The Indiana Pacers opened the season with an overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks last night 130-121. Paul George had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists. New point guard Jeff Teague had 20 points and 8 assists. But the real star in game one was the 20-year-old second-year big man from Texas, Myles Turner.
Turner put up monster numbers of 30 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals. He hit 13 of his 19 shots, including a three-pointer in overtime that pushed the Pacers lead to four. He and Anthony Davis became only the third and fourth players since 1973 to put up 30 points and 16 rebounds in a season opener.
“What a way to kick off the season,” Turner said. “The adrenaline was pumping right from the opening tip.”
Turner had high expectations for himself coming into the season and his hard work during the summer had been noticed by Larry Bird and Nate McMillan in the off-season. It’s already seems to have pay dividends with the best game of his young career in the opener.
— NBA (@NBA) October 27, 2016
Turner started the Pacers’ 50th season with a slam dunk from a beautifully designed play that ended with Teague setting up Turner for the slam on a pick and roll, and he got the Pacers last field goal with an exclamation mark of a dunk that sealed the victory in overtime. You can see both plays in the highlight video above from the NBA Twitter account.
“One of the biggest things that’s hard about being that young is you’re the most coached player in the world,” said C.J. Miles after the game. “There’s so much input all the time. You’re trying to do exactly what the coaches say and you’re playing with veteran guys, so you want to take what they’re saying. Your phone is ringing and everyone is telling you how you should be playing. Then, you’ve got you own mindset of what you want to be as a player. He’s just growing. Time does that when you have the talent he already has.”
All that advice from coaches and teammates seems to always be appreciated from Turner, whose mature nature has been impressive since he was drafted.
“I’m still learning,” Turner said to the Indy Star. “The guys have done a good job of talking to me as I’m out there on the court. They want to see me improve and they want to see me do big things. To have a team full of guys that are confident like that is just huge for my career and my longevity.”
You can see his full repertoire of offensive moves in the highlight video above. The midrange pick and pop, the fantastic touch and ability to finish quickly around the rim, and range that stretches to the 3-point line. He might not do it this year, but Turner could easily become a 20 points-per-game player, especially in an offense that wants to run every chance that it gets. As Zach Lowe said in his most intriguing players column, “Oh, baby. Turner has the versatility on offense to be an All-Star who warps the geometry of the floor.”
Turner is the biggest key to how far this Pacers team will be able to go this season. His defensive development and rim protection is crucial as no one else on the team provides much of anything in stopping players close to the rim.
With his 4 blocks last night (2 new members for the Myles High Club) and holding opponents to 5 of 11 at the rim for 45%, it was a good start to the season on that end as well.
Last year, he often was found out of position and struggled at times guarding the screen and roll.
“I was guessing a lot last season in the pick-and-roll,” Turner told Lowe. “I feel like I know it now.”
It’s only one game, but you can’t ask for much more from Myles Turner. Let’s see what he has in store for us tomorrow night.
— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) October 27, 2016