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It's hard not to see Myles Turner's name pop up in trade talks and not get infatuated with the idea of the Toronto Raptors making a deal.

Heck, Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri have reportedly had their eyes on the Indiana Pacers' 6-foot-11 big in the past, according to Josh Lewenberg. But even with Toronto's gaping frontcourt holes these days, adding Turner isn't as straightforward as it seems.

Why It Works

Turner would slide easily into Toronto's starting center spot, moving Khem Birch, when healthy, to the bench, and Precious Achiuwa to backup big minutes at both center and power forward. From a minutes perspective, it works perfectly.

Offensively, Turner spaces the floor like few other bigs in the NBA. He's shooting 39.7% from three-point range this season, mostly on above-the-break catch-and-shoot looks. He'd give Toronto a pick-and-pop player who would open things up inside for Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby without being a high-usage big like fellow Pacers big Domantas Sabonis.

Defensively, he'd lock down the paint for Toronto, where Raptors opponents are shooting 63.3% within five feet of the rim, the eighth-worst percentage in the league defensively. Turner, conversely, is a prolific shot-blocker who ranks amongst the league's best interior defenders.

Why It's Complicated

The Raptors have gone all-in on versatility this season and are pushing the boundaries of the switch-everything defensive strategy. They want to get right into opposing scorers, disrupt offensive flow, and are willing to switch their bigs onto the perimeter when necessary.

That's, unfortunately, where things get a little complicated with Turner, a more traditional big who has struggled to defend when pulled away from the basket. While he is certainly athletic for a big, opposing teams have found success when Turner steps outside, albeit in limited attempts. 

But is it a deal-breaker for Toronto? AllPacers reporter Ben Stinar doesn't think so.

"If it's something that he did struggle with initially maybe switching into that system, I think he's athletic and gives enough pride on the defensive end to get better at that," Stinar said. "I don't think it's a situation where it's like Rudy Gobert where it's like he really is not a guy you want running around the perimeter. I think Myles can do a little more than that."


Trading for Turner is certainly a risk given what the Raptors are trying to do defensively and where they are in the standings, just a game ahead of the Pacers. 

Fortunately for Toronto, the Raptors should have the inside scoop on who Turner is as a player and just how versatile he is as a defender considering former Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren is consulting for Toronto this year. If he green lights the fit, the Raptors should do what it takes to acquire one of the few available and talented bigs on the market.

Further Reading

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