Tag Archives: myles turner

With the trade deadline approaching, the Pacers must choose a path

The Indiana Pacers miss Tyrese Haliburton desperately. They’ve now lost seven straight games since his injury and have gone from being 23-18 and feeling pretty good at 6th in the conference standings to 23-25 and just a half game ahead of the 10th seed.

Your fortunes can change so quickly in the NBA.

With the trade deadline less than three weeks away, that puts the Pacers at three wins behind the Miami Heat for 6th in the conference and three wins ahead of both the Wizards and Raptors who sit outside the play-in and in the lottery. Thus, Kevin Pritchard and the front office find themselves at a decision point in this choose-your-own-adventure season that’s only going to become more critical if the losing streak continues:

  • Option 1: Stay the course with the team as is. Hope that Haliburton’s return gets the team back on track and in position to make the playoffs and gain valuable experience for a young team.
  • Option 2: Look to upgrade the roster in some way at the deadline to gain players that fit the long-term vision of the team and help push for the playoffs now, utilizing the three 2023 first-rounders and players on the roster stuck in the logjam of smaller wings and centers that could do better with a change of scenery.
  • Option 3: Take this losing streak without Haliburton as a sign that the veterans on this team aren’t part of the long-term future to becoming a contender if they can’t even beat the Suns backups without him. Trade away some of those veterans on the roster for future draft capital and/or young prospects and give even more minutes to the youth currently on the team.
It’s a good thing I don’t run the Pacers because I’m like Chidi in The Good Place when it comes to making a choice.

Perhaps the most concerning part of these losses that are piling up like the dishes in my sink is many of these teams they have faced during this streak have been short-handed. The Bucks played without Giannis; the Nuggets played without Jokic; the Suns were without Booker, Paul, and Ayton. The statistics don’t put any positive spin on the losses. In the last six games, the Pacers are 30th in the league in net rating (-13.9), true-shooting percentage (52.7%), and turnovers per game (18). The struggle is real and most of these games have been hard to get through.

Buddy Hield has struggled to find consistent looks with increased defensive attention. Andrew Nembhard has hit the rookie wall hard. Chris Duarte is just starting to break out of the slump of his life. Myles Turner missed the start of this losing streak but has clearly missed Haliburton’s ability to consistently get him the ball in the paint after switches. Everyone on the team besides TJ McConnell is finding life much harder without the Pacers star. Haliburton did provide an update on his injured knee and elbow recently that he’s aiming to be back at the start of February, so he’ll still be out for at least the next four games against the Bulls, Magic, Bucks, and Grizzlies.

With all of these possible paths to take, I’m aware that it isn’t quite that simple. The front office is surely always open to option two if the right deal comes along whether or not it helps their playoff push for this season. The flaw in the logic of option three could be that while the veterans on the roster can’t lead the team to wins right now, it doesn’t mean that a younger player on the roster like Bennedict Mathurin couldn’t evolve in a year or two to be the secondary closer, change the hierarchy of the roster, and allow those veterans to not need to step up as much as they need to currently when Haliburton is out. They could also do the trade a ton of picks for a second star thing that so many teams have done in recent years this summer which could have the same effect as a Mathurin leap.

Options one and three are murky when it comes to Myles Turner, whose future with the team comes down to his extension talks with the organization. If the front office wants to keep the team together, it doesn’t matter if they can’t come to terms with their center to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency. They’ll likely have to move him. And if they can agree to terms, that doesn’t necessarily take the third option off the table as Turner is young enough to fit the timeline of the rest of the roster while they could still look to move players like Hield and McConnell.

Yes, there’s a fourth option I didn’t include. They could do the short-term buy a veteran for a single year playoff push but I think we can all agree that’s a terrible idea, right?

Answer to the question of should the Pacers trade for veteran rentals like Eric Gordon.

If they do decide to make dramatic changes to the team, it’s imperative that Tyrese is at least aware and hopefully on board with the direction. You don’t want to start your relationship with the star of your team by getting rid of players he likes and wants to play with, but you also have to do what you feel is best for the franchise long term. Taking away a chance to make the playoffs for the first time may be hard to swallow for Haliburton initially. While that may raise the pressure for the Pacers, they do have a lot of time to build a winning team around their budding star and culture setter still on his rookie contract.

