VIDEO: Turner puts up big numbers in March
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 how he can still feel like a rookie this late in the season and how the experience of having a prominent role for a team in the playoff picture, rare for a first-year player, can be beneficial in future seasons.
I still feel somewhat like a rookie. I can say that.
The biggest thing about it right now is that it’s almost like a new season is about to begin. The playoffs is a whole new intense atmosphere, it’s people making harder fouls a lot more often. People are out here grinding it out. Even these last few games, teams that have already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs are playing hard. It’s like a whole new season.
It’s definitely ramped up. The teams we’re playing are playing really hard. We played Orlando the other day and they’re not going to make the playoffs but they played us really tough. In the East right now, we’re all competing really hard. Each game matters, even for the teams looking in at the playoff standings. This is an important time.
I’m scoreboard watching now. I wasn’t really doing it that much at the beginning of the season. But now I do check the playoff picture. The scores and the standings. We have the standings posted in our locker room. It shows all the standings, in the East and the West. I look at it every time I walk by.
It’s good to have this experience early, the playoff intensity and the playoff basketball experience early. I think that’s going to help me down the line. I’ll be ready for the pressures for years to come.
It’s gone by pretty fast for me, especially since I missed all those games because of the thumb injury. I think that made a big difference because I was just getting started when most rookies were hitting the wall. I was feeling good. I was feeling great coming off the injury. It was almost like I had fresher legs when I was just coming back.
The biggest way I don’t feel like a rookie anymore is that I have a set routine now. Before, at the beginning of the season, I was still trying to figure a lot of things out. What am I supposed to be doing? On game days, I’m like going through everything. Now everything feels so routine and normal, just a protocol of everything I do. Now I can go and already have my day planned and do what I need to get accomplished, especially on the game days. That’s one thing that feels a lot different. That’s a great thing.
I definitely miss first coming in and those first few games, that feeling of being out there for the first time. I do miss that feeling. That part does seem like a long time ago. I can say that. It does feel like it has been a while since those first few weeks. That shows the season can go by so fast. But I don’t have any drawbacks. I’ve just been excited to get my career going and I’m loving the direction it’s going in.