Pacers’ Turner Talks Playoff Run, Siakam Addition, Career Goals, More

Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype ahead of the start of the Eastern Conference finals, Pacers big man Myles Turner said he’s unfazed by entering the third-round series as a significant underdog to the top-seeded Celtics. As Turner explained, he and his teammates have gotten used to playing the underdog role by this point.

“That’s life as an Indiana Pacer,” Turner said. “It was the same thing as the last series. If you look at every single poll on ESPN, everyone picked the Knicks to win. If you look at the series before that with the Bucks, it might’ve been 80 percent of the people picking Milwaukee to win.

“That’s something that, since I’ve been here, at least in my career, it’s been like that every single season. We don’t get TV games, and we’re not publicized like that. In the press, it’s never the Pacers won. It’s the Knicks lost. That’s regular stuff for us. We use it as fuel and as a chip on our shoulders. We definitely go in there, and it’s less pressure on us because if we’re the underdogs, we’re the uninvited guests. It’s up to us to go out there and prove everybody wrong. That’s the goal at the end of the day.”

Over the course of his conversation with Scotto, Turner also addressed what this playoff run means to him as the longest-tenured Pacer, how the midseason addition of Pascal Siakam affected the team, and his career goals going forward, among other topics.

Here are a few highlights from the discussion, which is worth checking out in full for Pacers fans:

On surviving multiple years of trade rumors and sticking with the Pacers:

“It’s pretty dope. A lot of people were expecting you to fold with that. When you start hearing those types of rumors year in and out, you start kind of getting insecure. You look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Am I the problem?’ You’ve been hyped up your entire life, and when you get to this stage, everything’s under a microscope. When you start playing for these multi-million dollar organizations, any little thing that goes wrong, the blame is going to be on you. That’s where it got in my career.

“… I got here with Paul George, where I was spoiled in my first couple of years making the playoffs. Then, he gets traded, and you have the rise of Victor Oladipo. Then, he gets hurt and goes on his way. Domantas Sabonis comes in and has his All-Star run, and then he goes on his way. Now, we’re in a new era of Pacers basketball, and I’ve seen all this stuff, and we’re in a really good spot. It definitely means a lot to be in the same uniform that I was drafted in, but it means more that I still have the trust and support of the front office and this fan base.”

On Siakam’s impact on the Pacers following the January trade with Toronto:

“I think Pascal came here and changed not only our outlook right away but the way we approach the game. He’s someone who has championship experience. He came in right away and was able to be a voice. He was never really shy about speaking up on how he thought about things we should be doing or how we should move. He’s helped us tremendously on the offensive end and being able to have his defensive versatility.

“He’s a free agent this summer. We’re hoping that he signs back in Indiana. He’s someone that we’d love to have who can really help us going forward. I think it was a great move for us to get him. (Pacers president of basketball operations) Kevin Pritchard was very adamant about trying to add more length, and he was able to get it done with a special player. I’ve really enjoyed playing with him in the frontcourt together. He’s someone who’s also going to help my game. He commands so much attention that I’m able to get loose for my threes.”

On Turner’s individual and team goals:

“Individually, you want to get that first All-Star birth. You want to finally get some All-Defensive recognition and be able to be the guy that gets these types of humanitarian awards for the work you do in the community and have stuff like that recognized. As far as a team goal, the goal is to win a championship. There’s no other way to put that. When we started talking about this at the beginning of the year, it was far-fetched to a lot of people to try to make this run to the Finals. Now, it seems more real.”

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