You could make an argument that this team could make the playoffs as-is with how they looked just a few weeks ago, and that playoff experience would be just as valuable as another high lottery pick. It’s also clear that it wouldn’t take much to continue to slide down the standings, and that this draft is packed with the exact types of forwards the team has long been lacking. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to fall all the way to 6th to 8th worst in the league with decent lottery odds.

But where they stand currently at 9th or 10th in the play-in tournament is probably the worst place the Pacers could finish this season in terms of the long-term prospects of the team. Whatever path Kevin Pritchard and company decide to take, I’ll be hoping they move dramatically in one direction or the other in the standings.

My guy Olmec to KP

PacersrecaP #25: Pacers fall behind early, fall apart late in loss to Timberwolves

So, it may not be the best plan to fall behind by a ton of points and try to make comebacks for nearly all of your team’s wins. Who knew?

The Wolves were up 23 early in the second quarter. The Pacers came all the way back to be up 8 in the third quarter. Then, in a back and forth fourth quarter, the Pacers fell apart in the final minute and lost by a final score of 121-115.

There were plenty of positives to take away from this one. Perhaps the most important of them all: the West coast road trip is over. Rejoice all ye EST fans and respect to ye international watchers that watch these games live no matter the timezone; I seriously have no idea how you do it.

1. Tyrese Haliburton is back and back to his All-Star hopeful ways

Haliburton returned from his sore groin injury that caused him to miss two games and was back to immediately doing things that have never been done before. He had 26 points and 15 assists which is the first time any Pacers player has ever put up 25/15 in a game in franchise history. He also added three steals including a pair of fantastic free safety interceptions that stopped transition opportunities.

Haliburton struggled dealing with the length of Jaden McDaniels in the first game against the Wolves two weeks ago as he shot just 4 for 15 and scored only 10 points in one of the first games that teams tried to match him up with a longer wing this season. He made the necessary adjustments in the second chance against them tonight as he went 9 for 14 to break out of a little shooting slump of late. Continue reading PacersrecaP #25: Pacers fall behind early, fall apart late in loss to Timberwolves

PacersrecaP #15: Indiana Pacers win fourth straight behind career night from Aaron Nesmith

The Indiana Pacers cannot stop winning games after being down by double digits. After tonight’s 114-113 win against the Orlando Magic after being down by as many as 10 in the first half, the Pacers completed their fourth straight comeback win and five of their nine wins have been from games in which they trailed by at least 10.

At 9-6, the Pacers now are tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for 4th in the Eastern Conference and so continues the continuously surprising, exciting start to the Pacers rebuild. They’ve now won eight of their last 10 games after their 1-4 start. Their chemistry continues to be discussed as the reason they’ve been so successful in this stretch.

“We’re growing together as a group, getting better every day,” said Tyrese Haliburton after the game, “becoming closer on and off the floor. That’s allowed us to have trust in each other to play these games.”

1. The Aaron Nesmith Game

Aaron Nesmith was scoreless in three of his last four games. Tonight, he made his first four 3-pointers and scored the last 5 points for the Pacers with a clutch 3-pointer with 1:37 left that immediately matched a stepback triple from Franz Wagner that gave the Magic a brief 4-point lead and a huge contested offensive rebound with less than 10 seconds left that ended up with Nesmith earning a trip to the foul line where he buried both free throws to give the Pacers the lead for good. To cap it all off, it was Nesmith on the final play of the game who earned the stop on Wagner and clinched the game once and for all.

Before last night, Nesmith had only made 9 of 32 from deep (28%). He boosted his season average to a number closer to league average at 35% after going 5 of 8.

He finished with a career-high 19 points (previously 18 with the Celtics) and his 5 3-pointers were also a personal best. His active defense and hot shooting were the difference in this game as the Pacers outscored the Magic by 17 in his 25 minutes. The Pacers celebrated by nearly taking out his ACL as he slipped from the surprise water bottle pouring during the post-game interview. Fortunately, he was fine and laughing about it.

