Myles Turner is putting in the work on his body with pictures to prove it

If you follow Myles Turner on Instagram, you’ve seen his workout, hot yoga, and kickboxing routines for weeks on his story posts.

Today, Turner took to Twitter to show how the transformation of his body is going.

The caption here that Turner knows he’s still got a lot of work to do is probably the most encouraging part of his efforts.

He was inspired by a teammate’s half-joking, half-serious “soft” comment last season and started playing more physical and looks to be adding strength to make that type of play even easier for him next season.

At this point last season, it was Victor Oladipo posting pictures like this, so don’t underestimate the power of transforming your body (though it’d probably be smart to not set expectations too high either). It looks like Turner is taking the cue from the team’s best player.

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Victor Oladipo sings duet with Charles Barkley, talks Pacers on NBA on TNT

Victor Oladipo appeared on the NBA on TNT show as an analyst in place of Kenny Smith last night during the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows.

Oladipo discussed his breakout season with Indiana, the Pacers series with the Cavs, the Rockets/Warriors looming showdown (Dipo says Warriors in 7) and, in perhaps the most entertaining part of the night, sang a duet with Charles Barkley. The song choice was Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”

Continue reading Victor Oladipo sings duet with Charles Barkley, talks Pacers on NBA on TNT

Thad Young and the Pacers share desire for a return to Indiana

Thaddeus Young just had the defensive series of his life against Kevin Love and the Cavaliers, being the primary reason for Love’s struggles for the vast majority of that 7-game series. Will he try use this to cash in on free agency or return to the Pacers for at least one more season?

Young, one of the Indiana Pacers captains for the 2017-18 season, has a player option of just under $14 million for 2018-19.

“I know I have to make that decision by the end of June,” said Young of his player option in an interview with Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype, “but I haven’t made a final decision on what exactly I’m going to do yet.”

While he hasn’t made a commitment one way or another regarding that option, all signs from Young and the Pacers front office point towards a mutual feeling of wanting #21 back in the blue and gold for next season whether he opts in or not.

Continue reading Thad Young and the Pacers share desire for a return to Indiana

Free Agent Watch: Jerami Grant

Free Agent Profile

Player: Jerami Grant

Current team: OKC Thunder

Current salary: $1,524,305

Free Agent Status: Unrestricted

Strengths

Grant entered the league as a high second round pick (39th overall) regarded as a hybrid forward who did not shoot well on the perimeter but did get to the line with ease due to his high motor. His athleticism and physical tools were seen as his key to minutes on the court early in his career, and he earned minutes during his time in Philadelphia, starting 52 games in his second season.

After bouncing around a bit, going to Toronto then back to Philadelphia, he landed with OKC. In the Thunder’s system, he has carved a niche as a spot starter and key role player, sometimes playing the 5 in the Thunder’s small lineups.

Continue reading Free Agent Watch: Jerami Grant

ESPN: Cory Joseph to exercise player option to return to Indiana Pacers

Cory Joseph will exercise his player option and be back with the Indiana Pacers for the 2018-19 season per Adrian Wojnarowski.

Joseph will make a shade under $8 million next season in the final year of his contract.

Yesterday, in the end-of-the-season press conference, Kevin Pritchard said that Joseph indicated he would like to be back next year and that his and Thad Young’s player options would be the first things that would start their decision process for building the roster for next year.

Joseph, who averaged 7.9 points, 3./ rebounds, 3.2 assists and one steal per game in a career-high 27 minutes per game, was an integral part of the Pacers success this season as both a backup point guard and while starting in place of Darren Collison while he was out after the All-Star break.

He inspired the coolest moment of the season with his steal and basket that inspired everyone on the floor and a few players from the bench to sprint over and help him up.

The next decision the Pacers will be waiting is Thad Young and his $13 million player option.

Indiana and Basketball: A Love Renewed

What has been the most exciting and fulfilling Pacers’ season in years has finally come to an end. What started with confusion, anger, and frustration towards a former player ended with young stars looking towards the future. Somehow losing the franchise’s arguably most talented player in history was a blessing in disguise.

