Myles Turner of the Pacers and Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks will alternate on a weekly diary for NBA.com covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Turner discusses getting his first career start as Indiana played the Hawks on Thursday night.
Coach Vogel had called me the night before the game and told me he was going to give me an opportunity to start. I was ready for it. I was just over-the-moon excited about it and wanted to go out there and have a good showing.
It still had to be business as usual, though. That’s the way you’ve got to look at it. I was really excited about the opportunity but I couldn’t get overexcited. I just wanted to show everyone why I deserved it.
My parents were actually here at the time, so I told them. They were ready for it as much as I was. Actually, they were probably more excited than I was. My dad especially. ‘Man, don’t screw this up.’ He was excited for me. He was ready to see me get it going.
This was definitely earned, not given. That’s the way I look at it. I think I just showed the coaches how confident I was out there and how I care about stuff on the court so that I was ready for this opportunity. I think that was probably the biggest thing. I think it’s really just the fact I’m going out there and carrying myself in a way that the coaches are used to. That confidence was giving me the opportunity to go out there and play well.
The biggest part was when the starting lineups were announced. That’s when it became most surreal. But I was ready for the opportunity, I was excited and I was ready to go.
It felt a little different at the start of the game. Instead of bringing energy off the bench, I had to bring the energy right off the bat. It’s not something I would say I wasn’t used to doing, but it was a different sensation for sure. It’s the first time I’ve really started in a long time. I didn’t really start the games in college at Texas, so it was a different sensation I haven’t felt since really high school. It was a huge difference. It was a nice little preview of what is hopefully more to come.
I wouldn’t say there was extra pressure to produce since I was starting. There probably was a little more added pressure, but that was only the pressure I put on myself. That was the main thing. Other than that, it was fun.
I’ve worked really hard to get to this position. To know that it’s working out for the best, that’s the biggest thing for me right there. Anybody can say anything on any given night, but I know I’m out there doing what I’m capable of doing. I’m just excited for the opportunity and for what’s to come.