All posts by Derek Kramer

Editor-in-Chief of iPacers.com. Designer of T-shirts. Teacher of 5th-graders.

The Constant Evolution of Myles Turner

With the Indiana Pacers trailing by three points to the Oklahoma City Thunder with just under a minute remaining in the game, Monta Ellis drove towards the lane. As Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka converged to help, Ellis kicked it out to the open man standing in the corner ready for the pass behind the 3-point line, 19-year-old rookie, Myles Turner.

The rookie, who had only attempted two 3-pointers and had made none so far this season, calmly gathered the low pass at his feet and immediately rose with confidence to take the shot. Nothing but net. Tie game.

His first career 3-pointer and yet another Mylestone in the constant evolution of Myles Turner.

Myles Turner learned a new skill. Something that seems to happen nearly every game for the fast learning, hard working rookie.

“His biggest quality is that he’s not afraid. He’s never afraid, he’s never shying away from the moment,” Paul George said after the Thunder game, “He asks questions; he wants to learn, wants to get better, and works hard. It’s everything you want in a young player. He has it, and he’s going to be special for us.”

At the start of the season, it was clear that Frank Vogel didn’t want to put too much burden on the Pacers first-round draft pick. He was going to play off the bench at the 5 spot, so he could focus on learning just one position while he got used to the speed of the NBA game.

Myles came into the league with a couple of skills: A smooth jumper, his Turneround™ post move, and an impeccable sense of timing when it came to blocking shots. He used these skills to average 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in his first 18 career games and missed over a month and a half with a thumb injury. Modest numbers in about 18 minutes per contest, but you could still see flashes of his potential in every game.

Then the Pacers went on a 4-game Western Conference road trip and Myles Turner put on a nightly show. Turner averaged 20.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks over the trip, including a 31-performance over the defending champion Golden State Warriors that made me tweet this:

“You would have to say fairly that he’s one of the most, if not the most, surprising players in the draft,” Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said to the Indy Star. “I think everybody pretty much knew he was going to be a good player, but I think a lot of people thought it would take more time than this and he’s playing very well.”

Turner was starting to show off even more skills: preventing dunks with blocks that recalled the memory of Roy Hibbert’s block on Carmelo Anthony in the playoffs, hook shots in the post, crafty, quick finishes in the lane. While he was still out of position at times on defense and Vogel knew it might be a “roller coaster,” Myles Turner was moved to the starting lineup, where Pacers fans hope he stays for a good 12-15 years.

Not only is Turner starting, but Vogel is playing him at power forward alongside Ian Mahinmi. While Mahinmi has recently struggled to stay on the court, the Pacers are now 4-1 when the tandem starts the game.

“I don’t know how fast and how far he develops in the final 29 games,” said Vogel in Candace Buckner’s great profile on Turner, “but it will be a big factor in what our ceiling is.”

The result is a rare mix of spacing on offense, but an abundance of rim protection and rebounding on defense. Turner is blocking anything that comes near him at the rim and that includes serving up some smothered chicken to LeBron James.

In the OKC game, assistant coach Popeye Jones told Turner that he wasn’t doing much on defense according to Jeremiah Johnson. Turner responded with 5 blocks in the 3rd-quarter alone.

The lineup is just touching the surface of its potential in terms of spacing now that Turner can take open corner threes. As Turner proves he’s ready to hit the long range shots and Vogel gives him more freedom to take those, the spacing will continue to grow on offense.

The end result may be Larry Bird finally getting that fast paced offense with lots of free flowing movement and spacing, and Frank Vogel playing his preferred style of having two bigs on the court at all times. The best of both worlds.

The always growing skillset of Myles Turner can do that for you.

Myles Turner signed 8×10 giveaway:
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Don’t Yawn. Mahinmi’s Improvement is Impressive

This has been a season of change for the Pacers, a year of transition: going from exclusively using slow, traditional lineups to having the flexibility of using both faster spread lineups and traditional lineups and from having an elite defense that forces inefficient mid-range shots to sending out an above average defense that forces a lot of turnovers; Paul George has returned and is better than ever. C.J. Miles is playing as a stretch four after 10 years of being a wing. There are seven players on the roster that were not on the Pacers a year ago. George Hill is blonde. Out of all of this sudden change, none of it has been more surprising than the vast improvement of everything in Ian Mahinmi’s offensive skill set.

Shooting. Passing. Dribbling. Catching. Footwork. You name it; Ian Mahinmi got better at it over the off-season, an incredible feat for a veteran entering his eighth season in the Association.