A group primarily made of players who had been given up on or looked over their entire careers, just took one of the greatest players of all-time to the brink of elimination. But more than that, this group brought something back to the people of Indiana that had seemingly escaped this basketball-frenzy state. A sense of “togetherness” that captured the attention of Hoosiers from Elkhart to Evansville. A togetherness that is rare as in professional sports as the caliber of player that eliminated the Pacers in the first round.

What is this togetherness that has echoed the Pacers locker room since late last summer? It’s indescribable, but Hoosiers can sense it from a mile away. It’s a “we above me” mindset, it’s putting the team first and letting individual accolades come as they may. It’s about striving for something that seems out of reach, too good to be true, and not letting the challenge overtake the journey. It’s Victor Oladipo talking about this franchise as if it’s part of his immediate family. It’s Myles Turner’s resilience when the critics (me included) hounded him about his inconsistency. It’s the resolve of the entire team that seemed to always comeback from a double-digit deficit and at minimum make the game interesting. It’s Lance Stephenson’s… well I don’t know, but Lance was Born Ready and born to play basketball in Indiana. He loves the game like only a Hoosier can. It’s the moment when seemingly all 15 Pacer players rushed to help pick up Cory Joseph after driving to the hoop. Actually, let me correct that, it’s when Pacers fans across the state saw that moment and recognized it from memories past.

Cory Joseph
Photo by Pacers Sports and Entertainment

Maybe you recognized it from playing pick-up at your local park during a hot summer day in the Hoosier state. Maybe you recognized it from an Indiana high school sectional final during a brisk February night. Maybe you recognized it from your child’s YMCA league. But wherever you recognized it from, you knew one thing to be true, it was Indiana through and through.

For the past few years Pacer fans have had to do something that we are just not comfortable with. Balancing between supporting our hometown team that plays the sport that grew up here, while knowing that our star player, deep down, had no interest in being the hero we wanted and him to be. I did it, we all did it. We justified his attitude, made excuses for his comments to the press, and went above and beyond to make him feel wanted, and it wasn’t enough. We all remember that Woj notification last summer, “Paul George plans to leave Pacers”. The weeks of angst that followed and eventually the OKC trade that critics everywhere criticized until local police twitter accounts became pundits.

Close to a year later, no one is cracking jokes. The Pacers demanded everyone’s respect in their round one playoff series, they demanded your attention. Not because of their star power or their flashiness, but because of their togetherness. Their abilities and potential as a unit. The energy that connected Pacers fans with an energy and passion that had been dormant for too long. A rejuvenated spirit that only basketball can seem to bring to the state of Indiana. A sense of togetherness that goes beyond Oladipo and Turner, that moves through the young kids watching on TV or listening on the radio, that brings chills and goosebumps to those in the seats of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Yes, this Indiana team has started a new era of Pacers basketball, but more importantly, this group has brought basketball back to where it needs to be: front and center in the hearts and minds of Hoosiers everywhere.

Together, they have put the NBA on notice.

The Indiana Pacers are back, and so is basketball in Indiana.

Victor Oladipo contacted his off-season trainer just minutes after losing Game 7

“I don’t know how to take time off,” Victor Oladipo told a reporter after Game 7.

No kidding. About 16 minutes after the Pacers season ended with the Game 7 defeat to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oladipo texted his trainer about getting started on his workouts.

“When do we start?” Oladipo texted the trainer. “I’m ready to take it to another level.”

His trainer posted the message on Instagram.

His off-season workouts last season were a huge part of his success this year. He started eating right, famously quitting his favorite food joint Popeyes, and got into the best shape of his life. The Indiana Pacers couldn’t be happier with the player that Oladipo has become this season and he’s never satisfied, always looking to improve.

“Honestly, I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of how good I can be,” he said after today’s game.

 

Can the Indiana Pacers rise above expectations one more time and dethrone LeBron James?

The Indiana Pacers were supposed to win 30 games this year. Every media outlet said so. Even Kevin Pritchard, the person who built this roster, admitted that their expectations were similarly low on the televised broadcast of Game 1 in this series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

They’ve been shocking everyone since the beginning of the season. Can they do it one more time in a road Game 7 against the best player in the world in LeBron James?

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Victor Oladipo of the deciding game after the Pacers blowout win in Game 6. “There’s nothing wrong with a little challenge. Obviously, it’s a big challenge ahead but we’re looking forward to the game.”

