Turner instantly boosts the San Antonio Spurs’ defense
Myles Turner is a unique player in today’s NBA. He is a defensive maestro who can singlehandedly win games with his point-stopping mastery. One of the favorites for Defensive Player of the Year before an injury that sidelined him indefinitely, the fifth-year center is leading the league in blocks with 3.4 swats per game.
The San Antonio Spurs have greatly improved on defense this season, ranking 11th in defensive rating from last year’s putrid 25th. However, as customary with younger teams, the Silver and Black still suffer from common mishaps on defense, specifically with paint defense.
The team surrenders 49.6 points in the paint per contest, the 7th-highest mark in the league. This is a point of concession that comes with exclusively playing small ball, which Gregg Popovich has resorted to all season long.
Fans may be quick to point out that Jakob Poeltl’s presence creates an overlap, but Myles Turner has loads of experience playing with another big occupying the paint in Sabonis. Just imagine the prospect of Poeltl and Turner collaborating to anchor the defense with the likes of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell disrupting perimeter players.
Another facet of Turner’s amazing defense is his sneaky mobility, making him a natural counter against stretch bigs. With Poeltl more effective as an outright rim protector, Turner can serve as a shot-blocking help defender when the two occupy the floor together. But ideally, Pop would stagger the minutes between the two, making sure that one of them is always on the floor.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/01/24/0022000249/503/b032dbb9-3f4f-c23f-f950-c5f6d2b37c5e_1280x720.mp4
Here, see how Toronto’s Chris Boucher, a 39 percent 3-point shooter, spaces after screening for his guard. Despite the tough cover, Turner is mobile enough to tag the ball handler and recover to his man when he attempts to attack the open lane, resulting in a block.
Next: How Turner helps the offense