Prior to attending USA Basketball’s informal, two-day mini-camp last summer, Turner made a strong impression with his performance on the Select Team, which was mentored by Gregg Popovich (now head coach of Team USA) and trained against the 2016 Olympic Team.
“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.”
Looking ahead to August, and assuming no additional centers are added to the current list of leaks, Turner will reportedly face competition from Anthony Davis, Kevin Love, Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, and LaMarcus Aldridge to make the final 12-man roster. Notably, Davis is currently locked in what seems like a never-ending battle for leverage with the New Orleans Pelicans, and Love is coming off a season in which he missed 50+ games due to injury. Acting on the assumption that both players actually report for camp, they and Drummond will have an edge over Lopez, Aldridge, and Turner in terms of international experience.
Regardless of how things ultimately shake out for Indiana’s starting center, Domantas Sabonis will likely be in uniform for Lithuania, as will Cory Joseph for Canada.
Lithuania is ranked No. 6 in the world and will face Canada, Australia, and Senegal during Group H games in Dongguan.
If Team USA finishes first in Group K, which would be an amalgamation of the top two finishers from both Group E (Turkey, Czech Republic, USA, Japan) and Group F (Greece, New Zealand, Brazil Montenego), and Lithuania finishes second in Group L, which would feature the top two squads from each of Group H and Group G (Germany, France, Dominican Republic, Jordan), then there is an outside chance for Turner-versus-Sabonis (and completely rational conversation!) to take place in the final phase of competition.
As it pertains to the Pacers, Sabonis, Turner (should he make the cut), and Joseph (should he re-sign) could each end up facing comparable schedule crunches to that which led to Nate McMillan’s withdrawal from Popovich’s coaching staff. Indiana is on tap to play the league’s first-ever preseason games in India on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5. In the event that Team USA advances to the gold medal round on September 15, the turnaround to prepare for the opening of training camp (which will likely be earlier than usual to account for overseas travel) would be incredibly short — not to mention jet-lagged.
That said, at least there’s potential there for them to each gain in experience and exposure what they might lose in rest and recuperation.
Along with McMillan, Bojan Bogdanovic also won’t be appearing in international competition during the upcoming offseason. After having advanced to the quarter-final round of the 2016 Olympics, Bogdanovic’s native Croatia was eliminated from contention during the second round of qualifying in February.