The Indiana Pacers fell to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday but one of the bright spots was Myles Turner’s rookie debut. Turner was 4 of 6 on the night with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block which isn’t overwhelming statically but what he did show was the potential he has in the NBA.
On offense his first attempt rimmed out but looked like a good shot as Brandan Wright had given him room to work with. But on Turner’s next attempt there was little doubt of it going in.
The play was set up by winning a jump ball, one he had forced by blocking the ever-living crap out of Jeff Green. After winning the tip he charged down to the other end and scored his first NBA bucket with plenty of style after Wright’s defense of Monta Ellis created a miss but opened up the paint to Turner.
All of this was in his first 20 seconds as a Pacer.
Here is the whole sequence in all it’s glory. Welcome to the NBA, rook.
Myles next attempt was another shot from range and perhaps learning from his first attempt over Wright, he took a step back jumper from 21 feet away that found the bottom of the net. His next was from 13 feet over Wright again as most big men aren’t going to be used to guarding too far away from the rim.
He missed his next attempt as he was a little off-balance. It was a miss but he had created room out of the triple-threat position before Green closed in again. I wouldn’t call Turner a ball-handler, but it looked like Wright was respecting that Turner could go by him if he played him too close at first but then sensed Turner wanted to shoot and closed out.
In the fourth quarter Myles’ final shot came from the top of the key when Wright didn’t respect Turner’s range. Myles made him pay with beautiful jump shot. In the picture below it may look like Matt Barnes (22) is covering him, but his eyes were mostly on C.J. Miles (0) out beyond the arc so Turner had no pressure on his shot.
Wright has played Turner tightly enough that he didn’t get caught charging out to recover but I’d like to see what happens when Turner catches them trying to close out and gets them with a ball fake. According to Ed Isaacson of Hoops Habit, that is in his arsenal so it will be interesting to see what happens when scouting reports tell whoever is guarding him that he’s shown range up to 21 feet so far in the NBA.
The other thing I want to see is if he can pass out of a position like this. If on this play he wasn’t as open and Chase Budinger (10) or Monta Ellis (11) were making a cut that might be an even more desirable option. It is hard to know if he can pass well as Turner’s time in college and summer league saw him being the best player on his team, and thus the primary or secondary scoring option.
On the defensive end he grabbed three rebounds (and the one on offense with the tip slam) but there wasn’t much to gather from them as two were certainly in his area and he retrieved them but there was one the stood out later in the game. On the play things got chaotic when he initially stuck his hand in a passing land to stop a pass to Wright but the ball ended up in the hands of Tony Allen. Allen missed his shot and even though Turner wasn’t in position he created a rebound by swatting at the ball and tipping it to himself. When you can turn what should be an offensive rebound into a break the other direction then you are doing more than just waiting for the ball to come your way.
More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds
- 2 Studs, 1 dud from gut-wrenching Indiana Pacers loss to Charlotte Hornets
- Handing out early-season grades for Pacers’ Bruce Brown, Obi Toppin
- 3 positives, 2 negatives in Pacers In-Season Tournament win vs. Cavaliers
- 2 positives, 3 negatives from first week of Indiana Pacers basketball
- Should Isaiah Jackson’s days with Indiana Pacers be numbered?
The biggest knock I have against Turner in his debut is he committed two turnovers on outlet passes. The first wasn’t so bad in imagination as it was in execution. He as falling out of bounds rebounding the ball and a bit too softly heaved a pass towards Chase Budinger. C.J. Miles was just feet away but Turner didn’t see him and was forced to try heaving it downcourt. George Hill was close too but somewhat guarded so Turner’s options were limited. The pass was picked off by Matt Barnes and Turner picked up a foul trying to stop Mike Conley.
The second turnover was less forgivable as it was just a rushed, lofted pass after a steal. Looking for the outlet is the right idea, but Turner has to make sure the passes get there. It is a little overly critical to complain about the first turnover but making the same mistake twice is somewhat annoying.
Overall though the performance was a good start to Myles Turner’s career in Indiana.
For the most part he showed the right instincts and played with energy during his 18 minutes on the court. His shooting was the most impressive as he showed his range and will force defenders to respect that if he keeps it up. Turner will almost undoubtedly struggle at points when those scouting reports pick up on his other tendencies but that’s all part of the rookie process.