IS TURNER PLAYING BETTER???

It goes without saying that 2012-13 has been a major disappointment for the76ers.  Outside of the stellar play from Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday, not much has gone right for Doug Collins & Co. over the first 53 games of this season.

Since January 1st, the Sixers own a record of 7 wins and 15 losses.  As we all know, the team is currently stuck in a 5 game losing streak and has dropped 6-of-their-last-7.  Included in this most recent stretch of losing is a 19 point loss to Indiana, a 17-point L to the Clippers and a 114-90 beat down at the hands of the Miami Heat.  In short, it’s been ugly for the Sixers of late.

So if I told you we found a silver lining among all of that garbage would you believe me? 

Would you think I was totally crazy if I told that one of the few positives I could pull from watching the Sixers over the last six games was the play of Evan Turner?

You would be hard pressed to find a bigger Evan Turner critic then this scribe, so as I re-watched the recent string of Sixers games, I found it hard to believe that I was asking myself this question, “Is it possible that Evan Turner is playing better basketball?”

The “eye ball test” tells me that Turner may in fact be playing at an improved level and a after quick look at the basic stats from the last six games one could argue in favor of my suspicions.  However, if you dig a little deeper there is evidence that suggests Turner is playing at the same old disappointing level.

After the jump, I’ll provide you with a look at the facts and you can decide for yourself what is going on with Turner over the last six contests.

 

Again, I want to state for the record that I am not a big fan of Evan Turner’s game and that his play drives me absolutely crazy at times.  Still, when I started thinking back about the Sixers last 6 games and pondering who may have played well over that stretch, one name (besides Holiday) kept popping into my brain – Evan Turner. 

So I went to the DVR and checked the video evidence.  After watching the “tapes” it is possible that Evan Turner is playing…how should I say this?…less inconsistently.  IMO Turner certainly is scoring the ball better thanks to a more aggressive mindset on offense.  He also seems more decisive when he has the ball and is doing a better job of recognizing when he has a mismatch.  Most importantly (for me) in the last 6 games, Turner appears to less prone to pounding the ball into the floor until late in the shot clock.  He was certainly far from perfect (his defense is not good) over the last six games, but on tape he didn’t make me want to puke like he usually does.

After the video check, I dug into some stats to see what I could find.  Here’s what I have for you…

Over his last 6 games Turner is averaging 16.6 points; 6.1 boards and 3.8 assists per game. 

For comparisons sake his 2012-13 season averages are 14; 6.6 and 4.4 per night. 

In case you need a reminder, Turner’s depressing career numbers are 9; 5 and 3 per run. 

So over the last 6 games Turner is scoring at a nicely improved clip over his season average and he is obliterating his career scoring number.  The rebounding and assist numbers over this recent stretch have shown no significant swing in either direction.  These numbers would seem to support some of what I saw on the tapes.

Still, here is also a great deal of statistical evidence from the last six games which indicates that the video tape is deceiving me and in fact Turner’s play has not been so improved.

Turner is shooting 38.8% (40-103) during this recent period.  That’s below his season average of 42.5% as well as his career average of 43.2%.  Turner does own 3 games of 40%+ shooting over those 6 contests, but the 38.8% overall average is not good.

Of course we are all aware that Turner has been abysmal from deep in the last 6 games – 0-12.  Enough said.

Throw in the fact that Turner is hoisting up an unprecedented 17 FGAs a night of late (season avg. 13.3 / career avg. 9.3) and you have an inefficient scorer on your hands.

His TS% for the 6 game stretch is 44.05.  That number is off from his season average of 49.0 and the 47.5 he posted during the lockout shortened season last year.

Turner has also been good for 3.5 turnovers a game which is higher than his season average of 2.5 per game and well above his career average of 1.6 per.  A nearly 1:1 assist to turnover ratio is deplorable for an eighth grader let alone an NBA player.

Perhaps most importantly, the Sixers are 1-5 during the last six games…

Again, on tape Turner appears to be playing at an improved level over the last 6 games. 

However, the numbers indicate that idea is not necessarily true.

You have the evidence, so let’s hear what you have to say.   

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