The Denver Nuggets have started the 2022-23 NBA season strong, winning nine of their first 13 games based on their impressive offensive production. With that said, Denver will have to maintain their current form on offense, while improving gradually on the defensive end if they want to compete deep into the playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets currently hold the 24th-worst defensive rating in the NBA, allowing 113.3 points per 100 possessions. In addition, they’re allowing opponents to shoot 48.8 percent from the field, which is exacerbated by the fact that tons of easy baskets are scored under the rim. While we would love to see them improve organically, trading for a piece that could help the team find its balance on both ends would be the ideal move.
Enter Myles Turner.
Turner is expected to be traded at some point during the 2022-23 NBA season, and the move makes too much sense given Denver’s recent struggles on defense. Turner is a part of the rebuilding process in Indiana, but the Pacers will soon look to increase the minutes of their young core and as a result, the veteran center might be in for a change of scenery.
If that’s the case, Turner will be expendable for the Pacers and the Nuggets will have to make a decision. There’s no question that Myles Turner would be an improvement in their current front-court rotation, and even fill in at the back-up center position if need be.
Most importantly, however, he would provide a much-needed boost to the Denver Nuggets’ 26th-ranked interior defense, as Turner currently leads the NBA in blocks (3.1 per game) and has been near the top of the list for consecutive seasons now.
In fact, Myles Turner is currently having one of the best statistical seasons of his young career. He’s averaging 17.9 points shooting better than 50 percent from the field and making more than 37 percent of his shots from beyond the arc on 3.9 attempts per game. In addition to his efficient scoring, Turner is also grabbing 8.7 rebounds a night in just 28.2 minutes of action. This level of production cannot go unnoticed.
Denver Nuggets find a competent Nikola Jokic backup
The Nuggets are already a great team, but adding a player like Turner would help them cement their place at the top as a team that can win with their offense as well as their defense. After all, let’s not forget that all the teams that made it to the NBA Finals in each of the last three seasons were top-five on both ends of the floor. Having a 26th-ranked defensive rating just won’t cut it for a contender.
Turner is an excellent shot blocker, and he’s improved in navigating the Pacers’ defense over the last few seasons. With him on the floor, the Pacers are in the 74th percentile in points per 100 possessions allowing 5.3 points less, per Cleaning The Glass. Despite pairing him with other bigs, the effect Turner has on the Pacers’ defense cannot be denied.
This season, the veteran center thrives playing alongside other big men like Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson. In the same manner, his shooting and offensive versatility will allow him to play alongside back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic. Through seven games, the veteran big is taking 6.6 trips to the free throw line posting shooting splits of 50.7/37.0/84.8.
Having a competent backup behind Jokic will be a nice change of pace for Michael Malone, who has looked for ways to improve bench production on both ends early in the season. In a potential scenario that the Denver Nuggets find a way to trade for Turner, Denver will have the chance to reduce Nikola Jokic’s workload and keep him fresh for the postseason.
DeAndre Jordan has done a delightful job in backing up Jokic so far, but he’s definitely removed from his prime years and his ability to stay on the floor for more than 10-15 minutes is questionable, in my opinion. In any case, Myles Turner would add another dimension to a frontcourt that lacks shooting and rim protecting, ultimately elevating the Nuggets’ sluggish defense.
Unfortunately, trading for him will not be an easy task, as the Pacers are looking for immense draft capital in return for the former Texas product. There’s also high demand for him right now with the Lakers being reported as a potential suitor as well.
Although, with Turner being in the final year of his four-year $80 million deal ($17.5 million annual base salary), the 26-year-old could be a gettable and necessary asset for the Denver Nuggets.