Versatile Big Man Target Would Transform Warriors’ Offense: Analyst

Myles Turner Julius Randle

Getty Myles Turner defends Julius Randle during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks.

The Steph-Klay-Dray contingent notwithstanding, one could make the argument that Kevon Looney has been one of the players of the postseason so far for the Golden State Warriors. Yes, that Kevon Looney — the career 4.7 PPG scorer who some would say became the starting center by default.

While pundits pointed to the Dubs’ inability to match opponents’ size as a playoff weakness, the 6-foot-9 Looney has nonetheless managed to have more than his share of standout moments. Like when he grabbed 22 rebounds in the close-out win over the Grizzlies, or when he went for 21 points and 12 boards in Game 2 against the Mavs.

Still, there’s no denying the fact that Golden State could benefit from the presence of a pivot who’s just a little bit taller, bulkier and more versatile offensively.

With that in mind, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley just namechecked Pacers big man Myles Turner as the Warriors’ “dream target” this offseason.


An Upgrade on Both Ends


Myles Turner’s 32 PTS & 10 REB lead Pacers to victoryMyles Turner puts up a double-double of 32 PTS & 10 REB as the Indiana Pacers top the Houston Rockets, 118-106. ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/SUBSCRIBEtoNBAonESPN ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: es.pn/YouTubeTV2021-12-24T02:33:03Z

“All due respect to Kevon Looney, who’s had some awesome moments in this playoff run, but if the Golden State Warriors want to upgrade their roster this summer, center still seems the most logical choice,” wrote the hoops scribe, who further noted that some of the numbers paint a less rosy picture of Looney’s on-court impact in the position.

“Among the seven Dubs to appear in at least 13 postseason games this year, Looney lands seventh in raw plus/minus (plus-three over 287 minutes).”

Meanwhile, Turner is one of the best two-way bigs in the Association. Injury-shortened though his campaign was, the 26-year-old put up 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest in 2021-22. He’s also a career 34.9% shooter from three-point range, an attribute Buckley believes would unlock the full potential of Golden State’s attack.

“Turner’s shooting is key, since it could widen the attack lanes for what has been this postseason’s second-most efficient offense,” he added.

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What Would a Turner Trade Look Like

As it stands, Turner has one year and at least $17.5 million remaining on his contract; he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2023. Given the Warriors’ wild cap and tax situation, though, a trade this offseason or at next year’s dealing deadline would be the club’s best avenue toward acquiring him.

Former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman is a no-brainer inclusion in any hypothetical deal; if they Pacers opt for a full-scale rebuild, he’s a potential star who could take Turner’s place in the middle. From there, it’s simply a matter of salary matching.

Jonathan Kuminga fits the bill from a sheer numbers standpoint, but it’s difficult to see the Warriors dealing him and Wiseman for Turner at this point in time. So, they’d instead have to cobble together multiple smaller contracts or involve a third team to facilitate Turner’s move westward.

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