Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis Give Pacers Versatile, Skilled Big Guys
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INDIANAPOLIS – A sense of relief and a broad smile goes across the faces of Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo when the question is asked.
In today’s NBA, a guard’s best friend is a big man who excels in the pick and roll.
Well, Collison and Oladipo have 2 best friends in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.
“It makes the game so much easier for us guards,” Oladipo says. “Domo screening and rolling and can hit the pop. Myles screening and rolling and can hit the pop. If you get it to them on the roll, they can make plays for everybody else. It just makes me look better, so it’s awesome."
“It does wonders,” the point guard says of playing with a Turner or a Sabonis. “Not too many bigs can roll pretty good and pop at the same time.”
Turner showed earlier this week where he excels in the pick and pop game. Charlotte big man Dwight Howard wanted no part of getting out on Turner after the initial screen. Turner knocked down perimeter shot after perimeter shot, scoring 22 points in 21 minutes off the bench.
Now back in the starting lineup after missing 9 games with a right elbow injury, Turner’s ability to stretch the floor is vital when opening up driving lanes for Collison, Oladipo and the other Pacers’ guards.
In Sabonis, the Pacers have a player who can hit the mid-range jumper (and can even stretch it out a little more than that). But Sabonis is really a playmaker when receiving the ball after a pick and roll. He’s patient enough to gather himself and finish in traffic. He can also make a play via the pass thanks to tremendous basketball IQ.
Defensively, Turner is much more the rim protector than Sabonis, but neither are a major liability on that end.
Ideally, Turner’s development would see him become a better rebounder and a more efficient post threat. Sabonis could improve in defending without fouling, while also drilling down his outside shot.
But that’s nitpicking two 21-year-old big men.
Going forward, Nate McMillan will have some decisions to make on when to use these 2 together and who to finish games with on a game-by-game basis.
“I like that combination,” McMillan says. “They are both very effective in what they do.
“Myles is more of a pick and pop center and when you’re playing against bigs like Howard, who are going to be in the paint, they don’t get out to those shooters, a lot of times it can give you some open looks. And Domas is a center that can pick and roll. He can pop as well, but he does a good job of rolling to the basket.”
And in case your forgot how young this duo is, the 25-year-old Oladipo is here to remind you.
“It’s great to have that tandem of big man AND they are like 12 years old, so that’s pretty awesome too,” the young All-Star guard says.