NBA

What’s Going on in Indiana?

It’s only 13 games in.  Pacers have a respectable 7-5 record.  They’ve also (besides Thad Young forgetting how to score) been putting teams away handily, having a balanced but had-nosed approach that head coach Nate McMillan is trying to instill.  I keep telling myself all of this, but I keep circling back to the same question I had at the beginning: the f*** is up with Miles Turner?

For those that don’t know, rather than let Miles Turner hit the Restricted FA this offseason, the Pacers went ahead and gave him a 4 year/$80 million extension.  A lot of people agreed it was the smart move.  While there were some concerns over his rebounding, and how he can only get blocks on help defense, it was applauded because a lot of ‘leaked’ videos came out of him in his summer workouts.  And boy, was I even getting impressed.  He was strokin’ (lol) from behind the arc.  In one particular video I saw, he hit 37 in a row going around the world (which means he shot once and rotated to the next spot).  While such elite shooters like Steph, Klay, and others have desensitized us to the skill it takes to hit that many in a row, seeing a 7-footer do that with perfect form is something amazing to witness.

And now, following the Philly game, I was disappointed. Turner hasn’t really improved his game much.  He still can’t post up, he can’t rebound, he can’t play 1-on-1 defense against bigs (almost all his blocks come from him helping on defense against guards and wings), and he isn’t scoring.  Against Philly the other night, he was 2-8 from the field with no 3-point attempts.

…excuse me?

This man is probably the 3rd or 4th best 3-point shooter on the team (Dougie McBuckets is, of course, the de facto best), and he had NO 3-point attempts?  Hell, even Doug only got 1 attempt.

…I’m seriously at a loss for words…

Look, Nate, I get that Indiana “isn’t Boston or Philly.”  I can even get that you “want to play Indiana ball.” But Jesus man, you’re telling me you can’t run a single pick-and-pop between Miles Turner and Victor Oladipo?  Are you saying that you are okay having the second slowest pace (95.7) in the NBA right now where the current average this year is 113.4? Are you saying that you’re so opposed to taking threes that you are handicapping your one of your best young players by removing what he does best from the table?

With Thad Young’s offensive woes, it seems like the answer for that is (and should rightfully be) by giving Domantas Sabonis more time/shots.  But what about Victor Oladipo’s 3 point woes?  Oladipo is 31/88 this year through 11 games, and is currently 13/44 in November through 4 games.  Turner, on the other hand, is 2/10 on the year, and 0/4 in November.

I get that you want you best player taking a lion’s share of the shots, but 78 more threes?  Really?  Those are Turner’s bread and butter!  Oladipo, who has played 2 years longer than Turner, is a 35.3% career shooter from beyond the arc.  Turner, who is currently in his 4th year, is a 34.1% career shooter.  While that may sound better to some people, and to others marginal, keep in mind that both had their best year shooting the three ball occur last year (Turner – 35.7%, Dipo – 37.1%).  I can already hear people screaming at me that he is an All-Star, that he’s getting better, and any other excuse.  But Myles Turner is roughly the same 3 point shooter Victor Oladipo was in his 4th year, and Turner was pretty much by himself before Dipo came.  Dipo had others to draw attention away from him.

Am I saying that Turner should be taking just as many threes as Dipo? No.  Am I saying the Turner is a better three point shooter than Dipo? No.  What I am saying is that it is unheard of for a stretch big known to love playing beyond the arc, who just got a huge extension, to pass up taking an open three with a guard on him or ‘guarding’ him.  And yet I watched Turner pass up that shot half a dozen times against Philly.

I don’t know what Nate McMillan is up to, but it is narrowing the scope of what they can do offensively.  Even though it may not be costing them games now, and it is still early, I don’t like the direction the Pacers seem to be going in.  Especially since it seems like they blew $20 mil of their cap space on a guy they aren’t letting succeed.

Categories: NBA

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