2. Tyrese Haliburton’s ankle is just fine

Haliburton avoided missing any time at all after the injury scare the previous night. The team repeatedly asked him over and over to make sure he was comfortable with playing tonight after they found no red flags to be concerned about with the ankle. Haliburton didn’t want to take the night off.

“In an NBA world where it’s pretty cool these days to sit out games, he did not want to hear about sitting out tonight,” Carlisle said after the game. “… He insisted on playing … All of his testing stuff was that both legs and ankles were identical. There were no red flags about him playing, but on the second night of a back-to-back, a lot of players in this league would have readily taken it off. He did not. It’s another indicator of the culture we’re building. It’s not just the staff that’s preaching it. It’s the best players. It’s a very positive thing for us.”

Based on his play, you’d never guess that he was down the previous night in clear pain, yelling expletives, and then limping to the locker room. Haliburton scored 22 points, dished out 14 assists, and had numerous big plays on defense with 3 blocks and 2 steals. There was no doubt that he was feeling just fine from the start of the game where he scored or assisted on 11 straight points for the team to get the Pacers going after starting down 10-1. By the time Haliburton hit a half-court buzzer beater at the end of the first half, he had already erased any concerns anyone may have had.

He had 10 of his 14 assists in the second half including 7 during the key run of the game where the Pacers went from down 63-70 to up 87-77 in the third quarter. Haliburton just dominated during this stretch by consistently finding holes in the defense inside or moving it to open shooters at the right time to transition trailers like when he found Nesmith for his 4th triple, a classic drive and kick like the plays he found Myles Turner and Jalen Smith, or just simply trusting his teammates like when he passed up a pull-up 2 for a Buddy Hield 3. He scored or assisted on all but 3 points in this Pacers run. The highlight of them all probably his perfectly placed alley oop to Bennedict Mathurin.

Haliburton walked into the building in this one like his detective character was going undercover with the mafia. No short film script this time but maybe Detective Tyrese II comes out soon. In the meantime, enjoy this bad photoshop.

3. Terry Taylor, small-ball 5, returns in all its glory

Also happening amidst the Pacers big 3rd quarter run was this situation. Bol Bol was making play after play and giving the Pacers defense problems, the Magic have height and length all over the floor even without Paolo Banchero, and the Pacers down three with 5:22 left in the third quarter had consistently been battling back to being within one possession but never quite getting over that hump like they were Shadow trying to climb out of that mud pit at the end of Homeward Bound just without the tears pouring out of my eyes.

Don’t give up, Shadow! Peter needs you. 😭

The solution to the Magic’s gargantuan length? Terry Taylor, 6’5” center. After Taylor entered the game, the Pacers went on a 16-3 run to get their first lead of the game and push it all the way to 10 points before the Magic started a comeback of their own. The only points not assisted by Haliburton in that stretch mentioned in the previous section? A classic Taylor offensive rebound and putback and-1. In his 5 minutes, the Pacers were +8 and went from down 3 to up 5 at the end of the third quarter. It came at the expense of Isaiah Jackson minutes but with Oshae Brissett as the tallest player on the floor for the Pacers, but Carlisle’s move to go super small worked. It was good to see him and Brissett contribute to a positive stretch when Taylor–and Brissett until recently–have struggled to find consistent playing time.

4. 20 and 10 starting to feel like a normal game for Myles Turner

Myles Turner continued his hot play with 20 points (8 of 13), 11 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block. It was Turner’s fifth double double in the last six games and the first game of the year where he didn’t have more than one block. The Pacers are now 7-0 when Myles Turner plays at least 26 minutes and 7-3 overall in his 10 games. 6-0 in he makes a 3-pointer. The games that the Pacers have lost since Turner returned his ankle sprain: his first game of the season where he played 24 minutes against the Bulls and struggled to find his rhythm, the post Woj Pod game against the Nets that may have been the worst game in his career, and the loss against the Nuggets were Turner sat out almost all of the third quarter with foul trouble.

