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Free Agent Focus: Evan Turner



2013-14 Team and All Previous Teams: Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers

Key Stats 2013/14 (76ers only): 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 42.8 FG%, 28.8 3PT% (on 2.4 attempts/games), 82.9 FT% (on 4.2 attempts/game)

Estimated contract: One year for $3-5 million

Matters to No One But Me …

Are there forces at play beyond our control that have prophesied Evan Turner’s career trajectory? Let’s take a look at the last 14 second overall picks:

2000 – Stromile Swift
2001 – Tyson Chandler
2002 – Jay Williams
2003 – Darko Milicic
2004- Emeka Okafor
2005 – Marvin Williams
2006 – LaMarcus Aldridge
2007 – Kevin Durant
2008 – Michael Beasley
2009 – Hasheem Thabeet
2010 – Evan Turner
2011 – Derrick Williams
2012 – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
2013 – Victor Oladipo
Is the second overall pick cursed? Do you believe in curses? What if Joel Embiid is the second overall pick this year?  Then will you believe me?

Despite being cursed by fate, Turner has improved his scoring average in each of his four seasons while his shooting percentage mildly fluctuates in the low 40s. Unfortunately, the 76ers win total consecutively declined over the last four seasons as well. Turner has developed bad offensive habits (spinning in the lane, playing for the foul, forcing bad shots, not passing) at Ohio State and in Philadelphia. These habits became glaring errors under the scope of the playoffs in Indiana.

Defensively, Turner was once the  Derrick Rose stoppa according to Evan Turner:

"“I was better than Rose,” Turner said. “With me guarding him he didn’t do much. He knows that, and I know that.”"

He hasn’t lived up to his self-proclamation but he can be an effective post defender against opposing guards and small forwards.

I considered Turner an intelligent player until we learned about his altercation with Lance Stephenson. My bad. It takes a team of Frank Vogel, Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh, and Kevin Pritchard to contain, harness and unleash Stephenson’s potential (more on Stephenson later in this series) and Turner attempted to go solo at him? In the words of Stone Cold Steve Austin: “eh-EH.”

Fits with the Stan Van Gundys because …

In honor of Stan Van Gundy first off-season in Detroit, I would like to confess that I really don’t know what Detroit’s new coach and savior is considering when putting this team together. We remember his style in Orlando  (one big surrounded by shooters) but he’s also had winning seasons with some odd Miami teams in 2003-04 (Dwyane Wade, Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Rafer Alston) and 2004-05 (Wade, Eddie Jones, Shaq, Udonis Haslem, Damon Jones). Van Gundy has coached to the strengths of his roster so we can’t assume what’s next for this team.

Turner could mold himself over time as a large ball-handling guard like Hedo Turkoglu on the Magic or an off the bench scorer and rebounder like Antoine Walker in his later years with the Heat. Both are stretches based on his performance in those roles with the Pacers but the Indiana sample size is also small.

Doesn’t fit with the Pistons because …

Turner’s value was minimal at the trade deadline and his disastrous stint with Indiana further diminished his status as he’s now the tag team champion of culture killing along with Andrew Bynum. It’s unfair to grade him in Indiana because the fit was so poor.  He was asked to come off the bench, play without the ball and inside-out with David West and Roy Hibbert – all difficult adaptations that weren’t part of his game in Philadelphia.

The team chemistry issues are less of a concern in Detroit because this is Stan Van Gundy’s culture now and nobody will usurp that. However, Turner won’t stretch the floor for Van Gundy and he will take valuable developmental minutes away from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and which ever rookie shooting guard/small forward the Pistons take in the draft.

Turner does a lot of things on the floor at an average rate. He’s definitely an NBA player but is also baffling. Four years into the league, he’s still a project in search of a defined role where he can specify and hone his skills.

Free Agent is …

…  looking for a job. He can’t be picky. Ideally, Rick Carlisle takes a liking to him and offers to fix him like he did OJ Mayo and Monta Ellis the last two years. I would also love to attend Carlisle University to rid myself of all my poor habits and mental lapses in judgement so I too can maximize my severely limited life potential.

Best known for …

Almost ending Feldman’s life: