Myles Turner adjusting to changing role with Pacers

The Pacers have been a success story this season, which is impressive considering they are still awaiting the return to action of shooting guard Victor Oladipo. A key development this year has been a change in the squad’s frontcourt, and one that definitely affects Myles Turner. Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting:

Being defended by smaller players because he’s now sharing the starting lineup with Domantas Sabonis, he’s not just posting and having his number called. It’s how he’s posting up.

No longer do most of his looks in the offense come via the pick-and-roll (or pop). That’s for Sabonis, who is being defended by the slower players at his position on offense at the 5. Turner, listed as the center, is being defended by 4s and offensively faces up better. His defenders are now mostly quicker, smaller and more laterally capable.

When Malcolm Brogdon or T.J. McConnell call for a ball screen, they want slow-footed Alex Len (Hawks) who’d be defending Sabonis or Daniel Theis (Celtics) or Nik Vucevic (Magic). They wouldn’t call for Turner, who’d be defended by John Collins (when he returns from suspension for the Hawks) in that scenario, or Jaylen Brown (Celtics) or Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac (Magic).

The Pacers haven’t gotten much attention this season but they’ve played as well as many of the East’s best squads. Especially on the defensive side of the floor – and Turner is a big part of that.

Marcus Smart dealing with eye infection

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, one of the team’s most important players, is dealing with a lingering eye infection. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

The infection in the Celtics guard’s left eye that has kept him out of the team’s last three games has now spread to his right eye, coach Brad Stevens said after practice on Monday.

Smart wasn’t at the Celtics practice facility as the team returned Monday and it’s uncertain when he will be back. Either way, his status seems to be in jeopardy as the Celtics return to action on Wednesday night at Dallas.

“You’re worried about it but I was told this particular type of infection could be 7-10 days,” Stevens said Monday. “We’re at seven now.”

The Celtics are 17-7 this season. Smart has started 15 of 20 games played and is averaging 11.8 points and 4.6 assists per game, and is one of the team’s key defensive players.

LeBron James discusses load management

“Load management” is getting more attention than it deserves. Only a handful of NBA players sit out sometimes, usually during one game in a back-to-back, and occasionally in other situations.

How does LeBron James feel about it? Here’s the LA Times reporting:

“If I’m healthy, I play,” James said after the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. “I mean, that should be the approach. I mean, unless we’re getting to like late in the season and we’ve clinched and we can’t get any better or any worse, it could benefit from that, but why wouldn’t I play if I’m healthy? It doesn’t make any sense to me, personally.

“I mean, I don’t know how many games I got left in my career. I don’t know how many kids that may show up to a game and they’re there to come see me play and if I sit out, then what? That’s my obligation.”

The Lakers are 24-3 so far this season. That’s 27 games. LeBron has played in all 27.

 

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