Happy birthday Kevin Pritchard: his five best moves with the Pacers

Kevin Pritchard Indiana Pacers (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Pritchard Indiana Pacers (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Myles Turner Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner Indiana Pacers (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Extending Myles Turner’s contract

Whenever you lock up a player with Myles Turner’s elite rim protection skills and budding offensive talents, you’ve typically done a good job. When you can do it for under $20 million a year in today’s NBA, you’ve done a great job.

Last season, when hope was all but lost that Turner was going to sign an extension before entering the final year of his contract, Pritchard pulled through in a big way. Right before the season began, the news struck: 4 years, $72 million, which could go up to $80 million depending on incentives.

Turner hadn’t quite played like an $18 million player in 2017-18: he regressed in most major counting stats and just couldn’t find a solid rhythm due to injury, a song that sounds a lot like his rookie season. Pritchard bet on him, though, and if Turner’s 2018-19 is any indication, he made the right bet.

Turner’s major counting stats all ticked back up in last year’s campaign, but most importantly, he refined the two skills that he was drafted for in 2015: three-point shooting and blocking. Turner led the league in blocks per game with 2.7 and brought his three-point percentage up to 38.8 — both career highs.

He still needs more volume on the three-point end, but as long as he keeps improving offensively and remains a top defensive anchor in the league, the $18-$20 million a year will look like an absolute steal.

The extension officially kicks in this upcoming season, so time will truly tell how impressive of a deal Pritchard made with Myles. He almost certainly won’t be worse than what he’s being paid, barring injury. With a few more offensive tools in his toolbox, he could be the second or third star for a strong Eastern Conference contender, and at $18 million, you take that any day of the week.