Myles Turner on Pacers: “I expect to make the playoffs this year”

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Last season the Indiana Pacers were just above .500 at 42-40, but that was good enough to be the seven seed and get into the playoffs.

Then this summer the team traded Paul George. And lost Jeff Teague in free agency. And started a rebuilding process.

However, the guy at the heart of that rebuilding — big man Myles Turner — said on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Wednesday that the goal hasn’t changed, he expects the Pacers to be a playoff team out East. (Hat tip to the Indy Star.)

“I feel like we’re definitely going to be overlooked this year. A lot of people look at us as young team that’s going to rebuild, but we’re a young team that’s trying to compete. We’ve got a lot of guys who can come in and make an impact right away. I expect to make the playoffs this year.”

First, I want star players to say that. He can’t go into the season saying “we’re tanking.”

Also, Turner isn’t crazy.

I don’t have the Pacers in the postseason in the East, but it is possible they grab one of the final couple spots in a conference where a lot of teams are aiming more for Marvin Bagley and Michael Porter than the postseason. The Pacers have some solid veterans on the roster — Darren Collison, Thadeus Young, Cory Joseph, Lance Stephenson — and if they can get Turner to take another step forward, and if Victor Oladipo can find a groove, a seven or eight seed is not out of the question.

The Pacers may move those veterans in season if GM Kevin Pritchard can turn them into younger players more on the Turner/Oladipo timeline. Making the playoffs is not a priority for the front office, nor should it be. However, the idea of the Pacers making the postseason in the East isn’t crazy.