In November over seven games, he’s averaged 20.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.7 blocks with shooting splits of 62.3/47.4/82.6. This is the Myles Turner that fans have been hoping to see since those bright flashes in his rookie season. Caitlin Cooper with some key statistics in his improvement to begin the year:

The Pacers two-most used lineups this season are now the starting lineups of Haliburton, Turner, Hield, Smith, and one of Nembhard or Nesmith. It’s still a very small sample size but the net ratings of those groups are +15 over 80 minutes with Nembhard and +25.9 over 37 minutes with Nesmith. No one has benefited from playing with Haliburton more than Turner and that’ll likely be especially true once he gets paid this summer. He’s getting passes inside that he could only dream about over his first seven seasons with the team. It’s one thing to finally have consistent trust from his teammates and them having the ability to get him the ball in the right spots but he’s also taking major advantage of those opportunities he’s getting by finishing over mismatches, drawing fouls inside, and going up with force and dunking it when he can.

This November has been Turner’s version of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy where you see all the lessons he’s learned over the years and putting it all together to masterful effect. His driving against closeouts and spacing the floor appropriately when needed that became a skill while playing on the perimeter the past two seasons like West’s use of autotune in Runaway and Lost in the World that never happens without 808s and Heartbreak. His quick, no-time wasted, catch and put it up over the mismatch that was reminiscent of his rookie quick turnaround days in the post like Devil in a New Dress emitting that classic soul sample vibes of the early Kanye days. His blocks at the rim that lead to transition opportunities the Kanye at his best with Power and All of the Lights. 89.7% of Turner’s buckets have been assisted this year like the producers and featured artist that helped elevate West to new heights in this album.

There’s a lot of games left in this season for Turner to prove he can both stay healthy and be this good consistently. There’s still the cloud of Turner’s free agency this summer hanging over this fantastic stretch that make it unclear how long he will remain in Indiana, but it has been very satisfying to see Turner do all the things that many have been waiting, hoping, craving to see from him for a long time.

Stray Observations:

  • The Magic’s Bol Bol and Franz Wagner were super impressive. Wagner, who finished with 29 points, hit a couple of step-back threes late that as ridiculous as it sounds reminded me of LeBron’s overtime performance in the Fieldhouse last season where he just hit three after three to finish the Pacers off. Wagner hit one over Turner that had him shaking his head in disbelief. Magic already got their thinner version of Wemby with Bol, no need for them to win the lottery yet again.
  • Jalen Smith struggled with his 3-point shot (1 for 6) but he made some really nice cuts to the basket in this one and finished a couple post-ups inside to get to 14 points.
  • If you look at the team stats for this one they are nearly identical in many categories (all shooting percentages, field goal attempts, blocks, fouls, largest lead), but the one that decided it all: rebounding. The Pacers won the battle of the boards 42-41, the difference maker that Nesmith game-winning offensive rebound.

PacersrecaP #13: Pacers dismantle the Hornets drop coverage, Bennedict Buckets, and more

The Indiana Pacers are over .500. The Indiana Pacers have a winning record. The Indiana Pacers have won six of their last eight games and sit at 6th in the Eastern Conference standings. These are not things that I expected to write this season.

The Pacers (7-6) ended a 6-game losing streak in Charlotte in the regular season and made their second straight double-digit comeback to win by a final score of 125-113. The Pacers are set up to have every opportunity to continue their hot start as they have the Rockets on Friday and the Magic for two straight games after that.

1. The Pacers sliced up the Hornets’ drop coverage

After facing many teams that cover pick and rolls either by switching or playing at the level of the screen, Tyrese Haliburton’s eyes probably lit up with the Hornets and their drop coverage on the schedule for tonight.  Continue reading PacersrecaP #13: Pacers dismantle the Hornets drop coverage, Bennedict Buckets, and more

PacersrecaP #12: The Inconsistencies of Jalen Smith and Comparing Myles Turner’s Impressive Numbers

The Indiana Pacers are .500 once again after defeating the Toronto Raptors by a final score of 118-104 after out-scoring them by 29 points after trailing by 15 points in opening minute of the third quarter through the end of the game.

