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Pacers’ Myles Turner credits yoga for his defense, will continue to use it as offseason routine

Myles Turner

Myles Turner, as strange as it sounds, recently changed his running style.

The Indiana Pacers center dropped in the 2015 draft in part due to fears that his, shuffling, choppy posture while running wouldn’t just limit his effectiveness, but potentially be a harbinger of future injury. He went through comprehensive testing at the Hospital of Special Surgery during the pre-draft process to discover the root of the issue, and has worked tirelessly in the interim to develop a smoother, more fluid gait.

Mission accomplished.

Four years later, Turner has already established himself as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and made enough progress offensively last season to be considered a budding All-Star. But just because he’s effectively re-learned how to run hardly means Turner is finished honing the finer points of his body. Case in point: His longtime affinity for yoga, which the 23-year-old credits for his vastly improved mobility on defense.

“Defensively, it helps me move laterally more easily,” Turner said, per editor of his personal website, Grant Afseth.“I can easily get into my slides better and kind of move and do what I want to do. It helps me in the pick-and-roll coverage being able to drop back and whatnot. Just making more efficient movements.”

Turner averaged 13.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and a career-best 2.7 blocks per game last season. He finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting, and first runner-up among centers in All-Defense tallies.

Still, Turner’s best days are clearly ahead of him, and his dedication to overall fitness is one of the biggest reasons why.