The Tale of the Circle City Skyscrapers featuring Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis

Ben Gibson/Getty Images
Ben Gibson/Getty Images /

The Indiana Pacers struck gold with these two young bigs in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, but can they make it work in the years to come?

The Indiana Pacers have the best of “problems” if you want to call it that. The Pacers have a pair of both young and skilled centers which is hard to find in today’s NBA.

Both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner have established themselves as more than capable starters in this league, but can they make it work together?

The two budding big men seem to have the perfect mix of skills to make this experiment work, but it isn’t always that easy.

If you look up “unicorn” in the dictionary, there is a good chance you’ll see a picture of Myles Turner under it. Myles possesses a unique skill set for a player of his stature. His ability to not only send back shots with force but also shoot from deep with finesse is impressive.

The young Texas product is 6th in the league in smothered chickens since he entered the NBA in 2015 and deters most from even thinking about coming in the paint. And at just shy of 7 feet Myles can get his smooth jumper off on almost all defenders.

With an improving handle and vision, Turner is the marriage all execs search for, production and potential, not to mention he’s only 21.

Though you can surely tag Myles with the “unicorn” label, he has his own weaknesses as well. This is where Sabonis comes in. Domas can be defined as a “bring your lunch pail” and grab a double-double while you’re at it type of player with skills that defy the label.

Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers
BROOKLYN, NY – FEBRUARY 14: Dante Cunningham #44 and Spencer Dinwiddie #8 of the Brooklyn Nets box out Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers during the game between the two teams on February 14, 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Matteo Marchi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Sabonis has a refined low post game and ranks among the best on the glass in the game. Not to mention that Domas has an uncanny feel for the game at such a young age. The Gonzaga graduate has shown good hands and impeccable footwork on the block to go with an improving jump shot.

Another bonus with Sabonis? He’s barely old enough to have a beer.

These two can be an offensive tandem that 29 teams would hate to see. Because of the skills that they possess, the inside out game could be a lethal combination. Once they convert more of that potential into production, they’re gonna be a match-up nightmare.

And did I mention they’re both 21?

A quick timeline of the two young centers and their development

October: Myles started the season strong with a dominant performance at home against the lowly Nets. But, Turner was diagnosed with a concussion and would miss the rest of the month. This opened the door for Domas who was quickly acclimated to life in Indy averaging a healthy 12.9 points along with 11 boards.

November: Perhaps the best month for the duo, the two averaged a combined 26.2 points and 14.6 rebounds. The most important part, however, was that the two only missed three games, two for Sabonis with a calf contusion and the first game of the month for Myles as he was working back from his concussion.

December: December was a very nice month for the third year star center. Myles played every game while averaging his highest point total at 14.2. Domas struggled in one of his worst statistical months of the season mustering slightly over 10 points while shooting under 50% for the first time all season.

January: The turn of the calendar was a welcome sign for Sabonis after a tough December, Domas turned in the best month of his young career. He averaged a career monthly high of 14.6 points in 28.6 minutes. His great month, unfortunately, came at the expense of his frontcourt mate as Myles again missed multiple games with an elbow injury.

February: The most recent month was a mixed bag for both Domas and Myles. Turner, while making his way back from his most recent injury, struggled from the field at only 43%. Myles had two games of 19 points each but also had a stretch between the two with 6 points total. Sabonis also had a tough month averaging only 8.7 points while shooting a measly 39%.

Indy worked through the difficult month for these two young centers to win four out of six and go into the much-needed break with three wins in a row.

Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers
BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 09: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers reacts during the fourth quarter of the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on February 9, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

In a pace-and-space league, this would be a nice curveball for the Pacers that could work well

Obviously, the talent is much different, but the blueprint for success with these two young bigs is in New Orleans. The Pelicans were a playoff team with both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the court and I believe Indy could replicate the tandem.

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It works in the bayou because both the Brow and Cousins have a diverse skill set similar to the Pacer duo. Often coach Gentry would allow Cousins to bring the ball up the court and initiate the 2-man game with Davis. The Pacers could run similar action with Turner and Sabonis.

Sabonis has the playmaking ability to handle and makes passes while Myles can work the block as well as spot up from anywhere on the court.

Another aspect of this big man game is the high-low. One big works from the block as the other flashes to the free-throw line extended.

And, if Indy really wants to get creative a Myles pick and pop while Sabonis works the block could be extremely effective.

As both players keep adding to their offensive arsenals, it should continue to open the possibilities. Meanwhile, it’s up to the coaching staff to create the action that allows both to flourish while sharing the court.

The potential is there, so what will the results be?

Of the 204 minutes, the two have shared the floor together through various lineup combinations only 7 of the 16 have had a positive net rating.

But, of the seven that are positive, two, in particular, stand out as Bojan Bogdanovic is in both. This shows a specific need for floor spacing with the two frontcourt players in the game at once.

Obviously, the sample size is small but it could be a sign for future lineups.

The one major hurdle for the two to share the court is on the defensive end of the court. In a league gone position-less, this will create tough match-ups for one of the two.

Ideally Indy keeps Myles from venturing outside of the paint to help him thrive as a premier shot-blocker.

This leaves Sabonis to stay connected to smaller fours. While this is less than ideal if Domas can improve his foot speed and anticipation, it shouldn’t be too tall of a task. This would also allow one of the two to have a mismatch on the other end.

Plus, both can run the floor and are above average athletes which fit today’s NBA as well as with the Pacers best player, Victor Oladipo.

I was listening to Colin Cowherd of the Herd on FS1 the other day and he said something interesting that applies here. While explaining the fit between CP3 and Harden he said that he “bets on smart people”.

Next: Victor Oladipo's second shot at the dunk contest

More than anything else, this is why I think the tandem will work. Sabonis and Turner are two smart, humble individuals that can make this work. I believe in it.