided an opportunity to show much out of the pick-and-roll. Turner proved himself a good screener, who looked to draw contact. Against this competition, the American guards needed a minimum of separation to just attack off the bounce and Turner was often not given the chance to dive to the basket and show whether or not he can catch the ball on the move. He finished only 13.1% of Team USA’s possessions with a shot, foul drawn or turnover. Nine of his 36 points came out of the foul line (mostly on cheap fouls by the overwhelmed opposition), where he showed an excellent release.
Turner performed particularly well protecting the rim, blocking 21.2% of opponents’ shots when he was on the floor, by far the best block rate in the tournament. Team USA pressed a ton (as it often does at the youth level in order to leverage its edge in athleticism) and Turner was often put in a difficult position, having opponents running at him with momentum. However, he did very well in those spots. He doesn’t explode off the ground to block shots but leaping isn’t a chore for him either as he actually looks quite comfortable doing it and his nine-foot-one standing reach was a dominant force at that level.
In the half-court, Donovan had Team USA hedging on the pick-and-roll and Turner didn’t do well, looking slow and uncomfortable in space. He possesses a lean 240-pound frame in the context of his seven-foot height, but still had a rebounding area above average for that level. Turner looked to box out more often than not and showed the ability to get the ball at a higher point than his opponents. He ranked outside the top 20 in defensive rebounding rate but that can be justified by him playing with two very good rebounding wings in Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.