Just a day after being formally announced as the Indiana Pacers new head coach, Nate McMillan seems to be going with that whole positive outlook approach.
Promoted from his assistant coach role, McMillan inherits a playoff team that boasts one of the top all-around players in the Association in the form of Paul George.
But that’s now who he was gushing over when speaking to SiriusXM NBA Radio on Tuesday. Instead, McMillan’s focus was on 2015 first-round pick Myles Turner:
'Very similar. Almost like they were cloned" @Pacers HC Nate McMillan on comparing Myles Turner to LaMarcus Aldridge.
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) May 17, 2016
Comparing a wide-eyed 20 year old that’s coming off his rookie season to a multi-time All-Star seems to be a bit absurd.
That’s until we realize just how good Turner was in limited action as a rookie.
The former Texas standout averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field in 22.8 minutes of action per game.
At 6-foot-11 and 243 pounds, Turner’s frame also compares favorably to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stands at 6-foot-11 and weights 240 pounds.
What’s amazing here is that Turner still has more time to grow into his frame. At just 20 years old, the former lottery pick has not even come close to reaching his potential.
It’s also important to note that McMillan served as a Blazers assistant coach for the first six seasons Aldridge suited up in Portland. His opinion, however subjective it might be, shouldn’t be taken lightly.
For McMillan and the Pacers, the hope here is that Turner can turn into that second option behind George moving forward. This is one of the primary things that held Indiana back in 2015-16.
Simply put, it didn’t have anyone that was able to step up on a consistent basis behind George.
Short of that happening, early-round playoff exits will continue to be the norm for Indiana.