Myles Turner is a big man with a sweet shooting stroke who played his college basketball at Texas. He is 6-foot-11 and he just finished his first year with the Indiana Pacers. He is 20 years old.
LaMarcus Aldridge is a big man with a sweet shooting stroke who played his college basketball at Texas. He is 6-foot-11 and he just finished his first year with the San Antonio Spurs. He is 30 years old.
Aldridge is a five-time All-Star who has career averages of 19.2 points and 8.4 rebounds. Turner has the potential to do similar things, but it would be unfair to put those expectations on him after his rookie season. Surely his new coach, Nate McMillan, wouldn't do that, right?
'Very similar. Almost like they were cloned" @Pacers HC Nate McMillan on comparing Myles Turner to LaMarcus Aldridge.— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) May 17, 2016
In fairness to McMillan, he isn't the only one who sees greatness in Turner. A month ago, Pacers star Paul George said he could envision Turner becoming their No. 2 guy.
"We got a lot of years together," George said. "My job is to help him get to that level. His job is to get to that level. I look forward to growing with him and helping him become the best player he can be."
Turner's first season was promising. In fact, he scored and rebounded better than Aldridge did as a rookie, with similar minutes. He is already a better shot-blocker than Aldridge ever was. It's unclear, though, how he will develop.
Maybe Turner will come back next season with an improved post game, maybe he'll have true 3-point range. As well all the spectacular blocks he had, there were many, many times he was caught out of position defensively, and the Toronto Raptors tried to take advantage of that in the playoffs. Turner has all sorts of room to improve, and he must know it.
"That's the best thing about Myles: his approach," George said. "He's always willing to learn. He's always here working hard. He doesn't complain about anything that we ask him to do. I've been blown away by him."
Everyone in Indiana should be excited about Turner. It's worth remembering, though, that he was considered a project when he was drafted No. 11 last June. He was better than most people expected this year, but that doesn't mean he's going to immediately turn into a star. While the Pacers are lucky to have him, they need to be patient.