Myles Turner led the NBA in blocks per game last season (3.4) and the Pacers‘ defensive rating was about five points better when the big man was on the floor. However, because he appeared in just 47 games and Indiana missed the postseason, he didn’t make an All-Defensive team and didn’t receive any votes for Defensive Player of the Year.
Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Turner expressed a desire to make up for that in 2021/22. Asked about his individual goals for the season, he said he wants to become an All-Star and would like to be recognized for his play on defense.
“I feel like I’m snubbed and haven’t gotten the credit I deserve in that department. I’ve led the league in blocks, and that looks good and all, but no All-Defensive Teams, not a lot of consideration for Defensive Player of the Year,” Turner said. “… I think I’m one of the better defenders in this league as far as my position. I’m versatile on defense. I’m not just a perimeter defender. I’m not just a shot blocker. There are different facets of my game that I think set me apart a little bit.”
The Pacers are off to a 5-8 start and remain outside of the playoff picture for the time being. However, Turner is proving once again that he can be force on the defensive end. His 3.2 blocks per game lead the NBA, and Indiana has a 100.5 defensive rating during his minutes, compared to 115.7 when he sits.
Here’s more from around the Central:
- The Bulls entered the offseason looking to upgrade at the point guard position, and all the early returns suggest they succeeded in a major way. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic explores what Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso have brought to a resurgent Chicago team.
- The Bulls recalled rookie center Marko Simonovic from the G League on Thursday, the team announced (via Twitter). Simonovic has yet to make his regular season NBA debut, but could see a little action during the team’s West Coast road trip with Nikola Vucevic sidelined due to a positive COVID-19 test.
- Pistons rookie Luka Garza has been recalled to the NBA from the G League following Kelly Olynyk‘s knee injury, the club announced today (via Twitter). Unlike Simonovic, Garza has seen some NBA action already, logging 39 minutes across five games. Olynyk’s absence should open the door for him to play a slightly larger role.
- The Bucks are off to a bit of a slow start this season, but newly-acquired wing Grayson Allen has been a bright spot, averaging 15.4 PPG and 3.9 RPG on .445/.419/.950 shooting in 12 starts (29.3 MPG). Eric Nehm of The Athletic takes a closer look at the impact Allen is having and the chemistry he’s developing with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.