Turner with five blocks against the Raptors
Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers 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 his 2015-16 as the regular season ends and the playoffs begin for Indiana, and his plans for the summer.
The regular season was very up and down, but for the most part I feel like it was very successful. I was able to come out here and do what I needed to accomplish and do my best to help the team get to the playoffs. That’s where we’re at, so I feel like it was a good season overall.
The big games I had are probably the best memories. I had a really big game against the Golden State Warriors. I had 31 points that game. Golden State just proved the other night were the best team in the regular season. Scoring that much on a team like that is pretty incredible. Blocking LeBron, that was pretty cool. I’ll probably remember that for a long time as well. And to be able to start as many games as I did, 30 of the 60 games I played this year, was great. Those are the three that stick out the most.
Earning a spot in the starting lineup was a big boost for my confidence. It meant that my teammates and the coaching staff had a lot of confidence in me as well, that they knew why they drafted me. To get a place in the starting lineup, especially early, that meant even more confidence for me. I was happy I was able to perform.
I proved to myself that I can play at this level. I never had any doubts about coming here and playing at this level, of course, but I didn’t know what to expect. But now I know I can really play at this level.
I wanted to try to make it to Toronto for All-Star weekend. I guess it’s ironic that I got to Toronto for the playoffs, so I guess I somewhat reached that goal. I wanted to be in the Rookie of the Year running. I wanted to try to make one the All-Rookie teams. Hopefully I’ll achieve that goal. My short-term goal was to establish a role on this team and get in the starting lineup. I told myself that I wanted to at least get out there and prove that I can play at this level. I feel like I accomplished those goals.
Making All-Rookie would be a payoff for all the work I’ve put in this year. That was a huge goal of mine coming out of summer league, so to achieve that goal, to have that respect from my peers and respect from the league, would mean a lot.
Being on a playoff team and playing with that pressure as a rookie will help me a lot in the future. It will be very important that I was able to get this experience early. It means there’s no excuses in the seasons to come. I know what it’s like and I’ll be ready to go. To have that experience early I think will be a help to the rest of my career, especially if we can make a deep run this year.
The thumb injury was the low point of the season. I was pretty depressed and couldn’t wait to get back out there. I’m happy with the way I used that time, though. I got my body better. I watched a lot of film. I look at it as a little negative, but I look at more positive than anything.
The physicality was the toughest adjustment. Everyone says speed of the game. The speed of the game came pretty easy to me. But the physicality – facing vets, adjusting to the calls, you don’t get a lot of calls as a rookie from the refs. That was definitely the toughest part for me to pick up.
I’ll be in Indianapolis most of the summer. We have not really talked about it much at all so I’m not sure with my teammates are doing, but I know I’m going to be here in Indianapolis. I’m not sure about summer league. My plan is to play. But it just depends on what the staff recommends and wants to do.
I definitely want to work on my post game a little bit more. Just have more of a repertoire down there. And improve my body, of course, and build off everything I did this year. I don’t want to have any drop offs from this year so I’m going to keep working this summer to improve my overall game.
To sum up the regular season of my rookie year, it was more than you bargained for. In a good way.