CHARLOTTE, NC – When Rick Carlisle is faced with a question these days about Miles Turner, he tries to keep his answer from just Miles Turner.
Because Carlisle knows questions about Miles Turner aren’t just about Miles Turner either. They are finally about what the Pacers can and should do with Miles Turner and how it will affect this team and the future of the franchise. Is the 26-year-old center’s newfound consistency sustainable, or will it dissipate? If it’s sustainable, does that mean the Pacers should stick with it, and see if they can help carry this surprising team beyond its supposed station as a lottery team and pay for a new contract when it runs out at the end of this season? Or does this simply mean that the Pacers have a more valuable trading chip on their hands than they realized, one that they must use to exact maximum ransom from a title contender in need of a big man sometime between now and February?
Carlisle knows it’s best not to say anything that will show the Pacers’ cards, and that it’s also best not to say anything that will upset one of the most impressively consistent playing runs of Turner’s NBA career, now in its eighth season. So when asked about Turner’s 20-point, 10-rebound performance Wednesday night in the Pacers’ 125-113 comeback during Charlotte Hornets – Turner double-double in a row – Carlisle zoomed out with his answer instead of zooming in.
“The message to our entire squad is to ‘control the small stuff,’” Carlisle said, before turning the discussion to defending, rebounding and shooting at the right time at the reserve striker. O’Shea Brissett. “…we have some younger guys learning what this is all about. We are a culture that is very focused on stats and highlights that developing a culture with a young team doing the right things can be a challenge. But we have guys who are willing to listen and adapt “.
Carlisle did not use Turner’s name in a question that was explicitly about Turner, but his answer includes a full explanation of why the center is so effective and why its value to both the Pacers and any team it might be. Those interested in kicking him out of the game are growing. He controls the simpletons, he listens, and he adapts. Instead of disappearing as it is sometimes known after several good matches in a row, it excels without having to do anything beyond the basics.
Turner scored 20 points Wednesday night on just 10 field goal attempts. He attempted only 2 of his 3-pointers, and made one. The 6-11, 250-pounder was so effective because he was eager to do one of the most important parts of his job, which was diving to the basket on screen and lapping.
The Pacers discovered early in the first half that the Hornets were playing low coverage on pick-and-roll, turner and point guard Therese Halliburton They decided that they could and should exploit it. They turned those plays into layups and floats for Turner and midrange and layup buckets for Halliburton, who finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“It was Miles rolling,” Haliburton said. “Miles is rolling and he’s getting big. We haven’t seen a drop in coverage in a little while. … We haven’t seen it much this year. We feel like it’s good coverage for us, and we feel very comfortable with it. With four shooters there and Miles, it gives him a little more freedom to roll.” I think it’s a little weak on how good the roller is.”
Turner did everything a rolling man is supposed to do. attracting attention that prevented Halliburton from seeing the double teams. He was able to knock his leg over the ledge if he strayed too far and made hooks and short hops over it when he went down.
“What makes it so good is its strength and feel,” Halliburton said. “Comprehension and timing and different things like that. He has a high IQ.”
Playing for Haliburton gave Turner a sense that his high IQ and hustle would be rewarded. He earned a corner kick on Wednesday by grabbing the defensive rebound, tossing the ball to Haliburton and running down the ground, then returning the ball near the edge.
He does simple things, people notice, and turns simple things into buckets.
“I just play my game, I play within the flow of the offense,” Turner said. “My team-mates are setting me up. I’m just being aggressive, man, I think my team-mates have a lot of confidence in me to make the right play and they’re putting me in a position to do that. … Tyrese is he’s going to set me up. I know that. I know that if I get there to the right places, he’ll do it.”
In his past four games, Turner has averaged 22.5 points per game and has not made more than 18 field goals in any of those games. He’s 28 of 47 from the field in that stretch (59.6%) and already has 29 points on just 18 field goal attempts in his last two games. He doesn’t force three-pointers, having made seven out of 16 attempts in the last four games, but has tied fouls and made free throws. He’s been 27-of-30 on the line in the past four games and has hit 84.8% on his free throws this season.
On the other end, he blocks shots as usual and recovers the ball more consistently than usual. As far as his size and height, he has never averaged more than 7.3 rebounds in a season. He’s averaged 8.7 this season and 10.8 in his last four games and has 14 blocked shots in five games in the month of November.
“He does the little things, just keep being the way he is,” said Halliburton. “Obviously, he’s a great center, a great basketball player.”
Of course, pointing out all that is wonderful about him still doesn’t answer all of the outstanding questions. How much is Turner’s senior level worth to the Pacers? How much does he think it’s worth to them and what would he be willing to sign if they want him back? And on the flip side, what would another team have to offer the Pacers for a trade to be their obvious move? Business speculation has surrounded Turner for years, and a new rumor has swirled around Los Angeles Clippers Getting involved just hit the internet this week.
It is still impossible to answer these questions despite how long they have been asked. What is clear is that when Turner masters simplicity, he makes this game that much better. They are 7-6, better than . 500 for the first time since February 2021. In back-to-back games, they have won games by double digits after being down by double digits. As mentioned by Carlisle, they all seem to listen, adjust, and do little things right, but Turner’s body type and skill set allow him to master simplicity in ways that others on the list simply can’t.
“We’re making some progress,” Carlyle said, zooming out again. “It won’t happen overnight, but we’re seeing some good things. … We’re not having any parties. We’re over .500 for the first time in a long time, which is great. But that’s business. If we want to keep winning, we’re going to have to Maintaining the edge. We’ll have to keep giving each other energy and keep doing the simple things well.”
This article originally appeared on the Indianapolis Star: Pacers: What does Miles Turner’s improved play mean for his future?