Oladipo has relished the challenges all season and has done it with impressive positivity. He’s become a franchise cornerstone, making his first All-Star team and setting career highs in basically every meaningful statistic, while claiming Indianapolis as his city and the fanbase has happily enjoyed the ride and embraced him completely.

Continue reading Can the Indiana Pacers rise above expectations one more time and dethrone LeBron James?

The Pacers resiliency is about to get its ultimate test

The Indiana Pacers have put pride in their resiliency since the beginning of the season.

They’ve set an NBA record for most comebacks from down 15+ points in a season but can they comeback from a 3-2 deficit against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after a heartbreaking Game 5 loss?

They have reasons to be encouraged. The Cavaliers have won their three games so far by a combined 9 points. The Pacers have still outscored Cleveland over the entire series by 11.

Indiana has stayed remarkably close in these last two contests despite James lighting the Pacers defense on fire while their own best player Victor Oladipo has built an entire neighborhood out of the bricks he’s shot up at the rim.

Maybe all it adds up to a bunch of what ifs if the Pacers end up losing the series, but right now it’s a sign that the Pacers aren’t going to go down easily.

“The series ain’t over,” Oladipo said last night. “You got to win four games the series to be over, right?”

They’ve never given in all season. No reason to think they will now with this surprisingly fun season on the line.

“We do a good job with our backs against the wall,” said Darren Collison after today’s practice.

This group of Pacers have never been in this situation before in the playoffs together, however.

Oladipo has never been the focus of the defense to this extent and his numbers for points and shooting percentage have steadily decreased since his Game 1 playoff introduction leading to his 2-for-15 night in Game 5.

“I ain’t never gonna stop shooting,” Oladipo said earlier this year when a reporter asked about a shooting slump.

His confidence and positivity have always reigned supreme, but the Pacers need their star to be a star (or at least shooting somewhat near his averages) to have a shot at winning the last two games.

Domas Sabonis, in his first real postseason experience, struggled in his first three games mightily but has led the Pacers in scoring the past two games as he’s taken advantage of the 4-on-3 situations that doubling Oladipo has given him.

Myles Turner has been consistent throughout the series with his shooting and kept the Pacers close in Games 2 and 4 but has not been nearly as adept as Sabonis in the past two games at knowing how to slip screens and take advantage of those situations. Too often he hasn’t been ready for the defense on the catch out of the Oladipo trap (though many of Victor’s passes out of these traps have been with little zip and slightly off target) and if the Cavs take away his shot, he hasn’t been able to make the right pass often enough.

Much like in the regular season, the Pacers offense looks better with Sabonis, but the defense is superior with Turner. Turner is the Pacers only rim protector and he was a huge reason the Pacers got off to an early 10-point lead in the first quarter in Game 5 (Pacers were +8 in his minutes in the first quarter). How Nate McMillan balances his two young promising bigs minutes will be key to potential success in Game 6 and perhaps beyond.

While McMillan received some love for Coach of the Year, his performance this series has been uneven. The end of game five ended with the Pacers having one timeout and a foul to give on the table, which left him “disappointed” in himself.

The Pacers were slow to adjust to the Cavaliers trapping in the series and still look unsure of what to do far too often like in the third quarter of Game 5 as the Cavaliers stormed back. McMillan was upset by hero ball in the fourth game but the Pacers late-game offense has been unimaginative all year, simply letting Oladipo do superstar stuff. The Pacers haven’t been able to rely on that this series down the stretch and at times the Pacers have looked lost down the stretch of games.

He’s played some nearly all-bench lineups at times while LeBron was on the court, which is just asking for the Cavs to make a run. These last games of the series will be the true test for McMillan and his stuff. If he’s a true coach of the year candidate, it should show in the team’s adjustments.

The Pacers feel like they’ve been beating themselves during their losses and that may be true, especially with the amount of unforced turnovers. They’ve yet to play at their best for all 48 minutes.

The Pacers blew a golden opportunity but the series isn’t over

The table couldn’t have been set any better for the Indiana Pacers to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night.

George Hill was out of the game with back spasms, moving Jose Calderon, who didn’t play at all in Game 3, into the starting lineup. Kevin Love started the game with two quick fouls in the first quarter, forcing Tristan Thompson, who has been out of the Cavs rotation all series, into action.

