Rookie Myles Turner off to promising start

Pacers' 19-year-old has played well off the bench in three games.

Myles Turner introduced himself to the NBA with a rebound dunk last week.

Maybe Wednesday night, the Indiana Pacers rookie center-forward will get to make his first start.

Center Ian Mahinmi exited early from Tuesday’s win at Detroit with a lower back injury. He’s questionable for the Pacers’ home game against the Boston Celtics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

In each of his three games, Turner continues to show why president Larry Bird selected the promising 19-year-old Texan with the 11th overall choice in the NBA draft.

Although 6-11 and 243 pounds, he’s not shy about mixing it up inside to rebound and block shots, but he also has the athleticism to step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. He’s averaged eight points and four rebounds per game with five blocks and three steals.

And when he comes off the bench, he’s taking his shots within the framework of the offense. Sometimes, rookies press to prove themselves. Turner has made 11-of-18 field-goal attempts.

After missing the season opener at Toronto, Turner made his pro debut against Memphis and followed up a Monta Ellis miss with a two-handed slam.

“My first shot, that’s a great way to make a bang,” he said after the game. “First two points in the league was a tip back, a tip slam.”

The Pacers (1-3) are off to a slow start, but coach Frank Vogel likes what he’s seen from Turner.

“He brought us great energy and made his first couple of shots,” Vogel said after Turner finished with eight points in his first game. “He looked good on the offensive end. He had a good burst in the first half. I was very pleased with his first performance.”

Earlier that day, Turner tweeted, “First game baby let’s start it off right Indy!”

That he did.

Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.

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