Myles Turner wants a new home.
That sentiment was made very clear when the Indiana Pacers center had his name in the NBA trade rumor mill since the offseason, with teams including the Los Angeles Lakers vying to be potential suitors. It seems the big man is ready to update his resume with a new franchise, and has done much to advocate for himself, and tune up his proverbial cover letter.
The former University of Texas standout went on the Woj Pod to speak with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on a bevy of topics. This included whether or not the Lakers should concede two picks in a deal for him, featuring Russell Westbrook:
“If I’m the Lakers, I take a very hard look at this, with the position that you’re in,” Turner said succinctly. “I know what I can provide for a team, you know, my leadership, my shot-blocking, my 3-point ability, and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor, and I take a very long look at it.”
Turner must have taken a long look at it himself and saw all the dominos falling into place in a perfect world. The Pacers’ middle man is a competent big who fits today’s style of play. All of his self-aggrandizing remarks have merit to them. He shoots nearly 35 percent from 3 for his career, and is donning a 37.5 percent clip this season.
If he were on the Lakers currently, he’d be the third most efficient shooter from distance on the roster – playing meaningful minutes – behind only Matt Ryan and Austin Reaves. Only 26.1 percent of L.A’s total points per game are from distance. That’s a problem for the 29th ranked team in that category league-wide.
He’d also help their defense and rim protection greatly. The Lakers only have one player not named Anthony Davis averaging more than one block per game.
While they have the second best defensive rating in the NBA at 104.7, the Lakers leave a lot to be desired in stopping the fast break, where they allow 19 points per game in that area, good for 27th in “the A.” Turner – a very mobile big – would be able to get back in transition and potentially stop freebies at the rim.
The Lakers are struggling immensely thus far, picking up their long-awaited first win of the season against the Denver Nuggets last night. What they need most are 3-and-D players who can bury the long ball in a variety of ways. While Westbrook satisfies half of the requirement with effort on the defensive end, his 20 percent shooting from distance is simply killing a Lakers squad already devoid of shooting. Turner would be a strong band-aid solution, until more reinforcements come.
And as for the pick situation, the Lakers are tied to the New Orleans Pelicans for the next three years, in either pick-swaps or outright ownership of rights. After 2025, the Lakers own their first and second round picks.
LeBron James has been vocal about wanting to play with his son Bronny in at least one regular season in the future. If the Lakers want that historically groundbreaking feat to occur with their franchise as a part of it, they will need to sacrifice picks to get players that can remedy their ailment.
How does this impact the Blazers? Well the Lakers may still being a projected threat at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff / play-in standings come season’s end, and we’ve already seen twice over what an Anthony Davis-led ball club can do to Damian Lillard and the Blazers in the postseason.
On top of that, Portland is rolling, enjoying their best start in a decade. And they have a way to improve their roster, and spoil the Lakers in the process, by offering up Jusuf Nurkic for the big man of focus here.
Nurkic has played relatively well to start the season, but his lack of defense, rim protection, and three point shooting, coupled with his oft butterfingers in close, spell out a potential chance for Portland to improve in a multitude of areas. Turner would help the 21st defense in points in the paint, and add such an energy boost to a Blazers squad that looks like they could exceed expectations this season.
Jeanie Buss and company have a lot of decision-making to do, and in the process, general manager Joe Cronin could add to an already successful string of moves by transforming the Blazers’ interior defense.