Continue reading Don’t Yawn. Mahinmi’s Improvement is Impressive

How C.J. Miles Saved the Pacers Season

Sharpshooter C.J. Miles saved this season for the Pacers and perhaps even many seasons in the future. I’m sure you’re thinking, “CJ Miles? I think you misspelled Paul George.” And, sure, you’re right; if we’re talking about saviors, then Paul George is clearly Jesus for the Pacers. But C.J. Miles is John the Baptist. I imagine you may feel a lot like Miles below, but stay with me for a second:

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Continue reading How C.J. Miles Saved the Pacers Season

iPacers Biweekly Wrap: 11/8/2015 – 11/22/2015

The Pacers played 7 games in the last two weeks and only lost 2 games by a combined 5 points. They are now 8-2 in their last 10 games over the 0-3 start and sit at 4th-place in the East. In this 10-game stretch, the Pacers have had the best defense in the NBA by advanced metrics and currently have the 5th-best net rating in the NBA for the entire season. The Pacers defensive philosophy may have changed, but it’s as good as ever. Forcing turnovers was never a focal point in year’s past, but they currently average the 2nd-most steals per game in the league and forced 54 turnovers in the last two blowout victories against the Sixers and Bucks. Here’s some quick analysis on each player over the last two weeks:

1. Paul George: Paul George has never played better in his career than he has in the past two weeks. At this point, it’d be surprising if he doesn’t earn the Eastern Conference Player of the Month. While Paul George’s streak of 26 points came to an end at 8, it only happened in a game the Pacers won by nearly 40 points where George “only” scored 20 points in the first three quarters while sitting on the final frame of the blowout. No one is more responsible for how well the Pacers have been playing their past 10 games than PG.
Previous 2-weeks Stats: 21.5 PPG, 9 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2 STL
Previous Grade: A-
Current 2-weeks stats: 27.7 PPG, 8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 STL
Current Grade: A+

Continue reading iPacers Biweekly Wrap: 11/8/2015 – 11/22/2015

Indiana Pacers Biweekly Wrap: A Tale of Two Pacers 10/28/2015 – 11/7/2015

Welcome to iPacers first biweekly wrap of the 2015-16 season. It’s been an interesting start to the season with two close losses to start against the Raptors and Grizzlies, followed by an embarrassing home blowout loss to the Jazz, but since the Pacers have rattled off 3 straight wins against Eastern conference foes (Pistons, Celtics, and Heat). The Pacers have played both big and small with mixed results for both of them early, but with a lot of success lately. A common theme early was poor second halves that haunted the Pacers in each of the first three losses, but they’ve managed to win two straight close games in the final quarter with great defense and just enough offense. Here’s some brief analysis and a grade for each player on the roster through the Pacers first six games:

Continue reading Indiana Pacers Biweekly Wrap: A Tale of Two Pacers 10/28/2015 – 11/7/2015

Mel Daniels, Pacers legend, dies at the age of 71

The world lost a beloved man today. Pacers legend and Hall of Famer Mel Daniels died at the age of 71. On the basketball court, Daniels was one of the Pacers all-time greats. He averaged over 19 points and 16 rebounds in his six seasons with the team while winning 3 ABA Championships. Daniels was a 2-time ABA MVP, a 7-time ABA All-Star, and the league’s all-time leader in rebounds. He turned down a scholarship offer to play with another Indiana hoops legend, Oscar Robertson, at Cincinnati to be the first first-round draft pick to chose the ABA over the NBA. He’s one of only four Pacers to have his number retired by the organization. After his playing career was over, Daniels served many positions in the Pacers organization including assistant coach and scout and was an active part of the franchise even today. Here are reactions from all over the NBA:

Continue reading Mel Daniels, Pacers legend, dies at the age of 71

iPacers 2015-16 Season Preview: Predictions, Guesses, Hypotheses, and More Things That I’ll Be Wrong About [GIVEAWAY DETAILS INSIDE]

Rejoice for the NBA season is here! The Indiana Pacers start playing again tomorrow night! Their first opponent is on the road against the Toronto Raptors led by Kyle Lowry (also featuring former Pacer Luis Scola).

There have been so many changes to the team over the offseason with nearly half of the roster from last season now playing elsewhere (David West, Roy Hibbert, Scola, Damjan Rudez, Chris Copeland, Donald Sloan, CJ Watson). New players came from free agency (Monta Ellis, Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Hill), the draft (Myles Turner and Joe Young), and via trade (Chase Budinger, Rakeem Christmas). Larry Bird and Frank Vogel are switching to a completely new style on the court this year, emphasizing the space and pace that has been all the rage lately in the NBA. Paul George is somewhat reluctantly trying a new position on offense while returning from a broken leg. The Pacers focus has been offense, offense, offense in training camp, which is strange after seeing Pacers teams built on “smashmouth” basketball with Hibbert and West. With so many new variables, it feels like this year just about anything could happen for the Pacers and all of their players. So, naturally, when the year feels especially unpredictable, I thought I’d give a few predictions for what I think is in store for the Pacers season:

Continue reading iPacers 2015-16 Season Preview: Predictions, Guesses, Hypotheses, and More Things That I’ll Be Wrong About [GIVEAWAY DETAILS INSIDE]

Roger Brown: This Picture is Worth a Thousand Words #2

In case, this is your first time here: Here’s the concept of This Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: I take an interesting picture from the history of the Indiana Pacers from ABA glory to the modern era and literally write 1,000 words about the photo.

If you missed the first of the series: Here’s my analysis of Reggie-Miller-tortured Knicks fans.

