The Pacers are not afraid to begin the season with high expectations, including ambitions of battling for an Eastern Conference title. That effort begins at the Fieldhouse on Wednesday and all eyes will be on Paul George as he tries to lead his team with an MVP-caliber season.
But PG will need help, and 20-year-old Myles Turner has the ability to be a major contributor to the Pacers. Not only that, Turner himself understands and embraces the opportunity he has to make a big impact in just his second season.
That doesn’t mean those expectations are fair.
Turner is 20.
He also is no longer an unknown. Teams have plenty of tape and numbers to understand his tendencies and game plan for him accordingly.
How will Turner adjust? How will he handle frustrating stretches of the long season which are sure to hit?
Oh, and just what type of production is reasonable to expect from the young big man.
He seems capable of attracting numbers quite easily and there will be nights when that quick release jumper is flowing and he will put up 30-plus points. He’ll get his blocks and rebounds, as well when playing starter’s minutes.
But consistently? If you take his numbers from the 24 minutes of preseason play per game, Turner averaged 12 points and almost seven rebounds. Let’s say he plays 32 minutes per game. That would put him at 16 and nine-is per game.
That would be huge. I’m more inclined to make 15 points and eight rebounds per game a more reasonable expectation, assuming good health and over 30 minutes per game.
Consider that there have only been 11 players to average at least 15 points and eight rebounds at age 20, as the table below shows. If you bump that to 16 and nine, the list shrinks to seven players, subtracting Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh and Joe Smith (not a bad group).
So keep those number in mind when keeping tabs on Turner’s performance this season and don’t let all of that talent alter reasonable expectations for how to define a strong season by Turner. It will no doubt be fun to watch.