Earlier this week Chad Ford
jumped our favorite Haitian (sorry Wyclef) up five spots to #11 in his mock draft. Why? Well the biggest reason has been the emergence of Myles Turner on the Indiana Pacers and their playoff run. Here's a bit of what Ford wrote about our former center:
It’s tough to know where exactly to slot Labissiere, but with Myles Turner playing a big role in the playoffs after scouts feared he’d take years to develop, teams might be less risk averse to select him than in years past.
Turner was once a Kentucky recruit but after he selected Texas and fell into obscurity under Rick Barnes. Now he and the Pacers are on the verge of taking the second seeded Raptors to game seven. So why is that impacting Skal's draft stock? Well it turns out the big men have a lot in common.
A High School Superstar
Coming out of high school, both players were ranked near the top of their class. Myles Turner
was the sixth ranked player in his class and the third best Center behind Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns. Skal
was the second best player in the class against a weaker crop of big men. The similarities don't end there, just check out the overall summary from Turner's NBADraft.net
"[He's] is a very intriguing prospect due to his length, offensive foundation, and defined NBA position ... At just 18 years of age, he has plenty of room to grow, and a very high ceiling ... A lot of his early shortcomings, are things that can be ironed out or improved upon with experience and physical maturation ... The biggest hump for him will be adjusting to the size and strength of NBA players ... The fact he has such a good jump shot, and the length to help make up for defensive mistakes will aid in his transition ... Not really an NBA ready guy, how well he's able to adjust and how much he grows as a player will determine whether he's a star or a role player, but he already has a fantastic foundation for an NBA stretch 4 at just 18 years of age ..."
Seems like most of that you could copy and paste over for Skal. However, for both of the big men those skills did not materialize on the college level.
A Disappointing One-and-Done
Earlier this week Mike DeCourcy of the sporting news wrote a post titled "Myles Turner 'was born for' NBA, not NCAA, and is showing it in playoffs"
In Turner's one season at Texas his stats were wildly inconsistent. In his fifth collegiate game Myles scored 25 points in 25 minutes. In his final NCAA tournament game against Butler he scored just 2 points in 16 minutes. As the season went in Turner went from focal point of the Longhorns' offense to struggling to get into the game for extended minutes. DeCourcy summed it up
It wasn’t that Turner appeared disinterested when he played at Texas. He didn’t play with confidence or aggression. He is much too bright not to have understood what Texas wanted from him. He seemed to want to be playing a different game and, in the end, that turned out to be true.
For Skal his lone season featured the same bouts of inconsistency. Bookending the season against NJIT and LSU, Skal looked sensational. He scored in a variety of ways and got it done on both ends of the floor. However, as Cal tried to push him to adapt his game Labissiere appeared to lose confidence and never find his role on the floor. He really looked to be playing a different game.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]
In Turner's first NBA season he's already making a bigger impact than he ever had at Texas. He's averaging 10.6 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks so far in the playoffs and is proving to be one of the steals of last year's draft. When people try to say that Skal "isn't ready" for the NBA, Myles Turner is the case for why he has to go. Skal may not have the same level of success that Turner had during his first year but turning down the association could cost him millions and lower his draft stock further. If Turner would have returned to Texas for a second year it is likely his stock would have dropped further as new coach Shaka Smart figured out how to utilize him in his system.
As Myles Turner has proven, sometimes life is all about fit and it may be the case that Skal is better suited for the open spacing of the NBA.