In the two weeks since we’ve last spoken about the Rookie of the Year race, Myles Turner has exploded onto the scene. When we discussed him in our breakdown of every lottery pick, he had shown some encouraging signs in some brief run but had just missed a large chunk of time with a hand injury. After a couple weeks getting back up to speed, the Pacers rookie has made himself indispensable in Frank Vogel’s rotation.
The turnaround for Turner has been stark. After never attempting even ten field goals in a game before Jan. 17, Turner hasn’t had fewer than 11 attempts in the six games since. He’s gone from averaging about 15 minutes per game to 27 minutes, and has a sweet line of 19.7 points (on 62 percent shooting), 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in that time. He even got 31 points off the Golden State Warriors, demonstrating an excellent feel for cutting to the hoop and a great finishing ability:
But, of course, we’re only talking a six-game sample here. Turner’s only had three assists in this span, and he isn’t much of a passer quite yet. He’ll have to be, because if he wants to continue doing his work around the basket, eventually defenses will throw double teams his way to force the ball out of his hands. It’ll be on Turner to make the adjustment and keep the ball moving. He’s already shown more inside scoring skills than any rookie besides Jahlil Okafor, so keeping that up over the balance of the season will put him in the top five for sure.