My 1,000 words start now:

Continue reading Roger Brown: This Picture is Worth a Thousand Words #2

Pacers Preseason Wrap Up / Season Predictions

The Pacers ended their preseason with a 5-2 record and seemed to get more and more comfortable with each other every game: an important factor when nearly half of the team is new to playing with each other. Here’s some positive, negative, and in between thoughts on preseason and the Pacers hopes for this rapidly approaching regular season.

Continue reading Pacers Preseason Wrap Up / Season Predictions

Reggie Miller at the Garden: This Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words #1

Trying out a new blog post series today called This Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words. You can probably guess what this series will be, but here’s the concept: I find an interesting picture from Pacers history (from the way, way back in the ABA days to the glorious shots of the current team) and literally write one thousand words on it. This could be a disaster, but it should be a fun one.

I can’t think of a better way to start than with my favorite sports photo of all-time as seen above. Here we go, exactly 1,000 words starting now:
Continue reading Reggie Miller at the Garden: This Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words #1

Everybody hates Roy

Roy Hibbert has a knack for saying the wrong thing to the media. There was his dumb “no homo” joke in the playoffs and the “selfish dudes” comment pointed towards unnamed teammates in the midst of the great collapse of 2013-14. And, now, here’s what Roy had to say in a Q&A with David Aldridge:

“Hibbert said what? Now he’s bashing Frank Vogel on his way out? Man, I’m so glad he’s gone. What a cheap shot. No respect.” This was the general reaction by Pacers fans and the local media. Here’s a sampling of what I saw on Twitter within a couple hours:

Continue reading Everybody hates Roy

The roster is full: A Quick Overview of the 2015-16 Indiana Pacers.

With the Pacers signing of Glenn Robinson III to a 3-year deal and acquisition of Rakeem Christmas via trade, the Pacers have quickly filled up their roster with 15 players now under contract. Only 8 of the 15 were on the Pacers squad last season, as 7 were either not resigned (Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, Donald Sloan, CJ Watson), were traded (Roy Hibbert, Damjan Rudež) or simply opted out of their contract to sign elsewhere (David West).

So, with nearly half of last year’s roster out of town. Here’s what the roster looks like when divided up into three different position categories:

Continue reading The roster is full: A Quick Overview of the 2015-16 Indiana Pacers.

How the Pacers traded Dale Davis for a 2019 2nd-round draft pick

Diving through a transaction web and seeing all the moves that had to happen in order for a team to get a certain player can be mesmerizing at times. I was thinking about this the other day and found one web that will go back nearly 30 years by the time it comes to fruition. It all boils down to this: The Pacers traded Dale Davis for a 2019 2nd-round pick. Confused? Well, let me explain:

Continue reading How the Pacers traded Dale Davis for a 2019 2nd-round draft pick

Pacers announce ‘Hoosiers’-themed “Hickory Pacers” uniforms for 2015-16 season

George Hill made the announcement on Twitter a little over an hour ago:

Maybe, the most important part of this announcement is that we finally know why George Hill went blonde. It’s so his hair would match the Hickory Pacers uniforms. I must say, George, it’s a nice touch.

Continue reading Pacers announce ‘Hoosiers’-themed “Hickory Pacers” uniforms for 2015-16 season

Joe Young SIGNED PHOTO GIVEAWAY and Summer League Recap

SIGNED PHOTO GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Click here for more entries into the Joe Young signed photo giveaway

Tell me what you think about Joe Young and leave a comment on this page for 5 additional entries into the raffle.

And now for the post:

If you missed the post on Myles Turner’s performance at Summer League click here.

After missing his first game due to illness, Joe Young had a tremendous Summer League as he was the leading scorer in Orlando with 22.5 PPG. So, how will his game translate once the games start to matter? What does he still need to work on? Here’s an overview of what we saw at Orlando.

Continue reading Joe Young SIGNED PHOTO GIVEAWAY and Summer League Recap

UPDATED: Monta Ellis contract temporarily voided by NBA

Zach Lowe from Grantland with the reporting:

So, no real cause for concern, Monta Ellis will still be an Indiana Pacer, but it is a little embarrassing that the Pacers cap team managed to screw this up. Let’s try and take a rough look at why this may have happened:

Continue reading UPDATED: Monta Ellis contract temporarily voided by NBA

Myles Turner: Summer League Recap

The Orlando Summer League ended over a week ago, but the Pacers draft pick performances deserve recognition and analysis. While the Pacers squad only won a single game of their five in total, Myles Turner and Joseph Young were two of the top three scorers at Orlando, and each were named to NBA TV’s All-Tournament Team along with Russ Smith of the Grizzlies, Aaron Gordon of the Magic, and Stanley Johnson of the Pistons. Here’s a look at the stats for the Pacers picks:

Myles Turner: 18.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 4.3 BPG, 61% FG in 3 games

Joe Young: 22.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 51% FG in 4 games

I’ll talk more about Joe Young in my next post (EDIT: Available now), but here’s some analysis on Mr. Turner:

Continue reading Myles Turner: Summer League Recap