If you’ve watched the ebb and flow of NBA trade rumors over the past few seasons, you’ll notice Evan Turner‘s name comes up quite often. This year is no different, plus there’s the added incentive of Turner’s expiring contract. The Philadelphia 76ers have been shopping him around and there’s some interest, but it’s confusing as to why they’re so motivated to get rid him.
As I mentioned, his contract is coming due. It makes sense that they’d try to trade him if they didn’t think they’d have a good chance at re-signing him. Still, it’s more than that. They’ve been unhappy with his game since he came out of Ohio State back in 2010. The guy who was a terrific scorer as a senior (20.4 points on 51.9 percent shooting) had turned into an inefficient shot-misser almost overnight.
Take a look at Turner’s career stats, but focus on the progression:
You can see that he’s been quite inconsistent but as his usage rate has increased (at 24.4 percent this season, a career high), he’s kept up with his production. Sure, his shooting numbers leave a lot to be desired but we also have to consider what he’s working with right now.
The 76ers are a train wreck defensively and are middle of the road on offense. They have a young and exciting point guard in Michael Carter-Williams, a solid forward in Thaddeus Young and a center who’s shooting 41.5 percent from the 3-point line. Still, do any of these players help Turner get open shots?
In college, Turner was able to create his own shot. Once he got to the professional level, he wasn’t able to do it with nearly as much success. He needs to play with teammates that are better at creating good, open looks. Imagine Turner playing in Golden State or San Antonio for a minute…he’d be regarded as highly as Kawhi Leonard (or that sort of player).
Instead, the offensive load has fallen on Turner’s shoulders. He is leading the Sixers in total scoring and guess what…despite his ghastly 110 defensive rating, he actually holds opposing small forwards to a 13.8 PER.
This feels like a clear-cut case of a player who needs a new home. The Sixers are lucky to have a player like Turner, who rebounds well for his size, is a good passer and can defend three positions. Instead, they can’t wait to get rid of him. I, for one, would love to see a good team that shares the ball take him off the Sixers hands.