The Indiana Pacers grabbed one of the best players in the 2015 NBA draft when the selected Myles Turner and he’s rewarded them with plenty of big plays.
We’ve come a long way since watching Myles Turner get his first NBA bucket on a tip-slam against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Indiana Pacers center shows us time and time again he isn’t a typical NBA big man, but one that belongs in any NBA unicorn conversation.
In just two seasons he is already one of the top 50 players in the NBA and will find himself on an All-Star team soon enough.
But before worrying about the future, let’s take a look back at a few of the best plays in Turner’s young career.
Myles Turner’s first 3-pointer
Myles Turner had 3-point potential from the moment he came into the NBA, but it took time for it to become readily apparent.
After missing his first two attempts and missing part of his rookie season with injury we finally saw Myles hit his first 3-pointer on February 29, 2016.
Not only was it his first, but he leveled the game with the Oklahoma City Thunder with that shot. Indiana went on to win the game thanks in part to Turner bailing them out after Monta Ellis’ pass landed at his feet.
Turner hasn’t fully embraced the 3-pointer in his NBA career but it is coming. Last season he took 1.5 attempts a game and that should increase in this upcoming season. So far he is 43 of 129 in his career, shooting an acceptable 33.3%. If he continues to improve, his offense will begin to match the high-level of defense we’ve already seen him play.
Turner cleans up after himself
This year’s playoff run for the Indiana Pacers won’t be remembered as more than the fading days of Paul George’s time in blue and gold, but there were a few moments worth holding on to.
One of them being this dunk from Myles Turner off his own missed shot.
Let this be a mini-lesson in analytics: Mid-range shots have a low return on investment whereas dunks are nearly a sure thing.
While Turner won’t be mistaken for the most athletic player in the NBA, he showed that he isn’t a statue either.
Turner is one of the best players in the NBA on put-backs, and this was just another example of his ability to read the play and use his massive wingspan to grab the rebound and pound it home.
Myles takes the ball away from Tarik Black
If you take the ball out of the hands of a player in the air, is it a block or a steal?
The stat keepers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse might have contemplated this question after watching Myles Turner remove the ball from Tarik Black’s hands as the Los Angeles Lakers center went up for a dunk.
The play was just disrespectful. It is one thing to block a man’s shot, it is another to try to take away his livelihood.
On top of the two points saved on the defensive end, the play ended in a 3-pointer for the Pacers off Turner’s assist. That shows you the value of not trying to swat the ball into the stands every time.
Blocking King James
Myles has a habit of making big plays against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and this was the best of any of them.
It may seem easy to pick the block of LeBron James as his number one play, but it rightly should be. At the time Myles Turner wasn’t much of a name outside of Indiana, but once he blocked LeBron it was hard to ignore Turner any longer.
It wasn’t a help-block either. LeBron began to carve up the Pacers defense in transition and went to the rim for what usually was an easy basket. Turner knew they were going to end up in the SportsCenter Top 10, the only question was who was going to be the winner or loser on the play.
“It was a huge turning point in my career,” Turner says now of the block. “I actually closed my eyes and if you look at the video, you see my eyes were closed. I knew I was gonna be on SportsCenter one way or the other. I didn’t realize the effect it had on me until it blew up on social media. Looking at it, it was really a defining moment.”
That round went to Myles Turner.
Last year’s slog of a season didn’t give Turner too many chances to top this top play, but that shouldn’t be an issue this season as he takes over as the face of the team. Something tells me this won’t be the defining play of his career for much longer.
There were a few honorable mentions that didn’t make this list, including Turner’s swat of John Wall, coming out of nowhere to block Robert Covington, his clutch step-back 3-pointer against the Charlotte Hornets.
This is far from a complete list, so let us know any of your favorite plays from Myles Turner on Twitter or in the comments below.