In a reflection on his draft night, Pacers center Myles Turner recalled the moment when he expected to be the No. 5 pick by the Magic in the 2015 NBA Draft, only to hear Orlando select Mario Hezonja instead.

Turner’s journey in the NBA took an unexpected turn that night, and he recently shared his thoughts on how it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Turner, now 27 years old, had high hopes of being selected by the Magic with the fifth overall pick. His agent had conveyed the positive feedback he received from the Magic, leading Turner to believe he was headed to Orlando. However, the draft night took an unexpected twist.

“I thought I was going number 5 to Orlando. My agent said ‘We’re going number 5 to Orlando, this is it, you had a great workout there, they’re excited about you.’ I was ‘All right, cool.’ I’m at the table in the greenroom… ‘With the number 5 pick, the Orlando Magic select Mario Hezonja.’ I’m like, ‘Who the f*ck is this?'” Turner said on Run Your Race podcast.

Hezonja, a European prospect relatively unknown to Turner at the time, became the Magic’s choice. Turner admitted his initial frustration, saying, “I’m kind of pissed because, you know how they do that, they bring in some European prospects who we really don’t know about… And I’ve seen the highlights, ‘All right, he can fly a little bit, he can dunk, he can shoot a little.’ I was like ‘All right, he’s pretty nice.’ I’m still pissed, obviously.”

Despite the initial disappointment, Turner’s draft journey took a different path as he dropped to the 11th pick, eventually landing with the Pacers. In hindsight, he views this as a blessing, emphasizing the significance of the team and the city.

“Blessing in disguise. I did not need to go number 10 to Miami. I didn’t need to be 18-19 years-old in Miami… That’s a tough place. I understand they have a culture there,” he said.

“But there’s another thing people don’t realize – when we get drafted, we’re kids trying to get into a grown man’s business. Some of these cities you go to make or break your career. It was the best thing for me to go to a blue-collar city and just grind it out.”

Hezonja, the player chosen ahead of Turner by the Magic, spent five years in the NBA before returning to Europe in 2021. He has been playing for Real Madrid since 2022 and won EuroLeague title last season.