Myles Turner is a name that was expected to break out in a big way throughout the 2017-18 NBA season. He was expected to become the face of the Indiana Pacers’ franchise after the Paul George trade in the offseason. While he hasn’t become the “face” of the Pacers’ franchise, he certainly did show development.
No one saw the breakout season that Victor Oladipo had coming. He made the All-Star game, is likely going to win the Most Improved Player award, as the Indianapolis Star breaks down, and is one of the hottest up-and-coming stars in the league. Turner, on the other hand, is still viewed by Pacers’ fans as the co-leader of the franchise, but fans around the league may not know what Turner is capable of becoming.
Turner ended up playing in 65 games this season, starting in 62 of those appearances. He suffered from injury issues early in the season, namely a concussion and elbow issue. Those injuries kept him from getting into a rhythm early on in the year.
At the end of the season, Turner’s numbers may not look super flashy. He averaged 12.7 points per game to go along with 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Turner shot 47.9 percent from the field overall and knocked down 35.7 percent from the three-point line.
Fans simply looking at the statistics will see that the Indiana big man declined in 2017-18. His points per game averaged dropped from 14.5 the year before, his rebounds from 7.3 per game, and his blocks from 2.1. That may concern average fans, but those that watched closely saw Turner sacrificing his own game in order for the team to succeed.
There are still concerns about some particular areas of Turner’s game. Namely, Turner has not shown the strength needed to be an NBA center, and he has not developed as a rebounder or post scorer. If he can fix those three issues, the Pacers are going to have a star in the making.
Despite the negatives that can be seen from Turner this season, he is just 22 years of age. He would just be coming into the NBA Draft if he had stayed all four years with the Texas Longhorns. Age is just one thing that Turner has going for him.
Very few big men in the NBA have the type of athleticism to go with the game that Turner possesses. He may not have go-to post moves yet, but he can knock down the mid-range jumper and step out to the three-point line as well. Turner showed much more confidence this season with his ball-handling, and his defense has continued to evolve as well.
Indiana is a team to watch over the next few seasons. They may not be a championship contender, but they have a lot of talent and a great front office with Kevin Pritchard leading the way. Turner may not have had the All-Star caliber season that he was hoping for, but he did enough to keep the Pacers confident in his future.
Expect to see Turner take the upcoming offseason seriously and come back a much-improved player in 2018-19. Indiana is now headed to the NBA Playoffs and Turner will be a huge key for them if they want to get past the first round.
Turner may have disappointed some fans, but the young big man hasn’t come close to showing what he is capable of.
Myles Turner 2017-18 Season Grade: B+