The newly acquired Evan Turner has already started to make an impact to the Indiana Pacers’ game. Although he is now a reserve, playing mainly behind Lance Stephenson, Turner seems like he has already been acclimated to his new environment in Indiana and his has his coach, Frank Vogel and his teammates to thank for that.
In his first four games as a member of the Indiana Pacers, Evan Turner is showing pretty much what we all expected. He is a versatile guard with great finishing skills close to the basket and a great ability to create his own shot. The presences of Lance Stephenson and Paul George, together with a bunch of capable teammates seem to help Turner unfold his game in a complete scale. Now, he has more opportunities to find an open shot and work his magic in his comfort zones. After being the leading scorer in Philly, where he drew significant attention from opposing defenses, Turner will now have to get used to his new role, which is much smaller in Indiana. Apparently, he has no big issues adjusting to the new reality. On the contrary, he seems very satisfied with his role and the Pacers are also happy to see him quickly emerging as a solid contributor.
In these first four games as a Pacer, Evan Turner is averaging 11.5 points per contest, 4.8rebounds, 1.8 assists and 40.0 percent shooting from the floor. Whilst these numbers are much lower than the ones he used to average with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Pacers don’t actually need him to do much more. Since Paul George and Lance Stephenson, with the assistance of Roy Hibbert and David West, take care of the biggest chunk of the offensive load for Indiana, Frank Vogel would be satisfied to see Evan Turner chipping in some points from the bench. And that’s exactly what the 25-year old emerging star is currently doing. In fact, the Pacers’ main flaw during the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals was bench production. This year, however, the Pacers hope they have solved that issue and Evan Turner is yet another piece of the puzzle.
Thanks to his supreme scoring skills, Turner is a player who can also be trusted when the team needs him. He is a proven scorer and in a night where one of the Pacers’ stars has an off night, Turner can step up and provide solutions. A portion of his lethal scoring skills was showcased during the Pacers’ game against the Boston Celtics, a couple of days ago. Then, Evan Turner finished with 17 points on an 8-for-14 shooting from the floor.
The truth is that the versatile guard hasn’t yet fully adjusted to this new reality. There are sometimes when he just seems to be off his comfort zones. After all, Turner is a player who is used to have the ball in his hands and being the centerpiece of the offense. Now, he will have to learn how to be dangerous but also effective without the ball. Nonetheless, thankfully, he will still be a leader for the Indiana Pacers’ secondary unit. When Frank Vogel draws his starters off the court, Turner will have a main role in the team’s offensive system. Paul George will finally have the chance to rest a bit more for some stretches of the game, since now a reliable replacement will be on the court when he catches a breath.
On defense, Turner showed some signs of struggle, especially in his debut with the Pacers uniform. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t take long for him before he actually gets used to Indiana’s mentality and tough defensive system. The Pacers are one of the best defensive teams in the league and Turner will have to make sure he plays at the highest level on defense.
Frank Vogel chose to use Turner for big minutes in his first four games. Turner recorded two 26-minute performances in his first four games and he is averaging 23.0 minute per contest as a member of the Pacers.
Of course, one aspect of the game Turner is not very good at is three-point shooting. In fact, Turner is a 31.4 percent career shooter from long distance and that would be something Frank Vogel will have to address. Thankfully, the Pacers do have several capable shooters from beyond the arc, who can fill in for Turner’s lack of productivity from long distance. On the other hand, Evan Turner is very productive from mid and close range and he has proven this exact fact during this first games with Indiana. In fact, as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, Turner was most efficient from mid-range.
Of course, the biggest need the Pacers have this season is some help during the playoffs. That’s what the entire Pacers nation is waiting for, the moment when they will have the chance to beat the Miami Heat. After a devastating elimination last year in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers want to take revenge. They badly want to eliminate the Heat and get the ticket to the NBA Finals. That’s why they have been fighting for the No.1 overall seed in the East and that’s the main reason they performed all those significant moves and additions. So Evan Turner will need to continue and contribute with solid numbers in the postseason.
The truth is that Turner has some playoff experience. During 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 the Sixers did make the playoffs and Turner had a big role in the team’s push for a good course. Turner averages 10.3 points, two assists and 6.7 rebounds in the playoffs, to go along with 38.0 percent shooting from the field. That’s why he is expected to be a factor in the Pacers’ effort to beat LeBron James and his company this season. Hopefully he can play up to the expectations.