What I learned from watching every shot Myles Turner took last year

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Myles Turner
MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Myles Turner /

I wanted to get a feel for how Myles Turner might shoot the ball going into his third season, but I didn’t want to cut corners. Here’s my (slightly crazy) solution.

Myles Turner is a stud, no two ways about it.

He’s got insane potential on both ends of the court, he’s already produced at a high level in 152 NBA games, and he’s been of legal drinking age in the US for 14 of them.

Turner has a reputation around the league as a sweet shooter, and he’s definitely earned it. However, I’m always looking for ways to stay vigilant and not let myself fall into groupthink, and when the team at 8p9s was planning Myles Turner week, I saw a perfect opportunity to do that.

The best way to truly evaluate Turner as a shooter is to watch him shoot, and the higher the sample the better, right? I decided to re-watch every shot Myles Turner took during the 2016-17 regular season as all-in-a-row as I possibly could. This is what I learned.

(Spoiler alert: his reputation is deserved)

Down Low

Let’s start where Turner is reportedly working the hardest this summer: the post. Last season, Turner attempted 321 shots from less than five feet from the rim. They came about in all sorts of ways — rolls to the rim, entry passes into post-ups, tip-ins off a miss — all adding up to 224 makes and, if numbers mean what I think they do, 97 misses.

Turner’s percentage from less than five feet is a sterling 69.8 percent. Only LeBron James, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard had better percentages on more attempts last season. That’s not bad company to keep.

It’s fair to entertain that such a stellar figure exists despite Turner’s post-up game and not because of it. He’s no slouch, but his moves are very limited. Nine times out of 10, Turner will end up trying to shoot over the top of his defender’s head, which works about as often as it doesn’t. If he tries to get fancy with a hook or step back, things don’t always end well.

I am by no means saying that Turner should focus on his post game more than other facets. I’d actually prefer the opposite. That said, he should probably be able to win this matchup with force, instead of settling for a half-turnaround, half-hook mixture.

On that note, Turner isn’t known for his ability to finish through contact, and he shouldn’t be. He’s not without his flashes, though. Here’s an encouraging example against the Memphis Grizzlies.


This is where Turner earns his stripes and where he’s most lethal. Eventually, the hope is he converts a lot of these attempts into 3-pointers, but last season, Turner was an absolute monster from 18-20 feet, to the extent that he almost crossed into efficient territory. Not quite, but almost.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

From 15-19 feet, only eight players bested Turner’s 42.7 percent on more attempts, and only one of them, Marcus Morris, wasn’t an All-Star last February. Turner is really good at this.

His shooting form from just inside the arc is silky smooth, as is his gather into it from the pick-and-pop. He and Jeff Teague made quite the pair last season, burning defenses over and over. I’d be shocked if a single game went by where Turner didn’t have at least one, maybe two, wide open looks after Teague pulled both defenders in then kicked it out to Turner above the left elbow. It’s very easy on the eyes.

Behind the arc

This is where most Pacers fans hope to see Turner’s game explode next season, and last year gave them plenty of reason to hope freely. After a shaky start, Turner averaged 34.8 percent from long range. That’s slightly below league average, but for a center, it’s a great sign.

We saw real growth in Turner’s 3-point range last season. I mentioned his shaky start already (25.0 percent in October, 29.4 percent in November), but as clip after clip played, I saw him grow more and more comfortable stretching out that far. His form got cleaner, his release got quicker, and it just felt like more were going in.

In January, he was on fire, draining an astonishing 50 percent of his 3s. Those are video game numbers, and he did it across an entire month, with gusto I might add.

(Note: that clip is actually from December, but I just needed an excuse to include it.)

Turner still has a lot of room to grow as a 3-point shooter, but that almost makes it even more exciting. He showed last year that he can make serious strides over the course of a regular season, so who knows where he might be this time next year?

Next: Myles Turner is going to need a new bank account

My biggest takeaway from this exercise? I can’t wait to watch the first shot of next season.