Portland Trail-Blazers SG Evan Turner has found himself at the lowest point of his career. From being selected second-overall, Turner hasn’t been able to shine from an “overwhelmingly stacked” 2011 NBA Draft.
On a side note, that same draft might fall in line as the “most under-appreciated” in our league’s vast history. We look at notable active NBA-stars such as John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Hassan Whiteside, and Eric Bledsoe, who have all composed themselves into an incredible breed of young talent.
Evan was so coveted after completely mauling the stat-sheet at Ohio State. The former Buckeye averaged 20.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 6.0 APG, in 35.7 minutes. As far as his “journey” to develop in the NBA, he hasn’t lived up to those early expectations.
However, he still remains as one of the league’s best reserves:
- 10.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.8 SPG, 43% FG, 28% 3PT.
- 19.1 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.6 SPG Per 100 Possessions.
After spending his first three-and-a-half seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Turner was able to translate and display that insticintive versatility. Through 54 games in the 2013-14 season, he was averaging 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, on about 43% shooting from the field. With the ability to see the court, as well as rebounding and finishing, anyone would’ve been persuaded that he’d be a multiple-time All-Star.
The potential was certainly there — at least for the time being.
Turner was eventually traded from Philadelphia to the Indiana Pacers, who were on their way to becoming “elite” postseason contenders — for Lebron James and the defending champion Miami Heat. The Heat ultimately defeated Indiana in seven-games of the Eastern Conference Finals. Turner served as a backup to a high-achieving Lance Stephenson, but never found a consistent role for bigger minutes.
Even worse, he even reportedly got into a heated exchange with Stephenson during practice:
Pacers G Lance Stephenson confirms that he & Evan Turner got into scuffle before Game 1 of series vs Hawks, but denies punches were thrown.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 23, 2014
After his half-season stint with the Pacers, Turner continued to search for his niche. He then signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal with another rising Eastern Conference team — the Boston Celtics. What made him so useful in Brad Stevens’ rotation, was his ability to play PG through SF. After averaging 5.5 assists, along with 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds, Turner provided a much-needed spark off the bench, whether it was for Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, or even Jae Crowder.
Although he recorded three triple-doubles in the regular season, Turner’s best performance came in game-three of the opening round — against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He posted 19 points on 8-15 shooting, eight rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. The Celtics were swept in that round of course, but it never stopped Turner from contributing.
After two-seasons with Boston, Turner moved-on once again. This time, it was with a team that was loaded with even more younger and superior back-court talent. The Portland Trail-Blazers signed Turner to a four-year deal worth $70 million.
It’s gotten even worse for Turner, as he’s currently suffering a fractured hand from Tuesday’s win over Dallas. He’s expected to miss 5-6 weeks:
.@thekidet is expected to be out 5-6 weeks with a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand.
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 8, 2017
There’s no doubt that Portland overpaid Turner by a great margin, but we forget how sporadic of a player he is. The lack of hitting a consistent jumper limits him from becoming one of the NBA’s brightest stars. It’s no surprise that Turner’s knock on his overall game before he even came into the league — was his outside. He only connects on an abdysmal 30% from three throughout his six-seasons. From sixteen-feet out, it’s just at 39%.
As someone who’s not as quick as most Point Guards or Shooting Guards, as well as too-undersized to defend the league’s best Small Forwards, time is running out.
Even at twenty-eight years of age, it might not be “too late” for Turner to become what everyone once thought he’d be. He still remains as an asset that many teams would want for them to win. And even though not a starter, he’s more than capable of delivering in the right situation.