After showing his support for Indiana’s Summer League squad earlier this month, Myles Turner has made a return trip to Las Vegas, this time for Team USA’s two-day minicamp and joined by All-Star teammate Victor Oladipo.
Among the 35 players named to the 2018-2020 Men’s National Team pool, Oladipo and Turner are two of only 15 without prior Olympic or FIBA World Cup experience.
Turner, however, made a strong impression with his performance on the Select Team that was mentored by current USA head coach Gregg Popovich and trained against the 2016 Olympic roster.
“Myles looked really good,” Paul George said of his former teammate at the time. “I think the whole talk around that camp was, ‘Man, you got a good one.’ That’s coming from all the guys on the Olympic team. Everybody was just raving of how good Myles is.”
With the 22-year-old shot-blocker’s numbers having all dipped last season without demonstrating many signs of season-over-season growth outside of a few rapid bursts of supposed change, the open-to-the-media workouts should also serve to pull-back the curtain, even if ever-so-slightly, on whether the labor he’s documented on social media (i.e. boxing, yoga, weight lifting, conditioning, and big man drills) has borne first fruit.
Looking ahead to the 2019 FIBA World Cup, if the expectation is that the finalized 12-member roster will be comprised of players from the 2018-20 USA National Team pool, here’s who Turner will be facing competition from at the center position next summer to punch his ticket to China:
Oladipo racked up 25 points to go with nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals for the USA Blue Team in the 2015 USA Basketball Showcase, all while displaying his flair for showmanship, but he was a late add to the 2016 USA Men’s Select Team.
Fresh off winning the league’s Most Improved Player Award and being named Third Team All-NBA as well as First Team All-Defense, Oladipo’s skilled agility paired with nimble, hovering defense should make him less of an afterthought in a field loaded with talented guards.
Regardless of whether either of Indiana’s starters is eventually selected to represent Team USA in the future, just being included in the initial pipeline to participate at this week’s minicamp is a valuable opportunity for Turner and Oladipo to get in repetitions against, as well as formulate bonds with, some of the best players the league has to offer.