The Pacers signing of Al Jefferson to a 3-year, $30 million contract might be the best thing they could have done for their future star Myles Turner.
Professor Al meet your student.
“As far as helping younger players,” said Jefferson, “that’s just part of my DNA.” Like Turner, Jefferson came into the NBA as a 19-year-old rookie, and Jefferson’s always been eager to repay the favor of veterans teaching him at the beginning of his career.
“I’m really looking forward to working with some of these young guys,” said Jefferson. And later, “Turner’s got upside.”
Turner has already been hard at work this summer with Larry Bird complimenting his work ethic and saying that it’s already one of the best summers he’s seen from a player.
“He’s much better than he was at the end of last season,” said Bird.
With Turner, the modern center prototype with range out to the 3-point line and elite rim protection, always eager to learn and Jefferson, the old-school post-move master, eager to teach, these two should be a perfect fit for one another.
Bird calls Turner a “sponge” and expects him to learn plenty about scoring with post moves from the guy with a PH.D. in pump fakes and a Masters in the low block.
“[Jefferson’s] one of the hardest guys to stop, ever, in the post,” said Thaddeus Young, another new Pacer. “I’ve never seen so many people try to stop a guy from going to his right and he always finds a way to make it with his right hand.”
“I feel like I’m rare,” said Jefferson. “Most teams don’t know how to defend a guy like me. It’s not like when I first got in the league and you had a power forward and a center and both guys posted.”
While Turner showed plenty of potential in all areas last year, adding a few low post moves would help the success of his pet move, the quick Turneround™, as teams would no longer be able to sit on that move with more to worry about.
The benefits for Turner aren’t only on the offensive end; simply guarding him in practice every day should improve his post defense greatly.
“I definitely admire his game,” Turner told Grant Afseth of SneakerReporter.com about learning from Jefferson, “and to have him here and to be able to guard him in practice, I will be able to better him and better myself.”
If nothing else, Turner shouldn’t be easy to fool after constantly dealing with Jefferson’s fake that’s among the best in the league.
Turner also has the opportunity to practice against some of the best that the U.S.A. has to offer while practicing against the national team for a week later in July as Turner is a part of the Select Team.
With Al Jeff on his team, the Select Team experience in a few weeks, and his already hard-working nature, Turner should be poised for a big sophomore season in the NBA.