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John Wall or Evan Turner?

We've got one more day to dream of the top 3 possibilities, so I suggest we go all out: New Orleans gets the number one pick. Who do they take? 

On the one hand, you've got John Wall, one of the most hyped prospects in recent memory. He's been talked about since his high school days, he made an immediate impact upon his arrival at one of the country's biggest college programs, and he's sustained his popularity among scouts for more than a year now. He's also very popular among fans, has an enormously impressive highlight reel, and has also popularized a, umm, unique dance. 

On the other hand, you've got Evan Turner, significantly less hyped than Wall. But he's had just as impressive a season, by some measures has actually been better, and has been endorsed by just as many scouts and other such persons of note. No way to go wrong, right?


Figure 1: The "dance"

New Orleans currently has the league's best point guard, the league's best backup point guard, and a pure-scoring shooting guard. Those three players run 6', 6', and 6'3". The back court provides ample creativity off the dribble and is undersized. I think it's pretty clear that if the Hornets take a guard, they need a wing rather than another lead guard. 

There are those that will advocate drafting the best player available, especially in the top 3 to 5 picks, every time. John Wall is seemingly universally considered the best player available in this year's draft. Is it warranted? Here are Wall's stats as a freshman and Turner's stats in his two years as full-time starter:











Evan Turner










John Wall










Turner's dominance is pretty remarkable. He's been more efficient, he creates more often and more efficiently, and he's had a larger role in his team's offense. His two biggest weaknesses- lack of range and turnover problems- aren't exactly Wall's biggest strengths. Let's not forget the fact that Turner has been repeatedly praised for his defensive ability and high defensive IQ. John Wall projects to be a plus defender himself, but at 6'7", Turner projects to have the ability to guard as many as three positions. 

In Wall's defense, he's 19 and Turner's 21. Wall has more impressive freshman stats than Turner did and will have two years to reach Turner's current level. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Wall become the better player at age 21 (possibly significantly better).

But even if you think Wall is and should be the consensus best player in the draft (like most GM's seemingly do), there's simply no way you can argue that it's clear-cut. Wall's biggest selling points are his age, his talent, and his potential to convert that talent into production. Turner is the more productive player right now, even if you want to argue he has less talent. 

Arguments advocating a Wall pick only because he's the consensus "best player" are flawed for that reason. The fact is, New Orleans got very lucky in last year's draft. Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton were both top five rookies last year (yes, Buckets was better per minute than Jennings and Curry but that's a topic for another day). To draft Wall would be to ignore their contributions completely in order to acquire a player that may or may not even be the mythical "best player available."

It would be almost as stupid as spending an hour writing a post that will, with 99.2% certainty, be completely irrelevant come Tuesday.