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A is for above average: how Evan Turner is making "average" look good

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While Evan Turner may be a master of none, he's pretty good at this basketball thing.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The numbers weren't pretty for Evan Turner last season.  He had a negative +/- and shot under 43% for the season.  Despite that, he started 57 games for Brad Stevens and the Celtics and finished with three triple doubles and a handful of game winners.

And yeah, he's saddled now with this unfortunate nickname:

And this season has started a little rocky.  No longer in the starting lineup, Turner has struggled with his shot and his playing time has fluctuated.  However, he's still one of Boston's most versatile players:

Shoot.  Dribble.  Pass.  Defense.  That was all on display Friday night against the Wizards when Turner finished the night with a tidy 16 points, 2 assists, and 3 steals.  Here's a little of Mr. Average making it look easy:

turner to olynyk 1

This is Evan Turner doin' work, ladies and gentlemen.  One of the knocks on ET is that he dribbles too much and tries to do too much on his own, but that's just a matter of perspective.  The numbers to bear out his value necessarily, but last season, Stevens consistently went to him in the crunch.  The way I see it, he's keeping his dribble alive and constantly looking for options.

turner to olynyk 2

The play opens up with Turner passing the ball to Jonas Jerebko and setting a back screen on Nene for David Lee to cut to the lane.  It's a difficult angle for a pass, so JJ gives it back to Turner and camps out on the perimeter.

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It's now PnR time for Turner and Kelly Olynyk.

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The Wizards' scouting report on KO probably reads, "pick-and-pop big, rarely rolls to the rim, has fabulous hair."  Historically, that's all true, but after two seasons in the NBA and a successful stint this summer with Team Canada, Olynyk seems more aggressive with going to the rim and taking shots in general.

Even though Turner is the ballhandler, it's really Olynyk that reads the coverage here in the second quarter.  Jared Dudley blitzes on the screen so Kelly immediately flashes to the free throw line.

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Olynyk gives Turner a big target, but with both defenders on his hip, it's Evan's turn to R-and-R.  He's potentially got shooters on both wings and only Nene guarding the paint.

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This is Turner's sweet spot where he's such a difficult cover.  Most traditional point guards would not have driven the ball this deep, but at 6'7, Turner has so many options.  He's a master of the mid-range jumper and because of his height, he can make passes that smaller guards and forwards can't.

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He gets Nene to commit and delivers this awkward looking, high dribble hook pass to Olynyk for the easy lay up.

Make sure you check out today's other player profiles on Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger here on CelticsBlog.