by Ray Kuhn
It seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Karl-Anthony Towns would be the Rookie of the Month for the entire season in the Western Conference, and Kristaps Porzingas would receive the same honor in the Eastern Conference. However Porzingas appears to have hit a rookie wall, and Myles Turner is poised to take his place.
After spending one season in college with Texas, Turner was drafted more on his potential than his actual performance. Turner averaged 22 minutes a game last season and scored 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. With a little less than two months to go in Turner’s debut season, the forward is poised to eclipse that performance.
On the season, entering Wednesday night’s game, Turner appeared in 34 games and was averaged 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Over the past month though, things have begun to pick up for Turner. And he has certainly proven that he is worthy of the increased role.
First, let’s take a look at one of the most important factors for a rookie to deal with. Aside from the learning curve of adjusting to NBA action, the physical stress of an increased workload is a lot to deal with. As the Pacers increased Turner’s workload, they made sure to also make sure his body can withstand the physical demands (click here for an in depth profile of Turner as he progresses through his rookie season). There are few times when a player’s diet is noteworthy, but this is one of them.
“After the brief call, Turner devours his tortellini and cheese bread. He tries to eat as many carbs as possible because with all this newfound playing time, he’s losing so much weight. Turner will need the added pounds and strength, because the Pacers will need him.”
Other than the note about Turner’s diet, the article provides a great deal of insight into how hard the rookie works and how committed he is to being a successful professional. The fact that Turner missed 20 games with a thumb injury in November helped control his workload this season and also gave him time to work on his game.
The benefits of that are now being realized as Turner is seeing his role increased, especially late in games (click here for the article).
“I’m very comfortable in any situation with him shooting from the perimeter and catches inside,” Vogel said of Turner after Monday’s game. “He’s a great finisher.”
In the last month, Turner is averaging 13.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 51.7% points per game and averaging about 31 minutes a night. Against the Knicks on Wednesday, Turner scored 24 points in 30 minutes while also picking up six rebounds.
Ultimately, this is a sign of things to come for Turner who we must remember is still just 19 years old.