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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s easily the biggest talking point at a single player of the Indiana Pacers.
Why isn’t Myles Turner more effective in the low post?
Talk radio the next few months will continue to debate this point.
Such conversation has happened with the higher-ups of the Pacers and they know, for them to take the next step as a team, a more well-rounded Turner is needed.
“Myles became a magnet,” is how head coach Nate McMillan described Turner’s 2017-18 campaign.
The magnet halted Turner, restricting him more to the perimeter, something you don’t typically see from a player of his size.
McMillan certainly acknowledges the rare trait Turner brings in stretching the floor. But the Pacers still need to see continued growth in the low post, and especially on the defensive/rebounding end of the floor.
“He knows he needs to be more physical, stronger, bigger, mentally focusing on defending and rebounding the basketball,” McMillan says. “He really took a pounding. That was an area where he felt he wanted to improve. Strength, confidence, playing in the paint, defending in the paint. I don’t have a problem with him shooting the 3. He’s a good shooter. He’s very capable of knocking down that shot. The game has kind of gone in that direction and we want to take advantage of his ability to spread the floor.
“We do want more focus on the defensive end, defending the basket, rebounding the ball, bringing that physical presence to the paint, because his position requires he does that, playing at the 5 position. We haven’t been a really good rebounding team and we can be better. He can be better. Offensively, continue to work on your game, but we want more focus on the defensive end of the floor, defending, blocking shots. With bigs at that 4/5 position, it takes them a couple of seasons to go through and play that position and realize, ‘I need to bulk up. I need to get stronger. Mentally, I’ve got to get tougher and realize, I’ve got to play in the paint a little bit more.’ I think this offseason, he’s done the things that will make him feel confident to come back and play that position.”
Turner’s apporach this offseason was specific.
“I wanted to push myself to new limits, really improve my body, my diet, my overall game and my mindset,” Turner says.
The big man feels himself moving better on the floor and feels “looser” on the court.
Will that translate to him being able to defend at a more consistent level?
The defending the rim aspect to Turner’s game really trickled off last season.
Early in the year, Turner was leading the league in blocking multiple shots per game.
But once the calendar turned to 2018, that blocked shot number hovered much closer to 1 per game, and dipped below 1 in the playoff series loss to the Cavs.
Offensively, as last season moved along, teams were not afraid to switch smaller guys onto Turner, knowing that matchup wasn’t as big of a discrepancy as the height advantage itself indicated.
That has to change.
“He’s got to be able to at least post those guys up and be effective on those guys or demand a double team, which will lead to wide open threes,” Kevin Pritchard says of Turner, while adding the 22-year-old big man is in the ‘best shape of his life.’
“If he is just a shooting guy, that will take away from a lot of our offensive potential. He’s got to score 5 or 6 times down there and punish those guards down there.”
The Pacers will start their 2018-19 regualr season on Oct. 17 vs. Memphis.
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