But as the Pacers still couldn’t figure out their slow start problem and Cleveland built another double-digit lead in the first half for the third consecutive game, Indiana couldn’t complete the second-half comeback for the second time in four games.

Continue reading The Pacers blew a golden opportunity but the series isn’t over

The Pacers might shock the world but they aren’t shocking themselves

The Indiana Pacers are like the fictional African nation of Wakanda from Black Panther. Everyone else in the world thinks they are one thing, just a place you don’t need to worry about, live practice for a first-round contender, but now they’re shocking the basketball world with revelations of their elite technology and weapons that give them a chance against anyone as they go into the fourth game of the series with a 2-1 lead over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Indiana has been staying in obscurity all season, lurking in the shadows, appearing only once on national television.

Except the Pacers have been showing this all year. They weren’t trying to keep this a secret like Wakanda. They beat Cleveland three times this season. They swept the Golden State Warriors. It’s just no one was paying attention or perhaps not taking them seriously enough as a threat to care.

Continue reading The Pacers might shock the world but they aren’t shocking themselves

How will the Indiana Pacers respond to these possible adjustments by Cleveland?

The Indiana Pacers aren’t just happy to be in the playoffs. Victor Oladipo and company have been saying for awhile that they want to make a run in the postseason and shock the world.

The Pacers thoroughly destroyed the Cavaliers in Game 1 while introducing themselves to the national audience, but everyone knows a LeBron James-led team isn’t going down easy, especially in the first round.

Cavs coach Ty Lue will likely be ready with adjustments and how Pacers coach Nate McMillan and his staff are able to respond to those will determine how successful they can be through the rest of the series.

Here are a few likely adjustments from the Cavaliers and what the options are from there for the Pacers:

Continue reading How will the Indiana Pacers respond to these possible adjustments by Cleveland?

Victor Oladipo says he’ll eat Popeyes again when the Pacers win the championship

After the Indiana Pacers dominated against the Golden State Warriors, Victor Oladipo was asked about his old favorite fried chicken joint, Popeyes.

“I ain’t had that in so long,” Oladipo told the reporter. “Don’t mention that.”

Oladipo said he hadn’t had it in around a year, but that he may have it for a special occasion over the summer.

It would be shocking if the Pacers won the NBA title to just about everybody outside of that locker room, but they’ve been shocking the world all season.

Side note: Oladipo’s claim that he last ate Popeyes about a year ago appears to be false as he seems to have eaten it over the All-Star break according to this Sports Illustrated article:

Over the next 96 hours, he would host one party at a club with Cardi B, another with Snoop Dogg and Floyd Mayweather. He’d sing with Jamie Foxx, dunk with Black Panther and toast Michael Jordan’s birthday at a $100 million mansion in Bel-Air. He’d play Jenga in a sneaker store stock room with someone who goes by The Shiggy Show, an apt moniker for the weekend, and he’d dance alone in front of 1,000 people at a practice. He’d eat sushi from Katsuya and chicken from Popeyes. He’d ride in enough Mercedes Sprinters to fill a presidential motorcade, protected by three security guards and primped by two stylists. They would present him with approximately 40 ensembles, a dozen of which he would wear. He’d wake up early to toss 12-pound medicine balls and do plyometric pushups in the J.W. Marriott fitness center, and at 9 a.m. Sunday, he’d watch online the weekly sermon delivered by Pastor John K. Jenkins at First Baptist Church of Glenarden back home in Maryland.

The Indiana Pacers blowout the defending champs

INDIANAPOLIS–The Indiana Pacers blew out the defending champion Golden State Warriors by 20 points and swept the season series 2-0.

Now, read that again. Pinch yourself. This is not a dream. It’s just another day in what’s been a terrific season.

Yes, the Warriors didn’t have Steph Curry tonight and this game won’t affect their playoff seeding. This game meant basically nothing to the Warriors. No one cares. This was an impressive effort.

“I thought it was a big test tonight,” said Head Coach Nate McMillan. “I was really looking forward to playing them with their roster tonight, just to see where we were.”

Continue reading The Indiana Pacers blowout the defending champs

The Wizards like the possibility of facing the Pacers in the playoffs

The Washington Wizards are throwing bulletin board material at the Indiana Pacers if they do happen to stay matched up as the fourth and fifth seeds in the first round of the playoffs.

