Longhorns and Aggies and a Bear! Oh my! (Pacers and Cavs)
Looking for a reason to get involved in the NBA playoffs, but you don’t really care about the teams? Are you a fan of Texas colleges? Well in the NBA playoffs every first round series either has a Texas Longhorn, Fightin’ Texas Aggie or Baylor Bear on their roster. If you follow NCAA basketball in Texas, but not the NBA, here is how some familiar faces are doing!
I’m long winded, so the articles will be broken up. Here are the two Longhorns in the Cavs and Pacers series.
Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers:
Myles Turner (Texas 2015)
Turner was the last one and done coached by Rick Barnes. Turner started 30 games as a rookie with Indiana nearly putting up identical numbers that he did as a freshman at the University of Texas. No joke:
Turner at Texas: 22 minutes, 10 points, 6.5 rebounds, 45.5 FG%
Turner’s first NBA season: 22 minutes, 10 points, 5.5 rebounds, 49.8 FG%
Turner’s game was more suited for the NBA and playing next to Paul George has actually led to Turner becoming a better shooter in the NBA than he was in college. Turner is now a legit 7’ tall and has become one of the league’s better rim defenders that can also space the floor and play the pick and roll/pick and pop. Most of his shots are in the mid range and then in the restricted area and most of his shots, 85.8%, are taken without a dribble. Turner expanded his range this season and made a big jump by becoming an effective 3-point shooter, improving his 3-point percentage from 21.4% from behind the line his rookie season to 34.5% this season.
Turner came to the Pacers at the perfect time for both parties. With David West leaving for the Spurs, Myles Turner’s similar skill set with a larger frame and superior athletic ability was perfect for Indiana. And Turner getting immediate playing time was just what the doctor ordered after a year of not playing to his strengths in college. The Pacers will give the Cavs a hard time in the first round and Turner has become an important piece for the Pacers on both ends. And he is only in his second year.
Tristan Thompson (Texas 2011)
Thompson was drafted 4th overall out of Texas in 2011. He was a rookie with Kyrie Irving and has developed into the best rim protector on the Cavs and the team’s second best rebounder behind Kevin Love. Thompson still doesn’t have range. He only took nine shots from beyond 14 feet on his 437 field goal attempts on the season. 401 of those field goal attempts from Thompson were from less than 8 feet.
Thompson has seen a drop in his points per game average since LeBron came back to Cleveland, but his field goal percentage has skyrocketed from 47.7% before LeBron came back to 54.7% LeBron’s first year back and has steadily increased to 60.4% this season. Thompson has always been a liability from the free throw line. He has never shot better than 70% and oddly enough has regressed to his worst shooting from the charity stripe: 49.8%.Thompson is in the perfect place for his skill set playing next to LeBron and Kyrie and should do his best to stay a role player in Cleveland.