Indiana Pacers' Reasoning Behind Selecting Myles Turner

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers used the 11th overall pick to select Myles Turner out of the University of Texas. This selection had many fans initially furious, simply because it made no sense. Indiana was supposedly shifting to a smaller and faster style of play, but they took a 6'11" center that has an awkward running form. That may sound strange, but the Pacers provided some insightful reasoning at their post-draft press conference.

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel spoke about the team's shift to playing smaller and faster:

"There's two types of ways to play small. You can play small at the four or play small at the five. I don't envision us playing center-less basketball. Playing fast is also about trying to play with more space. If you can have a rim-protector like him who can shoot with range, he'll contribute to what we're trying to do on the offensive end."

Indiana wants to use Paul George at power forward a lot more next season. They believe that using him at power forward, there will be a lot of miss-matches on offense for him to exploit. Also, they believe that George is more than capable of defending power forwards. In fact, they believe he can thrive doing it. Indiana still needs to acquire a starting power forward that fits their new system, and Paul George will not be the full-time power forward.

Supposedly the Pacers' big board had come down to four big men; Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Kaminsky, Myles Turner, and Trey Lyles. Willie Cauley-Stein went sixth overall to the Sacramento Kings, Frank Kaminsky went ninth overall to the Charlotte Hornets, so that left the Pacers with the decision of Myles Turner or Trey Lyles at 11th overall.

Larry Bird provided some reasoning as the deciding factor between Myles Turner and Trey Lyles:

"We loved Trey Lyles. That was a guy we were very, very high on. But just knowing Paul's going to play a lot of four, Turner was our guy. [Turner] His ability to protect the rim is off the charts."

It's very easy to see Turner's strengths and future capabilities. To see our analysis of Myles Turner's strengths and weaknesses, check out our 'Grading the Indiana Pacers 1st Round Pick' article. With hard work, proper guidance, and a continued level of dedication, Turner can certainly develop into something special. However, he can still step in and produce from day one.

Frank Vogel discussed more about Turner, as he said that his work ethic, body measurements, basketball IQ, and attitude were all aspects of Turner that really impressed him. That may sound cliché coming from a coach that just drafted him, but that seems to be a very popular opinion about Turner from many members of the media, fans, and players.

Vogel expanded on what stood out about Turner. He said that Turner had a legitimate interest in correcting his mistakes during his pre-draft workout with the team. He asked 'high quality' questions to the staff to improve his weaknesses. Not only that, but he was impressively engaging with the reporters and gave them high quality answers.

There were concerns regarding Myles Turner's running form. However, the Pacers are not concerned after consulting their training staff. Turner's long-term durability and his running form were not concerning, which is largely why he was taken over Lyles. Turner is working hard to improve his running form, and it should be almost completely fixed before the season starts.

Frank Vogel on Myles Turner's running form and long-term durability:

"That's no problem at all. His running is fine. He's been working hard on it. He just turned 19 years old. We talked to our training staff, they've examined it, and he's doing some things to change his running style."

With Turner's size-18 feet and poor running form, people were concerned that he could suffer nagging ankle and foot injuries throughout his career. That may have been a popular opinion, but Indiana's trainers don't believe that to be true. They believe that they can fix his running before it becomes a problem at all.

Both Larry Bird and Frank Vogel were impressed with how much Turner has improved in the past nine months. Both also believe that Turner will be drastically improved around the All-Star break next season. He might not get a ton of minutes early on his career, but they do believe that he will blossom into a good starter in 2-3 years. Most likely, Turner will get back-up center minutes early on in his career.

Larry Bird on Myles Turner's potential and short-term improvement:

"Just watching his growth in the last nine months is pretty impressive. Around All-Star break (next season) we think he'll be a lot better than he is now."

Frank Vogel on Myles Turner's potential and short-term improvement:

"Obviously he's going to take some time. We feel his upside is two years or three years from now. But we do feel he can contribute this year with the way we want to play."

Whether or not Roy Hibbert decides to opt in to his player option and return next season, Myles Turner will probably be a backup regardless. Don't expect a ton of production out of Turner early on in his rookie season, the 19-year old has a lot of work to do. He should be a good starter during either his second or third season, which will for sure be long after Hibbert is gone for good. Turner is the future for the Pacers at center, but it will just take a few years for him to reach greatness.