“I think we match up good,” center Marcin Gortat said of the possibility of facing the Pacers according to the Washington Post. “We had a much better effort [Saturday] than we did last time at home.”

Continue reading The Wizards like the possibility of facing the Pacers in the playoffs

Myles Turner motivated by teammate calling him “soft”

Myles Turner has been on an absolute tear lately, playing with more confidence and aggression on offense and on the boards that he has in his career.

After leading the Indiana Pacers in scoring with 21 points and adding 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in a win against the Lakers, Turner revealed what motivated him to start playing more physical.

“One of my teammates called me soft,” said Turner to reporters after the game. “I don’t play that sh*t. And two, it’s just something that I know I have to do.”

Victor Oladipo, who was sitting next to him in the locker room, seemed surprised asking Myles who called him soft. Turner responded “not you.”

Turner said the date of the event when he decided to start being more physical was January 31st. The Pacers played the Memphis Grizzlies that night and Turner went to the foul line 12 times as he repeatedly drew fouls in the post.

He’s certainly been more physical lately and has been making many tough offensive rebounds and dunks since the All-Star break. Whoever that teammate was, he isn’t calling him soft now.

“Myles is a dominant player when he’s clicking on all cylinders,” Thad Young, who is (or at least seems to be) unlikely to be the one that called him soft, told Jeremiah Johnson after the game, “and he makes us go.”

Updated: Mark Montieth of Pacers.com reports that Lance Stephenson was not the player that called Turner soft. The mystery continues.

“I’m not going to rat anybody out,” Turner told Montieth while confirming that it wasn’t Stephenson.

Montieth reports that Turner isn’t mad at anyone for it and that it was said in a joking way but with “serious intent.”

“It’s a mental adjustment that he had to make,” Darren Collison told reporters after practice. “It had nothing to do with his physical skills. He’s going to be a very good player for a long time. Once he changed that mentality, he’s going to be just fine.”

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After some self-evaluation, Myles Turner is silencing his critics

The narrative surrounding Myles Turner’s third season has largely been one of disappointment: Turner’s offensive game hasn’t progressed since last season. He has no post moves. He settles for fadeaway jump shots too often. He can’t rebound. He’s not strong enough yet.

Since the All-Star break though, especially in the last four games for the Indiana Pacers, Turner’s making that dubious narrative disappear quickly. What changed? Some self-evaluation and a change in his mentality.

“I’ve had some self evaluation,” Myles Turner told Tyler Smith of Indy Sports Legends . “After the All-Star break I made it a goal to be more physical on the glass. I’ve got to make myself more versatile. I can’t just settle for jump shots. I’ve always had a post-game, but it’s the mental aspect of it.”

The results of this self-evaluation have been tremendous. Here’s a look at Turner’s statistics broken down before and after the All-Star break.

  • In 42 games prior to the break: 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, shooting splits of 48.8/35.6/76.4  
  • In 10 games after the break: 15.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, shooting splits of 57/48.3/76.7

“My team needs me,” Turner told the Indy Star. “That’s what it is. The All-Star break was good for me, to kind of take a look at myself, where we are in the standings. I know I need to step up my play.”

Those 10 games even include a few duds due to foul trouble or a lack of involvement in the offense shown by an actual drop in his usage rate since the All-Star break from over 21.2% before to just 19.2% after. After a pair of games in a 3-game stretch where he took three or fewer shot attempts, Turner made some adjustments.

“For us to be the team that we want to be,” Turner said after the Jazz game where he scored 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting. “I have to shoot more than five times in a game. I pick and chose my spots very well tonight.”

One of the frustrating things about his development to this point in his career is that he goes through maddening stretches without opportunities in the offense and never seems to get the ball enough when he’s hot, so it’s good to see Turner start to look at this proactively and make adjustments on his own.

He’s mentioned picking his spots correctly after a few of the last four games and with these numbers you can’t argue with that. He’s looked more and more like the player that many expected to see in his third season over the last four while averaging 21.3 points and 8 rebounds while shooting a sizzling 61.8% from the field and 52.9% from deep.

“I think so, man,” Turner told Jeremiah Johnson after the win against the Sixers when asked if this was the most confident he’s ever been. “I’m picking and choosing my spots very well. My teammates are doing a great job of creating open spaces for me and I’m taking full advantage of it.”

