Nate McMillan is clearly excited about being named the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and one of the reasons why is because a young player on the Pacers reminds him a lot of a current Spurs’ star who he used to coach.
In an interview with Sirius XM NBA Radio’s “Off the Dribble,” McMillan admitted that Myles Turner reminds him a lot of LaMarcus Aldridge.
“It was almost like those guys were cloned,” said McMillan. The similarities are striking; they both have common skill sets with being able to score inside as well as hit mid-range jumpers. They are also both University of Texas alumni and are each listed at 6’11.
The parallels go beyond just their college backgrounds and physical tools, though, according to McMillan.
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“The one thing that I loved about LaMarcus was the fact that he worked extremely hard. He stayed in the gym after practice, he was early to practice, and he really worked on developing his game. Myles Turner is the exact same type of player,” McMillan raved.
It may seem hyperbolic at first to put Turner in the same category as Aldridge, but the rookie Turner actually had better averages per game in points, rebounds, and blocks this year than Aldridge had back in his rookie season.
The comparison in regards to their mid-range shooting ability is especially astute. This season, Aldridge shot about 43% on midrange jumpers, and Turner was close behind him with a rate of about 41%. For two guys at 6’11, it’s even more impressive that they can score away from the basket along with their low-post games.
McMillan certainly knows Aldridge well, as he coached him in Portland for nearly 6 seasons. Turner looks like he has the potential to be a great interior player in the NBA on both ends of the court, and it will certainly help his confidence that his new head coach likens him to a star like Aldridge.