That may be true, and Evan has noticeably improved upon his 2012-13 numbers thus far this season, upping his scoring average to almost 22 points per. But, inflated stats on a struggling squad will only go so far, and until he develops a consistent jump shot, his style of play will really only fit in certain systems.
After the jump I analyze the how and why behind Turner’s improved numbers. Then I’ll take a look at the short list of teams where the “new” Evan Turner could fit in and thus be a possible trade partner for the 76ers.
Turner is most effective with the ball in his hand, creating for himself. So far this season, Turner is averaging only two catch-and-shoot shot attempts per game, connecting on only 12.5% of such attempts, illustrating that spot-up shooting is not one of his strong suits. He prefers to make space for himself, dribbling or driving to the basket before the majority of his scoring attempts.
While he is averaging only two catch-and-shoot attempts per game, he is putting up 5.5 pull-up attempts; more than twice as many. This shows you that Turner is much more comfortable creating for himself, either by dribbling into some space or driving to the basket, than he is spotting up and waiting for a perimeter pass. The pull-up has basically become Turner’s patent shot, and he is excellent at creating space off of it.
In addition to piling up the pull-ups, Turner has made a clear effort to drive the ball to the basket. He has averaged 5.3 drives (defined by the new and improved NBA stats page as ‘any touch that starts at least 20 feet of the hoop and is dribbled within 10 feet of the hoop and excludes fast breaks) per game, scoring seven points per game on these drives. His 28 total points on drives thus far this season is good enough for sixth in the entire NBA. His drives are one-dimensional however. The Sixers as a whole see 7.5 points per game off of Turner’s drive, seven of which are accounted for by Evan scoring himself. As a comparison point, Jeremy Lin only averages six points per game off of his drives, but the Rockets average twice as many, 12 points per game, off of them because of his ability to drive and dish. When Turner drives to the basket, he is strictly looking to score.
Turner has compiled his points this season on the back of a 27.3 usage percentage, less than a single percentage point lower than superstars LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Dwayne Wade, and James Harden. Again this goes to demonstrate that while Turner has been effective offensively, he needs the ball, and ample opportunities to be at his best.
All of this is to say, while there is certainly a trade market for Turner, and his enhanced offensive statistics this season will improve his market value, he still is what he is, and teams are aware of this. Thus, his skill set will likely only be appealing to particular teams in certain situations. Title chasing teams with well-established rotations won’t be looking to trade for Turner, so you could cross the likes of Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Brooklyn and Indiana off the list.
Teams that are in tanking mode similar to the Sixers and looking to free up space for the future also won’t be interested, so that eliminates Boston, Utah, Phoenix, and Orlando.
The most likely landing spot for a Turner trade is a team that’s on its way up; a team with playoff aspirations that is building itself into a contender, and is interested in finding fitting pieces for the future. Minnesota comes to mind immediately, as Turner could fit nicely on the wing sandwiched in-between Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. With Kevin Martin shouldering some of the scoring, Turner might be a nice fit for them on the offensive end. The Grizzlies are another team who, while a step ahead of the Timberwolves in the Championship chase, could use some solidification on the wing, and Turner could provide some scoring from this spot.
Other teams that could potentially benefit from Turner’s talent include Portland, Sacramento, Denver, and Chicago. The Bulls for one, have long been looking for some scoring to supplement Derrick Rose, and Turner’s insertion into their starting lineup would allow Jimmy Butler to provide energy off of the bench, while greatly enhancing the depth of the squad.
The addition of a talent like Evan Turner should be intriguing to several teams around the association, but the way he operates most effectively offensively must be taken into account. At this point in his career, Turner likes to create for himself, but has not shown the ability to be a number one offensive option. However, he could be a good fit in certain situations, and if the Sixers find a suitor that wants to seize his skill set, it could be beneficial for both sides.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain is a scribe for Philadunkia.
You can follow him on Twitter @therealmikekb.
You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.com.