Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner has every right to be frustrated with his role

Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

It was the second game of the season. The Indiana Pacers bowed down to the Washington Wizards in a shootout by a single point, but beyond the loss resided a lustrous box score entry. It was Myles Turner, who just recorded a career-high 40 points.

I remember mumbling to myself that the Pacers could be one of the better teams in the East with this kind of Myles, an assertive two-way force who can score emphatically as he can swat shots. Fast forward to the present, and Indiana is 10-16, boasting one of the conference’s worst records, with Turner once again beneath the pecking order.

The longest-tenured Pacer, who has been the backbone of Indiana’s defense for his entire career, is now facing a legitimate chance of donning a different jersey from the only franchise he has ever known. With Indy seemingly more open to a pivot to rebuild, the end of the Myles Turner era in the Circle City could be over in a flick.

And if that eventually materializes, then the team could look in hindsight and realize how much they had possibly taken him for granted. If his recent interview is any indication, then this looming divorce may not be as tranquil as expected.

Myles Turner expressed increasing frustration with his role, signaling a possible move away from the Indiana Pacers

A follow-up to the latest smoke surrounding the Indiana Pacers, Myles Turner recently sat down with The Athletic’s Jared Weiss and expressed frustration at his struggles to showcase himself more on offense.

This bit is reflective of every thing that fans have clamored about Myles Turner since his foray in the Circle City. Already a defensive standout, he has the makings of a polished offensive force, especially in the modern NBA, but the Pacers’ revolving door of men on the sidelines who have all resisted from featuring him more boisterously as a weapon on offense has largely stagnated his progress on that end.

After regularly serving as Indiana’s second-best player next to Paul George in his early seasons, he continued to play second fiddle to Victor Oladipo in Nate McMillan’s blueprint, before the rise of Domantas Sabonis and the entry of the team’s current core relegated him beneath the hierarchy under Nate Bjorkgren and now, Rick Carlisle.

Given how much Turner sacrificed to fully commit himself as the Pacers’ defensive anchor, continuing to hold onto his self-imposed concessions is more than justifiable impetus for him to voice out his discontent. After all, his offensive potential has never been in question.

Year after year, his growth and usage on that end has been persistently suspended, and year after year, he’s done nothing but stay loyal to the franchise, never igniting a toxic discourse in the locker room, never pouting when he barely gets his share.

All these despite being treated as a walking scapegoat—by fans who unreasonably expect him to score 25 points on a nightly basis, overlooking his impact on the more visceral aspects of the game.

All these despite being a constant entry in trade rumors—as the primary option to ignite a roster change when he is far from the definitive problem.

All these despite him staying true and loyal to the franchise that brought him to the NBA—giving his all on the court and giving back to the community he has embraced.

It will be painful if the hammer’s finally dropped, but Myles Turner deserves more than what he’s been getting. If this season is any indication, then the Indiana Pacers may not be the team that could give what he’s due to become a more complete player as he desires and he believes he can be.

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When that day occurs, I hope we only have fond memories of Myles Turner repping the Blue and Gold. If he takes a jab here and there, no matter how subtle, let’s not exert our ire on the keyboard. In hindsight, take it in good stride. After all, he has every right to be frustrated.