If you missed part 1 of this palindrome-inspired column, you can find it here.

#3 Jalen Smith’s Roller Coaster start to the season

Jalen Smith’s season averages look decent for a guy playing about 24 minutes per game: 11 points and 7.6 rebounds.

But in his 12 games so far, Stix hasn’t scored 11 points in any individual game. He really hasn’t even been all that close to 11 in any single game. He’s scored 15 or more points seven times and 8 points or below five times. Just once this season has Smith scored closer than 4 points above or below his season average when he scored 8 points in the win against the Nets. It’s been quite the roller coaster of an early season for Smith.

Inconsistency can make for a fun theme park ride. Red line marks his season average.

Continue reading PacersrecaP #12: The Inconsistencies of Jalen Smith and Comparing Myles Turner’s Impressive Numbers

PacersrecaP #10.2: Tyrese Haliburton talks trash, Myles Turner defends the MVP, and more

PACERSRECAP #10.2: The Denver Nuggets brought the Indiana Pacers back down to Earth and came back from an 18-point deficit to win 122-119. 

If you missed part 1 on the Bennedict Mathurin experience and Isaiah Jackson’s ultra-efficient, prophecy-fulfilling 18 minutes, read that here.

3. Myles Turner vs. Nikola Jokic

If you look at Jokic’s overall numbers for the game, you might not think Myles Turner had the best defensive night against the 2-time MVP. 24 points (10 of 20) in 21 minutes with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, but Turner played fantastic defense down the stretch to give the Pacers a chance to salvage a win after blowing their big lead.

In the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, Jokic went 1 for 7 from the floor with just four points. Continue reading PacersrecaP #10.2: Tyrese Haliburton talks trash, Myles Turner defends the MVP, and more

PacersrecaP #9.1: Wait, are the Pacers good?

The Indiana Pacers (5-5) have won four of their last five games and are tied for 6th in the Eastern Conference after beating the New Orleans Pelicans by a final score of 129-122. 

So are the Pacers actually … good?

“We’re not going to get carried away,” Rick Carlisle said after the game in an attempt to temper any expectations from this nice stretch. 

Speak for yourself, Rick! All aboard the playoffs hype train!

“We’re going to keep working every day,” Carlisle continued in his wise, non-reactionary way.  “We’ll come back and get ready for Denver. But tonight was a great night. I was impressed with every player that stepped on the court, and every player that did not step on the court. We had a real spirited effort.”

The wild thing about the start to this season is when you compare it to last year’s start with a team full of veterans that were supposed to be pushing for the postseason. The Pacers never reached .500 over the course of last season, nor did they ever win 4 of 5 games. The closest they ever came to doing so was when they were 6-8 and had won 5 of 7. 

The difference in the vibes of these two teams is immense. Some of that is the no expectations and the still fresh newness of the roster but it’s much easier to buy into the hope of this group than the staleness of praying for the health of the last iteration.

This hot stretch may not last forever, veterans like Hield and Turner may eventually be traded as the team shifts it’s focus to the future (you do have to wonder if the Pacers are hovering around .500 how into trading these guys Pacers owner Herb Simon will be), but if they continue to be this fun, it’s going to be a great ride no matter what happens.

1. Speaking of rides, the Myles Turner roller coaster reaches a new peak in a dominate performance

37 points (11 of 18), 12 rebounds, 3 blocks. In arguably the best game of his career, Myles Turner was a force throughout the game. Continue reading PacersrecaP #9.1: Wait, are the Pacers good?

PacersrecaP #8: Bennedict’s Simple Math, Pacers balanced attack beats Heat

The Indiana Pacers (4-5) returned home to the fieldhouse after three days off with a win over the Miami Heat (4-6) by a final score of 101-99.

The Pacers defense played well as they held the Heat to shooting just 38.3% overall and 28.2% from deep. It was a schedule win if there ever was one with the Pacers well-rested and the Heat coming off of a tight win the previous night against the Sacramento Kings and sitting Jimmy Butler out. As was said in ages past: Beat the Heat.

