Blue-and-Gold Breakdown: Summer League Edition

July 2, 2015 - On this week's episode, Pat Boylan chats with Pacers top draft pick Myles Turner and Pacers.com's Mark Montieth reviews the Pacers' draft and looks ahead to Summer League.

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Blue-and-Gold Breakdown: Summer League Edition

July 2, 2015 - On this week's episode, Pat Boylan chats with Pacers top draft pick Myles Turner and Pacers.com's Mark Montieth reviews the Pacers' draft and looks ahead to Summer League.
Jul 2, 2015  |  11:31

Turner Looking Forward to Competition at Summer League Tournament

July 2, 2015 - Myles Turner speaks with the media following the Pacers' second Summer League practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jul 2, 2015  |  02:21

Burke on Turner: "He's Got Great Hands"

July 2, 2015 - Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke discusses Myles Turner's mobility and versatility after Summer League practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jul 2, 2015  |  01:52

Whittington's Goal for Summer: "Just to Hustle"

July 2, 2015 - Pacers forward Shayne Whittington talks about his goals for this summer and the valuable experience he'll pick up playing in Summer League games.
Jul 2, 2015  |  02:12

Burke on Whittington: "He's a Versatile Player"

July 2, 2015 - Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke discusses second-year forward Shayne Whittington's opportunity for growth during the Summer League.
Jul 2, 2015  |  01:38

Onuaku on Return to Indiana

July 2, 2015 - Pacers.com speaks with Arinze Onuaku, who took part in the Pacers' training camp last season, about the opportunity to play on the organization's Summer League team.
Jul 2, 2015  |  01:10

Burke Talks Standout Practice Players

July 2, 2015 - Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke discusses Summer League players Mantas Kalnietis, Trent Lockett, Jon Octeus, and Jarell Eddie after practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jul 2, 2015  |  02:17

Turner Makes Early Impression

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

He's only experienced four practices packed into two days, and has yet to rub elbows, shoulders and hips with an established NBA frontline player. So, OK, we won't get carried away with praise for Myles Turner.

Still, last week's first-round draft pick is already looking like next season's contributor, given the impression he's leaving on coaches and potential teammates, not to mention the media guys standing around watching the end of practices.

He's 6-11. He has an NBA body, even at 19 years old. He shows legit post moves. He snatches rebounds from the clutches of opponents. He keeps draining 3-pointers after practice, which, sure, is different than draining them in an actual NBA game, but still qualifies as a representation of his solid shooting form. He communicates well. What's not to like?

"He's a live wire," assistant coach Dan Burke said following Thursday morning's workout on the practice court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. "I'm excited about him."

You might remember Burke as everyone's favorite interview on Pacers telecasts, where the assistant coaches take turns offering a first-half summation before the start of the second half. If the team is playing poorly, he'll tell you all about it with the subtlety of a sledge-hammer, so he seems the least likely candidate to needlessly spread icing on an unproven rookie.

Asked for an early general summation, Burke didn't hold back.

"Oh, my goodness," he said. "The length. The length just sticks out. He's got some great hands. He made a couple of grabs where he just snatched the ball out of the air with one hand. You never even hear the ball hit his hand. He's been well-coached. He catches the ball high, keeps it high. He's got a high release, a soft touch (on his shot) and changes a lot of shots on the defensive end, even when he's out of position.

"He's so mobile. We're trying to teach him two ways to play pick-and-roll defense. His drops look like a blitz and his blitzes look like a drop right now. But he's so long and quick, the point guards just stop and are like, 'Holy mackerel.' He's going to have an effect on games."

How much a 19-year-old rookie can contribute remains to be seen. The Pacers aren't even sure of their roster in these dawning days of free agency, and Turner has four months to go before he plays in a regular season game. For a teenager, that's a significant amount of time to improve.

Pacers free agent Shayne Whittington, who has 20 games of NBA experience behind him, drew a similar impression as Burke.

"He's long; very long," Whittington said. "There were a few offensive rebounds I thought I had and he snatches it out from under me. It's crazy.

"He's long enough and he has the frame to put on mass, but right now he's 19 years old. He's got time. His muscles have to mature a little bit. When that happens he's going to be a force."

Turner shows skills near and far from the basket. Burke says the plan is to keep the focus near the foul lane to start, and work out from there. Turner, though, shows an accurate shooting touch. He hit 10-of-12 3-pointers at the end of his post-practice shooting on Thursday, which doesn't jibe with his percentage in his only season at Texas, where he hit 17-of-62 attempts (.274).

"It was poor execution, I'll put it that way," he said. "I'm a lot better shooter than what I showed. I'm hoping to prove that this season and for years to come."

In other words, he forced some of those attempts, got "a little shot-happy at times." The kind of thing a teenager can do.

Turner has been living in the Conrad since he came to Indianapolis after the draft. His father, David, came a few days ago to keep him company. The kind of thing a dad will do for a teenager in a new city. Turner begins his attempt to play a more grown-up game on Saturday, when the Pacers open Summer League play in Orlando. He hopes to play in all five games, where he'll at least get a small hint of what lies ahead.

He doesn't even know what he's getting into. Burke does, though, and expects he'll be able to find a place for himself even as a rookie.

"If you can contribute one or two things to help us win, you've got a chance," he said. "I always forget he's 19 when I watch him, with the way he carries himself and the way he talks the game. I think he's going to be a unique talent."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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