Shocking comparison shows the Pacers actually dodged a bullet

Myles Turner - Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Turner - Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Aside from the proverbial trade rumors, the offseason for the Indiana Pacers was largely eventful due to their well-documented pursuit of Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton. Nearly snagging him with a max offer sheet, the latter eventually matched the bid, keeping him from the Circle City despite mutual interest.

Thus, the Pacers continue to trot out Myles Turner as their main big man. Months ago, this would be a relative downgrade, but based on both players’ current performance so far this season, one could validly argue that the basketball gods did Indiana a favor by letting Ayton slip past their hands.

Shocking comparison shows that the Indiana Pacers actually dodged a bullet

  • Player A: 17.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 50.7 FG%, 37.0 3FG%, 22.2 PER
  • Player B: 14.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 55.7 FG%, 42.9 3FG%, 16.7 PER

If you ask any fan, even without any identifiers, they would normally pick Player A in a heartbeat. And as you may have guessed, Player A is Myles Turner whereas Player B is Deandre Ayton. Quite the shock, isn’t it?

Ayton’s not-so-impressive campaign so far is a topic for another day, but Turner has simply been remarkable to kick off his eighth season with the Pacers. With a much clearer role on offense, one fully unlocked by the absence of Domantas Sabonis and playing next to a playmaking genius in Tyrese Haliburton, the rangy big man has been posting career-highs left and right.

Turner is on pace to log career bests in points and rebounds per game, and free-throw percentage while not being so far off from setting career highs in both field goal and three-point field goal percentage. That only covers a small sample size of seven games, but with the way he’s playing in a much more active role offensively, banking on him to sustain those numbers is certainly not a gamble waiting to lose.

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Beyond the numbers, another reason why the Pacers may have dodged a bullet with Ayton is because of the contract situations of both players. While the latter would have given the franchise a resolute cornerstone considering the ample roster control attendant with snagging him, it would have practically limited the front office as regards their financial flexibility.

Turner is obviously a flight risk and could easily be gone this season, especially following his previous comments, but he has since expressed his commitment and loyalty to the Pacers franchise. With the cost of re-signing him rumored to be pretty reasonable as well, Indiana should still like its chances at keeping him.

While stat lines aren’t as telling this early in the season, the fact that the Indiana Pacers failed with their aggressive Deandre Ayton pursuit, considering Myles Turner’s play so far, seems like a blessing in disguise, Ultimately, only time will tell, but as of now, their foiled attempt somehow seems like a stroke of genius—or of fate.

Next. Ranking the 5 greatest trades in Pacers history. dark