Pacers Nab Texas Big Man Myles Turner With 11th Pick

Myles Turner, right, poses for photos with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 10th overall by the Indiana Pacers during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 25, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (AP) – The Indiana Pacers selected Texas big man Myles Turner with the 11th overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
Turner, at 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, averaged 10.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks as a freshman last season. Indiana also held the 43rd overall pick.
The Pacers, who want to go with a faster, smaller lineup next season, are looking for their draft picks to make an impact right away and potentially fill a starting role down the road — even if that means selecting a player only a year removed from high school, Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard said this week.
The Pacers’ front office also must prepare for the possibility that two frontcourt veterans, center Roy Hibbert and forward David West, decide to opt out of the final year of their contracts and join free agency next month.
Indiana’s No. 11 pick was the team’s highest pick since taking George No. 10 overall in 2010.
Indiana may also have to fill the roles of key bench players. Guards C.J. Watson and Rodney Stuckey, and forward Luis Scola are all unrestricted free agents. All three have been known to create a spark off the bench for the Pacers.
Pacers management understands how important this year’s draft is for the team’s future.
Pritchard said the depth of talent in the first part of the draft is significantly strong. Instead of targeting a specific position, Indiana simply wanted the best player available to help the Pacers as early as next season.
Turner joins a Pacers team with two-time All-Star Paul George, who missed most of last season after breaking his right leg and veteran point guard George Hill, who also missed stretches last season with injuries.
Indiana hasn’t found much success with the draft in recent years, but still found ways to reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014. The Pacers finished 38-44 last year and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
The Pacers have been strapped for cash, too, and unable to make many significant moves. If Hibbert and West opt out of their contracts, Indiana’s salary cap space would open up even more.

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