The offensive attack was well spread out: Buddy Hield with 25, Bennedict Mathurin with 23, Tyrese Haliburton with 22, and Myles Turner with 16 led the way. A balance even Thanos would be proud of.

1. Bennedict Mathurin lives at the free-throw line

As a rookie, Mathurin is shooting 6.2 free throws per game and looks like he may end up as the best foul drawer / free-throw earner that the Pacers have ever had. His 8 free throws per 36 minutes and his free throw rate of .448 rank highly among the Pacers best players’ best free throw seasons over the last 30+ years: Continue reading PacersrecaP #8: Bennedict’s Simple Math, Pacers balanced attack beats Heat

PacersrecaP #7: Chris Duarte breaks through his slump, the predictable patterns of Myles Turner

The Indiana Pacers lost the game, but Steve Nash lost the war. After fighting back to tie the game at 100 after being down 48-24, the Pacers couldn’t quite finish off their comeback against the Brooklyn Nets, who won by a final score of 116-109, split the miniseries, and promptly fired their head coach the next morning.

Back to the classic formula for the Pacers (3-5) season in this one: fall behind, keep fighting, make a couple big runs, never quite take the lead, eventually lose the game. It’s a script that would be frustrating in a typical season, but with the team focused on growth and development of their young players it has made for an entertaining start to the year.

#1 Chris Duarte breaks through his sophomore slump

Second straight game with a Pacers guard setting a career high against the Brooklyn Nets. Last time, it was rookie Bennedict Mathurin. This time, it was second-year player Chris Duarte, who scored 30 points Continue reading PacersrecaP #7: Chris Duarte breaks through his slump, the predictable patterns of Myles Turner

Myles Turner is likely gone and he knows it

Myles Turner went on the Woj Pod with ESPN’s NBA newsbreaker Adrian Wojnarowski and talked about dealing with years of trade rumors and even dove into the specifics of the oft-discussed Lakers deal.

“That’s such an intriguing question,” Turner said when asked whether the Lakers should make the deal. “I think personally when you look at this business of the league and know the landscape of the league, you have to go off of your future. We all know picks are so valuable in this league and with someone like myself heading into the last year of my deal you want to make sure you’re getting a return for your assets. If I’m the Lakers, I’m taking a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in. I know what I can provide for a team–my leadership, my shot blocking, my 3-point ability, and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor–and I take a very long look at it. As far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot not to make these calls so I couldn’t answer that.”

It’s bizarre to hear a player both being asked and then answering a question about whether a team should trade for him but here we are. Turner, who did admit the appeal of playing in a bigger market like LA later in the podcast, is certainly in a unique position where he’s been in trade rumors maybe longer than anyone in NBA history and is acutely aware of the Pacers situation with him and his upcoming free agency. Continue reading Myles Turner is likely gone and he knows it

PacersrecaP #5: The Haliburton leap, Monster Myles, and TMNT

The Indiana Pacers didn’t lay an egg on national television! It felt necessary to start there. They beat the Washington Wizards as they played well throughout the game on their way to a 127-117 win in what is their only scheduled game on ESPN or TNT this season.

In what was a reverse game script of the first five games, the Pacers were the ones that blitzed their opponent to start the game as a 22-2 run turned an 8-13 deficit into a 30-15 advantage and the Wizards were suddenly the ones trying to put together runs and constantly working uphill. Much like the Pacers in their losses, the Wizards also kept fighting but couldn’t get it any closer than 6 points as Indiana was able to consistently hit timely 3-pointers (15 of 29) or get to the foul line (30 of 33). Every Pacers starter scored at least 15 points and played over 30 minutes in this one. 

#1 Tyrese Haliburton puts on a show for the national audience.

