Yesterday I posted five reasons why the Sixers should pick Evan Turner number two overall. Today I'll post a counter, making the case for Derrick Favors. By the way, I'm geeked just to be having this debate.
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Evan Turner is clearly a better player than Derrick Favors at this stage in their careers, but who will be the better pro when all is said and done? I suppose the real question is, can the Sixers afford to gamble on an 18 year-old who may or may not live up to his superstar potential?
Turner has go-to scorer potential and projects to be an above average defender, but how much better can he get? He spent three years playing big minutes in the Big 10, and his game is as polished as any prospect. For better or worse, Turner probably is who he is at this point, with the potential for minimal-to-average improvement. Favors on the other hand played one year at Georgia Tech, and still has a lot of room to improve - especially offensively. Favors is also a full three years younger than Turner.
Turner's ceiling is a perennial all-star and go-to scorer, but Favors ceiling is Dwight Howard with Amare's offense. In my opinion, the likelihood of each reaching their ceiling is: Turner - 60%, Favors - 10%. Turner is clearly the safer choice, but there's a chance - if the Sixers take Turner over Favors - we could be looking back on this draft five years from now saying "I love Evan Turner and all, but we passed on that?!"
Note: If the NBA still allowed players to go straight from high school to the pros, Favors vs. Griffin would've been debated last year like Howard vs. Okafor was a few years back. Favors was the number one prospect coming out of high school.
As everyone has already pointed out, Turner might be an awkward fit for the Sixers. Favors is not only the better fit short-term, but also long-term.
Favors has the potential to be dominant defender who can anchor a championship defense - think Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett. He also has the potential to command a double-team every time he touches the ball, and be a go-to scorer in the half-court offense. Both fill significant needs for the Sixers - especially once Dalembert is gone - and neither interfere with Jrue or Andre.
As a matter of fact, Jrue and Favors would probably love playing with each other. One of Jrue's biggest strengths on offense is his pick and roll play. Unfortunately, he had to pass to guys like Dalembert, Brand, Speights, and Smith his rookie season - none of which possess both good hands and/or the ability to finish strong. Favors possesses both - they're his strongest offensive attributes at this stage in his development. Not only would Jrue/Favors be a sick combo on defense for years to come, they could turn into a to be a force to be reckoned with on offense - and Favors is only 18 years old.
Favors athleticism and ability to get out in transition also fit right in.
The major problems in drafting Favors over Turner are, he is much less marketable - the fans would probably riot, and there's chance he never lives up to his potential. I should also mention that Favors worst case scenario is somewhere in the Al Horford range. Stefanski would never survive passing on a perennial all-star who's dropping 20 points per game for the next Al Horford. I still say Turner is the pick, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't super-intrigued by the prospect of two 19-year old studs running the team.
Assuming the Sixers keep the pick - which they better - the final decision will come down to interviews, workouts and physicals. If there is even the slightest problem with Turner's back I'd quickly jump on the Favors bandwagon.
Note: According to Draft Express, Turner had one of the best interviews at the draft combine, and Favors was underwhelming.
Note #2: Turner had disappointing pre-draft measurements, while Favors' were impressive.