Bust, Bum, Can’t shoot, Head Case, Looks like a Twelve year-old kid calling for the Ball…All this sound familiar? Yes, that would be Evan Turner, to which I am referring too. Those sayings were all common themes for Evan. Dare I say it? Until this year? Well, damn…It sure looks that way.
There have been many articles written about this dude. Some saying he just needs to play (earlier on in his career). I remember writing one a couple years back about his playing time:
Turner is only averaging 20 minutes a game, and overall this season he is averaging 23 minutes a game. For example here are some of his 2010 draft classmates that are averaging more minutes than him. Gordon Hayward 27.5 minutes a game, John Wall 37 minutes a game, Greg Monroe 33 minutes a game, and DeMarcus Cousins 29.5 minutes a game.In Turner’s last 12 games he has not even reach the 20 minute plateau in 6 of them.
I used to love calling Cousins a moron. Well, still do. It was always perplexing how Turner (only 34 starts in his first two years) didn’t get much tic early on in his career. Even in his second year, there were issues of playing time. Then last year he finally got the time (35.5 minutes a game), he had a few glimpse of hope, but for the most part struggled. It would be different if he was a second round pick or even a late round pick. This dude was the number 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft.
In his first two seasons he averaged only 24.7 minutes a game. That’s pretty DAMN low for that high of a draft pick. Yes, it was likely because of Iguodala/Lou-Will’s presences on this team but still very low. The fact that Doug Collins was extremely tough on him and the fact that they couldn’t stand each other may have helped too. Though the same can be said for Derrick Favors (drafted right after Turner, 3rd overall) of the Utah Jazz, who has only averaged 21.9 minutes in his career. He was stuck behind Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Now Favors is finally getting the time that he needs (averaging 34 minutes this year) in his fourth year.
A common theme in the NBA is that usually you know what a type of player a player is going to be by his third year. The problem with Evan was that last year was his first real year to learn on the court. The only real way to learn and grow on the court is to be out on the court. You can only learn so much by listening to players and coaches. You have to go out on the court make mistakes and learn from them. You learn by being in different situations of a game. Learning how to play in a tight-game with two minutes left, being that guy that your teammates look too, to come up with a big-play in a key situation.
Maybe, this is the year that Turner is learning from his previous mistakes, in his fourth year, when it should have been his third year. Zack Lowe of Grantland.com, put Evan on his “All-Intriguing Team”. Basically, saying it is now or never for Turner. Lowe:
Turner still holds some appeal to old-guard GMs who remember when teams barely used the 3-point shot and needed ball handlers who could find slivers of space even with all 10 players packed below the top of the key. But that league doesn’t exist anymore.
He’s got a nifty herky-jerky game full of crossovers, behind-the-back dribbles, abrupt pull-ups, and spins that dazzle when they work.
Zack also talked about how Turner would do his herky-jerky game full of crossovers and seemly be going nowhere. That was very true of Turner. Turner really would do all his behind the back dribbles, pull-ups, spins and really be going nowhere. That is not happening this year. He is going somewhere. That some where is the rim. He averaging 6 attempts per game from the charity strip, compared to only averaging 2 attempts for his career. Turner is playing carefree and his game is better for it.
Turner knows that if he makes a mistake he can get back on the next play. He is not looking over his shoulder, seeing if he is coming out. He is not pouting/crying/whining or whatever you want to call it, anymore. He is just out there hoopin and that’s it. Guess what? He is actually playing off the ball better as well. His numbers have gone up across the board because of this.
He is shooting 48% from the field (career 43.3%). He is shooting 86% from the foul-line (career 75%). In the advance stat world, he is at 17.16 PER (career high is 12.69). Going into last night’s game against the Pelicans (that was fun), he was at 56.4 TS%(True Shooting Percentage). His career high is 48.8% his rookie year. His is also shooting better at the rim and is tied for fourth in the league in “Clutch Time” points (24) with Kevin Durant.
All those numbers are all well and good. BUT, what makes a difference in a player’s game is confidence. It’s early, but that is a different Evan Turner on the court, one that has confidence in his abilities. The likely hood of the Sixers and Hinkie moving forward with Evan are slim. BUT maybe, just maybe, a player that you can move forward with.