Tyrese Haliburton has repeated his personal goals on a few outlets in the last few months:

  • Average 20 points and 10 assists
  • Be an All-Star

And well, both of those are well within reach. After he scored 25 points and dished out 12 assists on ESPN, he’s checking that first goal off his list about every night as he has averaged 23 points and 10.3 assists. Continue reading PacersrecaP #5: The Haliburton leap, Monster Myles, and TMNT

PacersrecaP #4: Myles Turner is back; Bennedict Mathurin refuses to quit until the final buzzer

PACERSRECAP #4: The Indiana Pacers lost their fourth game of the season last night as the Chicago Bulls lit their defense on fire in the first half with back-to-back 38-point quarters and cruised to a 124-109 win.

The pesky Pacers refused to go away and did get the deficit down into single digits a few times including once at 95-91 but couldn’t string enough stops together to overcome the gigantic hole they put themselves in at the start as the Bulls hit five of their first six 3-point attempts and were ahead 30-15 with 4 minutes left in the first. It’s a similar story to about every game this season except for the Pistons game where they completed the comeback after the terrible start.

#1 Myles Turner is back but he isn’t saving this defense.

No one should have expected Turner to magically fix the many flaws of perimeter defense on this team but tonight was the quick confirmation that they had plenty of issues that go beyond missing their Rim Protector Supreme.  Continue reading PacersrecaP #4: Myles Turner is back; Bennedict Mathurin refuses to quit until the final buzzer

PacersrecaP #00: Three Overreactions to the Indiana Pacers season opener

The Indiana Pacers lost the season opener to the Washington Wizards by a final score of 114-107 but the loss doesn’t mean there were no positives to takeaway from the start of the 2022-23 season.

In fact, in the same spirit of the latest Locked On Pacers episode, it’s a great time for overreacting. And in this season of no expectations, there’s no reason to not think brightly about at least few pieces of the Pacers future.

#1 Bennedict Mathurin will be the greatest shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers since Reggie Miller.

Forget all of the potential rookie-related overreactions: Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie First Team, MVP of the Rookies / Sophomores game, etc. I’m diving straight into predicting Mathurin’s whole career based on his first very game and really just the final sixty seconds. Continue reading PacersrecaP #00: Three Overreactions to the Indiana Pacers season opener

Deciphering the Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers situation

Myles Turner is not interested in an extension with the Indiana Pacers according to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, who appeared on the podcast Setting the Pace.

“They have every reason to believe that Myles Turner is not going to sign an extension to stay here,” Kravitz said on Setting the Pace. “… It’s not me guessing here. Myles has no interest in staying in Indianapolis.”

Now, Turner has come out on Twitter to call “cap” at least on the second half of that statement (translation: saying that he is not interested in staying with the Pacers is false).

There’s a few possible reasons for the disconnect between what Kravitz reported and Turner’s feelings about his situation. Continue reading Deciphering the Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers situation

Possible effects of Jalen Smith being a starter for the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers held a press conference for the re-signing of Jalen Smith yesterday with much pomp and circumstance as team employees clapped and cheered at every opportunity for some added flair and energy to the events.

The biggest news to come from it is that Smith, who averaged 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in just under 25 minutes per game with the Pacers, will be the team’s starting power forward next season which came straight from the mouth of the head coach, Rick Carlisle.

Details of the contract were reported by Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Originally reported as a 2-year deal when news broke of his re-signing by multiple outlets, Agness says the deal was tweaked over the last few days and it is now a 3-year contract with a player option on the third season. The first season in the deal will start at $4.67 million, which is what the Pacers were limited to offering due to the Suns declining his team option of the same amount. Continue reading Possible effects of Jalen Smith being a starter for the Indiana Pacers

The Many Problems of the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are 9-16. The 7th-worst record in the NBA. They are on their third head coach in three seasons and out of excuses.

“We can’t be an organization or a team that accepts mediocrity,” Myles Turner said after the latest embarrassing loss for the Pacers who fell to the Miami Heat without both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. “That’s what we’ve been playing like. We got to up the ante, somehow someway … we have to find a way to fucking win.”

So what’s the problem with these Pacers? Continue reading The Many Problems of the Indiana Pacers

After Sabonis extension, these Pacers have time to grow together

Do you like the look of the current Pacers roster? Because the majority of this team could be in Indiana for awhile after Kevin Pritchard and the front office agreed to an extension with Domantas Sabonis less than two hours before today’s deadline.

