Courtesy of Nate Taylor
Question: How has your summer gone to this point?
Turner: I’ve been in Indy pretty much the whole summer. Right after the season, I went to Dallas for about month and chilled with my family. I’ve just been working and nothing else.
Question: How do you want to improve this summer?
Turner: I have to improve everywhere. Obviously, I’m trying to get stronger. It’s going to come with my development and just growing up. I’m working on a lot of aspects of my game. I want to be able to shoot the 3 more consistently, not just jack them up, obviously. When I’m in the opportunities to have spot-ups, I want to knock them down at a higher clip. I’m working on my post game with (assistant coach Bill) Bayno. We’ve had some good workouts and we’re about to go work out here in a couple of hours. It’s been good.
Question: I enjoyed your tweet last night acknowledging the Pacers trading George to the Thunder. What was your reaction?
Turner: I was just trying to lighten the mood a little bit. Obviously it was a big shock to everybody. We saw it coming, but it’s different when it actually happens.
Question: How have you tried to prepare for this knowing that this summer was going to bring so many changes with former team President Larry Bird stepping down, George not coming back, (team President) Kevin Pritchard in charge and a wave of young players joining you?
Turner: Right now, man, I’m just taking a step back and just worrying about myself. Being able to kind of reflect. You can think about the future and what’s going to happen, but I’m not trying to think about all of that right now. I’m just working out and being on my own. Once the time comes and everybody’s in the gym, that’s when I’m going to make it known in talking to everybody and see what happens. I’ve had multiple conversations with K.P. and everybody around the organization. Right now I’m taking a step back.
Question: I know George mentored you and Glenn Robinson III. What did you learn these last two years with George knowing that he was trying to groom you to have a bigger role moving forward?
Turner: I learned a lot from him, man. I learned a lot. I learned how to handle myself. It’s not so much about my game, just learning how he’s handled being the leader of this team and what to do and what not to do. He’s told me a lot about that. I just sat back and watched and I was real open to everything he had to tell me.
Question: How difficult will it be without George?
Turner: We’re going to take our growing pains. We’re expecting to compete right away. But there’s stuff that comes with playing with a young team, being a young team. We’re going to take our growing pains, but we’re going to be able to get through it.
Question: What impressed you most in watching George and his approach as a star player and leader?
Turner: What impressed me so much was that he’s a pro, a superstar … , But his approach was, ‘I’m going to come in here and work.’ He does a great job of being able to separate himself from all the endorsements, all the limelight. It was about basketball and every time he steps on the floor, he’s ready to go from the jump. That’s one thing that impressed me a lot. P.G. just held everybody accountable. That’s another thing, too. That’s what I got from him.
Question: What excites you most about Oladipo and Sabonis?
Turner: I’ve played against Sabonis in college. He’s a great player. I watched him learn from last year, too, and he was a great role player. I think he’ll come in and make a big impact right away. I played with Oladipo with the USA Select team last summer. I’m familiar with this game and he’s obviously a heady guard. I’ve seen he’s made strides with this body on social media. I’m excited for him to come in, too. He’s another guy that can come in and help us right away.
Question: Have you considered the opportunity ahead of you of being the Pacers’ next franchise player?
Turner: I’m just going to take a step back and not think about all that right now. I’m just worried about getting better right now to better myself and my game.
Question: In terms of leadership, what do you hope to try to accomplish at the start of next season?
Turner: I just want to gain everybody’s respect.
Question: You hope to become a leader someday. Why was it important for you to be here with your summer league teammates?
Turner: It’s a couple of things, man. It’s one thing to say you want to be a leader. Guys, I think, will respect you more if you lead by example. I want to be down here and I’ve been in this situation before in the summer league in trying to get a job. And I also love basketball and being around them and seeing guys that you follow in college come in here and play. I’m excited to see T.J. (Leaf) play tomorrow. I just like being around basketball.
Question: How important is this week for Joe Young, who you came into the league with two years ago?
Turner: This is really important for Joe because he has to be able to come out here and show that he can lead a team. Everybody knows that Joe can score. It’s what he’s done, it’s what he’s known for as “Joey Buckets.” He comes out and he shows he can lead a team. He struggled a little bit in that first half with turnovers, but he definitely has to improve on that and get better. That’s what he’s here to show.
Question: What conversations have you had with Leaf knowing he’s going to be a part of your development?
Turner: It’s been minimal. I haven’t talked to him too much, but I’ve watched him play and work out. I like what I’ve seen from him. He’s very versatile, has a high IQ and the summer league is going to be a real test for him. He’s got to come out and bang against grown men. I’m excited to see what happens.