The Dallas Mavericks head into Indy on Wednesday night to open the season, but is Paul George the player they are worried about the most? Some would say Myles Turner.
Last year, the Indiana Pacers selected Myles Turner out of Texas with the 11th overall pick in the draft where he immediately proved he was worthy to go higher.
The 20-year-old started in 30 of the 60 games he appeared in as he showed Frank Vogel’s crew that he had to be on the floor. The 6-11 big man found himself coming off the bench for the majority of the first part of the season until he put together some of his best weeks through the winter.
In todays day and age, Turner is exactly what teams are looking for in a big man.
He has the height and defensive ability to hold down the paint on the defensive end while possessing the knock down jumper from the outside on the offensive end. The kid seems to have the full package…and he’s just 20 years old.
When asked about matching up with the Pacers on Wednesday night, Mavs Head Coach Rick Carlisle went through different Pacers they are game planning for, but ended that list with Turner.
“The kid Turner is a very, very difficult to guard because his size, athleticism and skill. He can shoot from way outside.”
If there was ever a team that knew the advantages of having a 7-footer who can shoot the three, it’s the Dallas Mavericks.
If this was just a couple of years ago, we would probably see Turner at the four, but with the presence of Thad Young, Turner will be the starting center opening night in Indy.
Staring across at Turner on defense will be Dallas’ new big man Andrew Bogut. Bogut, a 31-year-old, 11 year veteran who has dealt with his share of injuries, recognizes that he is almost the opposite of Turner and that matching up with the youngster will be difficult.
“It will be tough. He’s one of the guys in the league that not many people are talking about that I think is one of the best young upcoming big men in the league. He can really shoot the ball well. He is much improved again. He had a great rookie year. It will be a tough matchup for me. He likes to play outside a little bit more than most big men” Bogut says after practice on Tuesday.
You don’t see many professional athletes admit that a certain matchup will be a tough one for them, but Bogut always shoots it straight.
We saw a similar situation take place in the preseason game against Phoenix when the Suns rolled out their young rookie, Marquese Chriss, at center against Bogut. Chriss was all over the court and was the player of the game in the Suns victory.
Turner won’t be as quick and explosive as Chriss, but will provide the same outside shooting threat that Chriss did. In what I tabbed as the Mavs biggest weakness, guarding athletic front courts like what the Pacers have will give the Mavs some problems this year.
We should see really quick if the Mavs will be able to hold up with Bogut and Nowitzki on the floor together or if small ball will be a mainstay in the rotation.
Like Bogut said, Turner is one of the best upcoming big men in the league and Dallas will have their hands full with him tonight.