It was a bit of a surprise development after rumors that the Pacers were at least listening to offers for their young center this past week and Sabonis seemed unhappy and a little frustrated with the situation after practice on Saturday.

Bobby Marks of ESPN had reported that Myles Turner extension amount of $72 million was seen as a “non-starter” by Sabonis’s agent, so it seemed he was looking for much more than the terms that ended up being agreed upon.

Sabonis’s contract extension is for four years and $74.9 million according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, just a shade larger than Turner’s deal signed last year at about this same time. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that with bonuses the deal can reach up to $85 million. This amount won’t start until next season as he plays out the last season of his rookie contract in 2019-20.

With Sabonis under contract for the next five seasons, he joins many Pacers that are in long-term deals with the team: Continue reading After Sabonis extension, these Pacers have time to grow together

India Pacers showed us what is possible — both good and bad

It’s only preseason, but the Indiana Pacers showed us a little of what was possible for them this season. While most of it was good, there are a few reasons to worry as well.

It’s easy to write off anything good about a pair of preseason games, especially when two teams are playing far, far from home, but with a new roster for the Indiana Pacers, we’re at least getting a glimpse of what’s possible.

T.J. Warren won’t shoot 5 of 6 from deep every night — he shot 1 for 4 after getting us drunk on expectations in his first preseason game. We also saw him lost on defense several times, but that’s not why the Pacers brought him in, as they knew that was a liability of his.

Warren is a microcosm of the Pacers’ situation at the moment. There are great possibilities in what he and many of the new (and old) members of the team add, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t look at the negatives as well.

The Sabonis-Turner pairing is still fraught with danger

No matter where you put one of them, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are both effectively centers. We saw them both try to play the position as such more than once in the two games.

Some of those mistakes will fix themselves over time as they adjust to not always being the ‘real’ center on the court but expect to see that happen from time to time until further notice.

Turner is better at recovering when he gets caught out of place, but that might just mean teams will look to make sure they can force Sabonis to be the one having to show and recover back to the basket.

It’s my biggest fear for the Pacers this season — that in the long-run, the duo can’t work together — but they did show some adaptations, too.  Continue reading India Pacers showed us what is possible — both good and bad

Pairing of Turner and Sabonis the talk of Pacers Media Day

With Media Day unofficially marking the start of a new season for the Indiana Pacers, there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding the team that saw a lot of change over the off-season  with no bigger question than the now starting big-men duo of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

Can the two play together on a successful team? Who guards who defensively? Can they figure out the spacing issues on offense? These are questions that may decide the fate for the upcoming season and both Nate McMillan and Myles Turner’s press conference started off with a question early on about the pairing.

“Me and Domas have been talking about playing together for a long time now,” said Turner. “We definitely still have a lot of work to do but I think we bring a lot to the table.”

Coach Nate McMillan said match-ups will dictate who guards the four and who is the five, but deep down, we know they are both centers. Turner acknowledged the challenge that guarding the perimeter will be for one of them as well. Continue reading Pairing of Turner and Sabonis the talk of Pacers Media Day

Myles Turner calls All-Defense snub ‘blatant disrespect’

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner was not selected to either of the NBA’s All-Defensive teams that were announced today.

At the center position, Rudy Gobert was selected for the first team and Joel Embiid was selected for the second team. Turner, the league’s leading shot blocker, received just one vote for first team and 37 for second team.

Turner was unhappy with the results calling it “blatant disrespect” on Twitter.

Kevin Pritchard replied to his center’s tweet with, “We know Myles!”

Thad Young, who received a pair of votes for second team, came to Turner’s defense.

Turner improved his defensive acumen from previous seasons with better footwork and being in position to block or challenge shots at the rim more often. His 2.7 blocks per game and 8.4 block percentage led the entire league.

Turner responded to not being one of the final nominees for Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week with a blue cap emoji 🧢 and did the same with the news today with two of them.

It looks like Turner will have plenty of extra motivation for his workouts this summer.