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Emphasis To Be More Physical There For Myles Turner

In returning from the All-Star break, Myles Turner wanted to become a more physical player, and a better rebounder as the Pacers end the 2017-18 season.

Michael Hickey | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a topic Myles Turner isn’t thrilled to talk about.

The 21-year-old center is as skilled as a shooter can be for a person his size.

But the one aspect that is most equated to basketball players who stand 6-11---the ability to post up and excel around the rim---has not been as consistent in Turner’s first 3 NBA seasons.

“It’s tough talking about it because it’s something I never really think about,” Turner says. “I think it’s all a mental game. My post game is something I’ve always had, just need to keep polishing.”

Since the All-Star break, Turner has shown a few more flashes of being a more efficient player with his back to the basket on the offensive end of the floor.

Look at Sunday's win over the Celtics.

After the Pacers had allowed Boston to score 7 straight points and tie the game at 95 with 36 seconds to play, Indiana actually turned to Turner in the post.

Going up against 6-8 forward Marcus Morris, Turner did not hesitate in directly attacking the Boston forward, and finishing through contact at the rim.

The move was an eyebrow raiser for those who watch the Pacers.

“It’s big,” Turner said of his final minute basket. “Just knowing I can be trusted down there in the post.

“I’ve been telling people, I tell this team, I’ve always had a post-game. It’s just something I never, I guess, utilized this season and season’s past. But, I’m going to grow more and more confident down there. I know it’s just the next step in my development.”

Turner admits he had some “self-evaluation” in returning from the All-Star break of wanting to become a better rebounder and a more reliable option in the post.

“I kind of made it a goal of mine to get on the glass more and just be more of that physical presence,” Turner says.

“It’s got to carry over. I just can’t settle for jump shots. I have to make myself more versatile out there. It’s aspects of my game, I know I have. I just have to do it.”

Since the All-Star break, Turner is averaging 8.5 rebounds in 29.3 minutes of action, which is an uptick from his pre-break numbers.

For the Pacers to do any damage in the playoffs they are going to need this newer side of Turner.

Matchups against the Raptors, 76ers or Heat would offer a tough post presence.

Even playing other teams in the East, Turner must be able to take advantage of smaller matchups (like he did against Boston), when teams decide they will switch everything on the defensive end of the floor, believing that the Pacers’ young big guy isn’t capable of consistently winning those favorable opportunities.

Kevin Pritchard knows where Turner’s game still needs to make strides.

But the young big man has the ingredient that Pritchard thinks is most important in becoming a more complete player.

“People have been a little hard on Myles this year,” Pritchard says. “Myles is 21 and he does one thing that’s so important to me, he loves basketball, he cares about being a good basketball player.

“When you have bigs that care about it and show some emotion and some positivity then you have something that you can hold on and develop. He’s going to get better but you have to develop a post-game.”

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