Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner has been one of the most feared rim protectors since he came into the NBA but is reaching new heights now.
Turner, 23, recorded a block in 36 straight games for Indiana at one point this season and has accounted for more than half (50.1 percent) of the blocks that the Pacers have had in 2018-19 thus far.
He leads the NBA in total blocks (199) as well as blocks per game (2.7). Actually, his blocks per game average is the highest of the last three years. It gets better: He currently has more blocks than the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
“Yeah, one of our team statisticians told me that and I was shocked,” Turner told HoopsHype. “If that doesn’t scream All-Defensive 1st Team, then I don’t know what does.”
His block percentage currently ranks in the 98th percentile among all bigs, per Cleaning the Glass. He has ranked in the 89th percentile or better in this statistic all four of his professional season but this campaign would go down as the best block percentage in franchise history, which will beat the previous record set by Roy Hibbert in 2013.
According to Basketball-Reference, the league average team has recorded 4.9 blocks per 100 possessions this season. For comparison, however, Turner has nearly matched that with an insane pace of 4.6 blocks per 100. The big had at least four blocks in a dozen games, including a career-high six blocks against the Bulls back in November.
As the obvious centerpiece of their defense, Indiana currently has the third-best defensive rating in the league despite losing Victor Oladipo to injury in January.
His defensive box plus-minus and his defensive win shares both rank Top 10 among all players, which is great fodder for a Defensive Player of the Year nod.
“To get Defensive Player of the Year would be an incredible honor because I’ve always prided myself on the defensive end of the floor,” Turner said. “I think the DPOY is someone who has the biggest impact on their team and I don’t think anyone this season has had the same impact I’ve had defensively.”
HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy contributed reporting to this story