When I first heard about the Evan Turner signing, a vague bewilderment fell over me. "Why do we need another shooting guard?" I thought. But the more I thought about it, Turner might be better suited to play more at small forward than off guard.
Maybe the Celtics can maximize his production by using him more in a "point forward" role that emphasizes on playmaking instead of shooting off the dribble.
In that context this deal might make a lot more sense. James Young is probably a year away from contributing and may be spending a lot of time in Maine with the Red Claws this year. Gerald Wallace is a solid (if not ideal) backup small forward, but his playing style lends itself to being on the shelf for long periods of time. This is why the Celtics played Chris Johnson a lot of minutes at the end of last year. Turner, for all his warts, is an upgrade on Johnson.
This also lends some depth to the position in the event that the Celtics find a trade they like for Jeff Green. Though if Turner is starting for the Celtics next year, ...well, let's just say it is going to be another long year.
On that note, I'll take this opportunity to point out that I'm not that big as fan of this signing as our friend Kevin O'Connor. Though I can see the rationale. He's a low risk (low cost), pretty-high upside player looking to make good on a career that was sidetracked last year.
He never emerged as a star in Philadelphia, though he was at least a decent contributor and did average 17 points and six rebounds per game in Brett Brown's high-paced system this year. But he badly struggled after being dealt to the Pacers in the middle of the season. His minutes dipped from 35 to 21 a game and so did his production, as he only averaged seven points per contest while shooting 41 percent from the field and playing poor defense. His ball-dominant style meshed horribly with Lance Stephenson, and their poor chemistry played at least a small part in Indiana's demise.
Listening to fans of the Sixers makes it clear that he was never really all that well liked in Philly either. His production was inefficient and streaky. Yes, some of that came with the high expectations of a guy picked 2nd overall. Still, it is troubling to hear fans at both his previous stops say "good riddance."
Of course all of that led to him being available to the Celtics at bargain basement prices. He'll have a new opportunity under a new coach (who did a remarkable job with Jordan Crawford and to a lesser degree Jerryd Bayless) and he's certainly motivated to get his career on the right path.
Turner played at Ohio State for Stevens’ former Butler boss, Thad Matta, and coaching appears to have played a major role in Turner’s decision. "There are teams that offered him one-year deals. There are teams that offered him multi-year deals," said Falk. "But I think the deal here is secondary to the environment. "Boston all along has been probably our No. 1 destination. I felt what Evan needed was to kind of replicate the relationship that he had with coach Brett Brown in Philadelphia. ... We were really looking mostly for an environment more than geography."
Maybe the change in scenery will do wonders for Evan Turner. Maybe.
The real good news is that Evan Turner can create his own opportunities to score, which is a skill that was severely lacking on last year's team. He'll have to do that coming off the bench, something he struggled with in Indy, but perhaps with a full training camp under Brad Stevens he'll understand his place in the greater scheme.
He's an imperfect piece in an imperfect puzzle of a roster, so oddly enough, it might just turn out to be a perfect fit. Or maybe Ainge will swap out half the pieces and things will make more sense later. Are we having fun yet?