What Myles Turner has been able to accomplish in his rookie season with Indiana has overwhelmingly surprised Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
Before the Pacers defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 112-105, on Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center, Vogel said he’s been surprised by Turner’s “maturity, his approach, him being the hardest worker on our team and just how quickly he’s been able to be successful at both ends of the court.
“Certainly he’s had his rookie moments defensively, and we have high standards on the defensive end here, more than most of the rookies are getting in their situations. If you look at the top 12 rookies or so, most of them are on rebuilding types of teams, and he’s being held to a really high standard.’’
Those high standards Turner is held to probably account to why he was able to be so effective against the Mavs. In only 19 minutes Saturday, Turner contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and one blocked shot.
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Turner, a 6-11 forward who graduated from Euless Trinity High School in 2014, was just delighted he was able to have a well-rounded game while nearly 100 of his family members and friends attended Saturday’s contest.
“This was a big deal to me,’’ said Turner, referring to his first NBA game in Dallas. “I wanted to come back home and make sure I played well in front of the people that supported me my entire career, so yeah, this was circled on my calendar.’’
Following a slow start due to a fractured left thumb, Turner has been so effective lately that he was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in February. Still, there have been obvious teaching moments the Pacers are taking Turner through.
“We’re trying to teach him the right way to play and the right shot selections and the right reads,’’ Vogel said. “I think maybe he’s thinking a little bit too much now, and that’s part of growing.
“You’ve got to learn the right reads and the right shots to take.’’
Turner was 5-of-9 from the field on Saturday. That includes making his lone 3-point attempt.
“We like him to be great at the mid-range first,’’ Vogel said. “If he can step out there at the corners from time to time, that’s Ok.’’
Besides Vogel, Turner noted that his veteran teammates have been in his ear telling him what it takes to be successful in the NBA.
“Yeah, (the veterans say) take advantage of your off days and rest time,’’ Turner said. “You don’t want to go out and make a dumb decision with a game the next day, so really just stay in tight with yourself.”
Turner, who played one year at Texas before turning pro, has never lacked confidence in his game.
“I’m a confident player,’’ Turner said. “You’re going to have your ups and downs a lot in your career, so I just try to keep it going.’’
The Pacers (35-30) have been able to keep it going in large part because of the progress Turner has made since leaving Austin.
“He’s picked up things really well, he’s a student of the game, he watches tape every game whether he plays a lot or doesn’t,’’ Vogel said. “And then his shot-making offensively and his comfort level and being able to score the basketball at this level has been impressive.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com