The biggest changes that we’ve seen since the break have been in the paint via consistent success in the post and more assertive rebounding on the offensive and defensive glass.

That improvement down low won’t get a better display than his game-winning post bucket against the Celtics with the game on the line.

Al Jefferson has talked this season how he wants Myles to take it as disrespect when a team switches on the pick and roll. Earlier in the season, it seemed like Turner just dreaded anytime that was the opponent strategy because it took away his bread and butter pick and pop shot.

“Last year, he wouldn’t have even thought about a post; he would have gone with a turnaround jumper or fadeaway,” Jefferson recently told Mark Montieth of Pacers.com. “You’ve got a 6-4, 6-5, 6-6 guard or wing on you and you’re taking those type of shots, that’s when it becomes a problem for me. He understands that. He’s getting his feet in the paint and getting good shots.”

When Oladipo came back in early January after a brief stretch where he missed four games, Turner’s first response to how he helps him succeed on offense was that teams are more reluctant to switch. He just wasn’t comfortable consistently going after those smaller players on the block. He showed flashes in the post, but too often he’d settle for the fading attempt away from contact.

“Just like on the playground when you were growing up, when you’ve got a small on you, your first thought is to go into the paint,” Jefferson told Montieth. “Myles wasn’t comfortable to do that. I think he got tired of that. I was in his ear telling him, ‘Man, you should be upset. You should be mad when teams feel they can switch and put guards on you and you’re taking fadeaways in the post. You’re making it harder than it really is. You’ve got to do something about it.'”

Now, it seems like he’s taking Jefferson’s teachings to heart and treating those switching defenders to some physical play and the biggest thing according to Jefferson is that he’s being more patient when he gets the ball down there.

“That’s something that wouldn’t have happened a year ago,” said Turner after his game-winning post shot against the Celtics. “I would have rushed right there. I took my time. I read the defense and made a strong move.”

His teammates know how important it is that he keeps developing that post game as well.

“When Myles can score down there and is effective down there, and then you have to guard him at the 3 too?” said Oladipo told Pat Boylan after the game against the Celtics. “He’s so young too, it’s crazy. I love playing with him.”

His tracking data on post-up plays has steadily improved to the point of him currently ranking in the 73rd percentile with 0.98 points per possession. His increased use of the pump fake, a sign that he’s being patient, has led to more drawn fouls, something he was already doing well in the post. He has a free-throw rate of 18.3% which is nearly twice as high as Domantas Sabonis and Jefferson’s foul rate when they’re in the post.

As he asserts himself in the paint, he’s seemed to gain even more confidence in his jump shot as he’s taken at least four 3-point attempts in each of the last four games while making over half of his attempts.

And the rebounding? Just watch this sequence and say he hasn’t improved in this area. He’s made putback dunks, grabbed key boards in traffic, and blocked out defenders with greater consistency.

The key for Turner will be doing this consistently. He’s had a few good games this season only to seem to take a step back after foul trouble. But the Pacers are winning games with Turner playing this well even while Oladipo has struggled in some of the same games. If the Pacers can get them both going at the same time in the playoffs, the Pacers might be able to make some noise.

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Glenn Robinson III showing flashes of improvement since his return

It was a long wait to get on the court this season for Glenn Robinson III. The Indiana Pacers were patient with him as he rehabbed from his ankle injury in training camp and he’s quickly become a key contributor off the bench.

While Head Coach Nate McMillan expected to only play him 5-10 minutes in his first game back, Robinson played 18 minutes in his debut, showing he was ready to make plays as the backup small forward.

Continue reading Glenn Robinson III showing flashes of improvement since his return

Don’t overlook the passing prowess of Sabonis and Turner

The Indiana Pacers have a pair of exciting young center prospects in Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Both players are seen as core pieces of the team’s future and how well they can play together will become more and more important in the next few seasons.

Right now, they spend most of their time on the court with the other on the bench and play the center position and make positive impacts in different ways. Sabonis is the physical, rebounding, screen-setting sparkplug, while Turner is the sweet-shooting, shot-blocking specimen you’d design in a lab for the modern era.

One thing they both have in common is the ability to make plays via the pass, but even here you see them do things differently.

