According to several NBA executives and coaches, it’s not a matter of if Indianapolis Pacers big man Myles Turner will be a superstar in the league, it’s a matter of when. Pacers Head Coach Nate McMillan joined The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday and said there is no question Turner is special and compared his game to a current five-time All-Star he coached.
“I had LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland and these guys are very similar, not only that they both went to Texas, but their work ethic, their passion for the game,” McMillan said. “Myles, his spirit that he brings to the gym every single day, the guy has it both on and off the floor.”
McMillan says a 19-year-old Turner responded so well last season as a rookie to challenges they knew they could throw more at him this season.
“We played him a little bit at the five. Ian Mahimmi was our starting center last year, and we just saw development [and] growth immediately last season. This year we made him our starting center,” McMillan said.
McMillan also added, “You just continue to see him grow night in and night out, making the adjustments, defending the basket as well as what centers have to do now is defend the perimeter and these pick and rolls with these guards that can light it up out there. His offensive game is certainly ahead of his defensive game, but I think he will be a player that will be able to, as I told him, dominate both ends of the floor.”
Normally young players would be timid about challenging the physicality of grown men at the NBA level. However, according to McMillan, Turner is not.
“He looks forward to the challenge. He’s motivated by competing against the different centers. He doesn’t back down from any of these guys,” McMillan said. “Last road trip we went out to Sacramento, and I think the most physical center in the NBA is [DeMarcus] Cousins, and I thought he did a pretty nice job against Cousins, defending him as well as going against him on the offensive end of the floor.
“Each night it’s a different guy. They pound you in that paint, and he still has his young man body, but he doesn’t back down, he excepts that challenge every single night. He will put his head right in there, and he’s always looking for ways to improve his game.”