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Managing expectations for Myles Turner

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The Pacers talented young big man could have a make a big impact this season even if his numbers aren’t huge.

NBA: Preseason-Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Fair?

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).

Query Results Table
Per Game
Rk Player Season Age Tm PTS TRB
1 Anthony Davis 2013-14 20 NOP 20.8 10.0
2 Shaquille O'Neal 1992-93 20 ORL 23.4 13.9
3 Dwight Howard 2005-06 20 ORL 15.8 12.5
4 Karl-Anthony Towns 2015-16 20 MIN 18.3 10.5
5 Chris Webber 1993-94 20 GSW 17.5 9.1
6 Elton Brand 1999-00 20 CHI 20.1 10.0
7 Kevin Garnett 1996-97 20 MIN 17.0 8.0
8 John Drew 1974-75 20 ATL 18.5 10.7
9 Chris Bosh 2004-05 20 TOR 16.8 8.9
10 Joe Smith 1995-96 20 GSW 15.3 8.7
11 Antoine Walker 1996-97 20 BOS 17.5 9.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2016.

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.