“Evan Turner is playing much better because of __________,” is a story that’s been told, and told well, by a handful of smart basketball people this season. But it’s a half-truth. Today at Liberty Ballers, Derek Bodner did a nice job exposing the other half.
Despite his improved efficiency as a scorer, defensively, Turner has been abysmal for the Sixers. According to Bodner, ET has given up 60 3-point shots on the year (3.05 per 48 minutes) and is allowing opponents to shoot 46.9 percent from deep. These are the worst marks, by far, on a team that’s fielding historically bad 3-point defense–a pretty damning indictment of a player the Sixers seem to think they can trade for considerable value.
Obviously, there are some team personnel (and perhaps defensive philosophy) issues to take into account here, but Evan Turner’s teammates are playing with the same flawed personnel and philosophy, and Turner has been by far the worst in both of these by a large margin.
Over-helping, slow rotations, and entirely too much complaining to officials have all been huge contributing factors in Evan’s wretched defensive play.
And it doesn’t end there. Turner really hasn’t been much better on the other end. His shooting efficiency plummets when Hawes and MCW are off the court, and he’s been awful this month. Per Bodner:
In 9 December games, Turner is averaging only 15.2 points on 39.1% shooting from the field, an offensive rating of 90 and a true shooting percentage of 47.3% over that span. These numbers are well off from his November numbers (21.1 points, 46.1% from the field, offensive rating of 99 and true shooting percentage of 53.1%).
This isn’t the whole problem either. While Turner is, recent struggles aside, still posting a career-high true shooting percentage of 51.7, he’s declined in every other area. The once historically great rebounder (for a non-big) has a career low total rebounding percentage of 9.8 on the season, a career-high turnover percentage, and a block rate that has dipped to effectively 0. Basketball-Reference gives him a .024 ws48 on the season–the lowest mark of his career–and wins produced puts his wp48 at .014. This is less than half the production he offered in his dismal 2012-13 campaign. (The average ws48 and wp48 is .1.)
Basically, Evan Turner has gotten better at scoring, and much worse at everything else. It says quite a bit about the values of fans and analysts that this is viewed by most as an unqualified success.