Central Notes: Turner, Sabonis, Lopez, Middleton, Allen

Pacers center Myles Turner is enjoying a career season now that he is fully entrenched at the five spot for Indiana, writes Law Murray of The Athletic.

The 12-9 Pacers have enjoyed a surprisingly solid start to 2022/23, and Turner has been a big part of that. The 6’11” big man out of Texas is averaging a career-high 17.1 PPG on a shooting line of .528/.377/.808. He is also pulling down a career-high 8.3 RPG, while chipping in 2.6 BPG and 1.5 APG.

“The past three or four seasons, I’ve been playing the four position,” Turner explained. Former frontcourt mate Domantas Sabonis manned the center role while Turner played mostly as a power forward. “I feel better naturally at the five. Things have just opened up for me. There’s more opportunity out there on the floor.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Sabonis, now with the Kings after a deadline deal last season, reflected on his new home and suggested that the trade sending him from the Pacers to Sacramento was a win-win, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “We’re doing great here,” Sabonis said of his 11-9 Sacramento squad. “I was traded here to turn things around and change the franchise. I feel like we’re on a great start, there’s a lot of season left. Tyrese [Haliburton] is playing amazing, he’s playing at an All-Star level. It looks like they’re having a lot of fun. Yeah, it worked out for both sides.”
  • Bucks center Brook Lopez is looking forward to the return of All-Star teammate Khris Middleton, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Middleton is expected to make his 2022/23 season debut for Milwaukee Friday at home against the Lakers. The team without Middleton seems to have barely missed a step, and is currently the No. 2 seed in the East with a 15-5 record. “We’ve been playing the way we are, and we haven’t had an All-Star, All-NBA guy like that, just tops at his position,” Lopez reflected. “That’s scary. Obviously, we want Khris to take his time, make sure he’s healthy, get right and everything, but that’s an exciting prospect to think about.”
  • All-Star Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen continues to rehabilitate a low back contusion, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). “From what I understand he’s gotten better and then it’s just a matter of how quickly he can progress,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Allen’s health. “It’s been slow, obviously, it’s not where he wants it to be where he’d be able to play. He’s been doing things in the water and trying it out even on game days to see, and we just won’t put him out there when he’s not in position to protect himself.”
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