Pacers Challenging Myles Turner To Become NBA’s Best Defensive Center


Pacers Challenging Myles Turner To Become NBA’s Best Defensive Center

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Pacers Challenging Myles Turner To Become NBA’s Best Defensive Center

Going into his 5th NBA season, Myles Turner has grown into one of the NBA’s best defensive big man. What is Turner’s mindset heading into the 2019-20 campaign?

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – The days of trying to force Myles Turner into becoming more of a back-to-the-basket center are gone.

As Turner heads into his 5th NBA season with the Pacers, there’s clear approach from within the organization of what they want out of No. 33.

It’s a lofty goal, but it doesn’t involve expanding his skill on the offensive end of the floor.

“We challenged Myles to become the best defensive center in the NBA,” general manager Chad Buchanan says. “He’s motivated that he didn’t make the All-Defense team. We want him to be a better rebounder, and an anchor on a championship team.”

The Pacers will gladly sign up for a dominant rim protector on one end of the floor, and a guy who can extend the defense on the other end of things.

“We want him to improve his rebounding,” Nate McMillan says. “We feel if he can do that, offensively stretch the floor, then that is what we are looking for from him.

“I don’t want him to be too concerned about (posting up). He didn’t do that with Team USA, you aren’t pounding the ball inside to any post-up player. I think he just needs to be patient. When he has matchups. That’s when he needs to make a good play and put the ball in the basket.”

Turner, who surprisingly didn’t draw any All-NBA defense attention last season, despite leading the league in blocked shots, acknowledges the desire to take another step defensively, while having a few other things on his to-do list.

“Take another step defensively,” Turner begins about his goals for the 2019-20 season. “Offensively, I've been producing at a decent level, but not the level I'm capable of. And being a bigger voice, especially while (Oladipo) is out."

It was a busy summer for the 23-year-old Turner.

He spent a few days training with Hall of Fame big man Kevin McHale.

He not only made Team USA for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but he was the team’s starting center.

Turner believes playing in the ‘grittier’ style of FIBA will help him in his now 5th NBA season.

Is the International stage what Turner needed to truly reach the potential that many in the Pacers organization believe is possible?

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