We’re three games into season and despite two wins, Indiana’s blowout loss to Milwaukee raised concerns about whether or not the Pacers are ready to compete with the East’s best teams.
Here’s a picture of the now-infamous shot cart:
While Indiana averaged 22.1 mid-range shots per game last year, they managed to shoot 42.6 percent on those shots -- the second-best in the league for 15+ attempts, trailing only the Warriors.
This season Indiana is shooting 39.3 percent, or 15th-best in the league. Milwaukee has yet to make a mid-range shot this season.
If you haven’t yet, read Chris Hearing’s fivethirtyeight piece from last season regarding how Indiana thrived in the mid-range.
While I can understand the logic in taking some mid-range shots, especially when you have players like Victor Oladipo and Thaddeus Young, Indiana has to stop shooting some of these 20+ foot three-pointers.
It doesn’t matter that Turner made it. If he takes one step backwards he gets an extra point, which -- if repeated by every Pacer over time -- can lead to more points per game. I know, I know... What a novel concept!
Milwaukee wanted Indiana to take mid-range shots and consistently ran them off the three-point line. And while they shot slightly better from the field, they also took six more shots, had the same amount of turnovers and took less free throws. Yet they blew the Pacers out.
Why? Because the Bucks shot 46 three’s compared to the Pacers’ 18.
On Myles Turner’s contract extension:
I feel that the Pacers overpaid Turner. The last I saw his new deal was around 72 million over 4 years (and could hit 80 million with incentives). Even though it was just one game into the season you see the same 8 pts, 8 boards type of game out of him (albeit he did have 4 blocks). Is that production worth it to you with Sabonis giving you 14 and 15 off the bench?
Rob in Danville, IN
Through three games this season Myles Turner is averaging 11 points, 6.7 rebounds and two blocks per game, which is eerily similar to his stats for all of last season. While it’s too early to measure his defensive impact, he’s looked better guarding the perimeter and is still one of the better rim protectors in league. Turner did struggle with foul trouble in his first game but it’s yet to be determined whether that will continue to be an issue.
The question you asked, though, is whether he’s worth the four-year, $72 million contract (which, for now, will make him the 12th-highest paid center in the league next year). His salary is in the range of guys like Clint Capela and Jonas Valanciunas.
I tend to think Turner is a little worse than both those guys but he can make a three-point jump shot, allowing him stay on the court when the team goes super small. For example, last year’s Western Conference Finals showed the Warriors running Capela off the court.
Turner has only attempted five three’s in the first three games which worries me because his impact is lessened if he’s not considered a jump shooter.
It’s also important to remember that Domantas Sabonis is only one year behind Turner and could get an extension next summer.
Sabonis is more a traditional center and is the better offensive player because of his ability to run the pick and roll with guys like Oladipo and Tyreke Evans.
But at the end of the day I don’t think you have to choose between either one. If Sabonis gets a similar contract to Turner next summer it’ll be because it’s worth it, especially if the cap is $110 million in two seasons.
Also, if both can play 7-10 minutes per game together now then you can easily find minutes for both in the future. That will also allow the Pacers to show different looks against different teams.
The games this week:
Monday: Pacers @ Wolves, 8 p.m. EST
One thing to watch: Let’s be honest, we’re all interested in Jimmy Butler and whether this thing will actually work with Minnesota after his trade demands.
Wednesday: Pacers @ Spurs, 8:30 p.m. EST
One thing to watch: The matchup of DeMar DeRozan versus Victor Oladipo. These were the Eastern Conference’s top two guards last year, and I’m interested to see whether Oladipo actually guards DeRozan.
Saturday: Pacers @ Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m. EST
One thing to watch: This should be a great matchup for Myles Turner depending on whether he has Tristan Thompson or Kevin Love on him. I’m looking for Turner to finally have his first 20 point game of the season.
Play I saw:
Words cannot describe this amazing pass. Watch the play again and notice how Evans probably could have made the contested layup if he wanted but chose not to. He knew from the second he drove in the lane that if the left side defender collapsed he was going to be kicking the ball out to McDermott.
You guys still out there missing Lance?
Tweet I saw:
This is really funny.
Slick: "Well the Bobby Leonard Enterprises player of the game is Kyle O'Quinn."— Pat Boylan (@PatBoylanPacers) October 21, 2018
MLB: "And what exactly is that?"
Slick: "I don't know yet, I just went into business"
This was a close second, and if anybody creates this I’ll Venmo you, like, $5:
Between Edmond Sumner, Alize Johnson, and any other bottom-of-the-rotation guys, who should we expect to eventually play decent minutes, and who will be gone after this year?
Unknown in Unknown City, Unknown Land
I’m not going to count Kyle O’Quinn because he’s clearly the answer here, just because he’s the third center and both Sabonis and Turner will miss some games, allowing him to play 10-15 minutes for probably 10-15 games this year.
I expect Sumner, Johnson and Holiday all to remain on the roster this and next season at minimum. I want to lean towards Sumner playing more minutes than Holiday this season but as a first-round pick he will inevitability get more opportunity to play.
But neither will get a ton of minutes because the Pacers already have four guards. Even if one gets hurt, they’ll just redistribute the minutes rather than give one of the young guys a real chance.
The only player I see Indiana cutting next season is Ike Anigbogu. As a second-round pick he’ll likley be given two years to prove himself, which he hasn’t done. The biggest red-flag for Anigbogu was the signing of O’Quinn.
When Jefferson left that was Anigbogu’s opportunity to take over the emergency center spot but the Pacers didn’t feel comfortable giving him that.
Also, just worth mentioning: Indiana already picked up T.J. Leaf’s third-year option, so he will be back.
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