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Pacers’ Myles Turner: ‘I’m not valued as anything more than a glorified role player here, and I want something more’

Pacers big Myles Turner

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 20: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers reacts after a dunk in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans during the third quarter at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on November 20, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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The Pacers are reportedly considering trading Myles Turner (and Domantas Sabonis and Caris LeVert).

Turner doesn’t sound as if he’d mind a shakeup.

Turner, via Jared Weiss of The Athletic:

“It’s clear that I’m not valued as anything more than a glorified role player here, and I want something more, more opportunity,” Turner told The Athletic Tuesday. “I’m trying really hard to make the role that I’m given here work and find a way to maximize it. I’ve been trying to the past two, three seasons. But it’s clear to me that, just numbers-wise, I’m not valued as more than a rotational role player, and I hold myself in a higher regard than that.”
“I’ve been given many roles in the years that I’ve been here, and I feel like I’ve been able to produce at a high level in the roles I’ve been given,” Turner said. “I’ve shown that I can do the things they ask me to do, and I think it’s time to put that all together and be a more prominent night-in, night-out guy on the offensive side of the ball instead of someone who is asked to be a floor spacer and hide in the shadows.”

Turner is a very good player. He defends near an All-Defensive level. His 3-point shooting provides critical floor spacing. He scores efficiently both from beyond the arc and at the rim – though on a limited number of attempts.

However, that’s part of his value. Many stars dominate the ball. Turner is the rare high-level player who contributes plenty without the ball in his hands.

Of course, there are egos involved, and Turner doesn’t sound content to average just 12.9 points per game. As much as people can talk about his value, there’s a prestige tied to scoring. Peripheral contributions don’t boost status the same way.

Could Turner handle a bigger load? Probably. But that isn’t quite the right question. The right question: Could Turner be good enough in a larger role for a winning team to justify taking the ball from other players and giving it to him significantly more often?

That’s less clear.

In Indiana, Turner is often deployed as a spot-up shooter. To his credit, he does what’s asked of him, trying to make the most of a tricky fit with Domantas Sabonis. But Turner has had limited opportunities to display an expanded game. He has shown flashes – but not nearly enough to be convinced he could do it nightly against varying opponents. Turner would definitely have to improve significantly as a passer to justify having the ball in his hands more often (and probably as a ball-handler and off-dribble shooter, too).

Turner has gotten far by ignoring limitations others have tried to impose on him. It’s impossible to separate him from the ambition that has fueled his career. The Pacers, in many ways, have embraced him and his determination.

By going public, Turner is showing just how serious he is about his role. This type of statement usually follows prolonged behind-the-scenes agitating not getting the desired results.

Now, it’s on Indiana – or maybe soon Turner’s next team – to maximize his contributions amid his vocal desire to play a bigger role.

He isn’t making it easy for a team to stick him in a corner.