Sabonis is the more natural of the two big men when it comes to passing and is great at seeing where the open man is, while Turner, not often praised for his passing, grew leaps and bounds last season in knowing where the defense is likely to help and who that will leave open.

Their assist numbers won’t wow anyone as they aren’t racking up assists like the Denver’s Nikola Jokic or DeMarcus Cousins before his injury, but both players are a big part of the unselfish nature of this team.

Sabonis, who averages 3.1 assists per 36 minutes, makes one-handed bounce passes on the move to Victor Oladipo on a backdoor cut on the regular in this Pacers pet play (looked at in detail here).

The Pacers run this play with Turner, who averages 1.8 assists per 36 minutes, but not nearly as often. Here’s Turner executing the play to Oladipo.

Many of their assists come from hand-offs where instead of cutting backdoor Oladipo, Cory Joseph, Lance Stephenson and others go around the big man for the ball and take one or two dribbles before taking a jumper. Both players being able to make that backdoor pass allows this play to be more successful as teams are forced to respect the possibility of the cut.

Some of Turner’s best passing highlights come on plays where it doesn’t seem like he should know the guy is open before he makes the pass. Evidence of him simply knowing where the help is most likely to come from on this pick and roll and that the man in the corner behind him will be open. He immediately turns to make the pass on the catch, likely spotting the help defender as he initially turned toward the basket.

Sabonis, on the other hand, is more likely to catch and assess the defense, see where the help is coming from before making the right pass. Same play as the one above is run here but you can see him looking for the first option, seeing that it’s covered and then finding the open man on the opposite corner in Bojan Bogdanovic.

It makes sense why Thaddeus Young called him a quarterback for the offense early this season when he’s progressing through reads like this.

Both young players need work in their post-up games as they’ve had similar mediocre success up to this point in the year with Turner earning trips to the foul line at a tremendous rate but shying away from contact with a mismatch too often  and Sabonis hitting his field goal attempts at an above average clip but turning the ball over more than once every five post-ups.

While Sabonis does struggle with turning the ball over especially when he holds on to the ball too long and allows the double team to trap him, he’s able to make the quick pass when he sees the double coming.

Turner’s passing really shines in the post at times when opponents attempt to double him, which makes his development on that part of his game even more important. If he forces more teams to send an extra defender at him, he can pick apart defenses. He’s great at sending passes across court to the opposite corner to hit the open man.

In this next one, Turner spots both the double team coming from Young’s defender at the rim and Oladipo’s man coming down to cover Thad at the rim. He zips right pass both for an open 3-pointer for the Pacers All-Star.

You can see the natural instincts that Sabonis inherited from his father, one of the best passing bigs in history in Aryvdas Sabonis, come into play often on broken plays.

Any situation where the defense is scrambling like on an offensive rebound or an overly aggressive help defender, he’s able to find the open man at the right time.

He’s able to push the tempo off of rebounds and immediately start the fastbreak by taking a couple of dribbles before making an outlet pass, effectively creating situations where the defense is scrambling on his own.

Both players average about the same number of turnovers as assists, but most of their turnovers are offensive fouls, moving screens or lost balls. Only 23 of Sabonis’s 111 turnovers on the season have been from a bad pass and only 15 of Turner’s 64 turnovers on the season have been bad passes.

As mentioned previously, Sabonis sometimes allows the double team to get too close before attempting a pass and that has caused some of his turnovers. Part of this being his tendency to need to see the open man rather than anticipate it coming at times. He also seems to prefer making straight-line passes and is reluctant to put any touch on his passes in many situations.

Turner’s passing turnovers come from him thinking that a defender wouldn’t be in position but instead they’ve stayed at home or making a tough bounce pass too late to squeeze it into a tight window.

You’re still more likely to see the good than the bad from this still improving players. Here’s some terrific ball movement with Turner as the fulcrum of the offense in the paint.

And perhaps a sneak peak of the future for the Pacers here with Domas making some nice passes to Myles with the first pass showing some hesitation on making the touch pass for the easy layup and the second utilizing the spacing that Turner’s shooting creates.

The Pacers great chemistry is partly due to the unselfishness on the court of all their players, but it’s especially important for the team’s best players to be willing to make the extra pass. That’s almost always the case for the Pacers pair of young big men and they’re just getting started in their careers.

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