No. 11 for the Celtics, Evan Turner, played every game in the 2014-15 season and finished the season averaging 9.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and a career high 5.5 assists per game. Along with Brandon Bass and Tyler Zeller, he shared the iron man honors playing in all 82 games for the Celtics. This was despite the C's having a revolving door policy during the season. Over half their squad was swapped out as the Celtics tried to improve the long-term prospects of the organization.
In the aftermath of trades and injuries, Turner was the player that stepped up most for the C's. This was after he played in a marginalized role on the Pacer bench at the end of the previous season. Before that, he did not realize his potential on the 76er's team that drafted him No. 2 in the 2010 draft, and which he played the greater part of four seasons.
Nevertheless, in his first season with the Celtics, one can argue that Turner became the most under-rated player on the surprising 2014-15 playoff Celtics.
When Rajon Rondo and Marcus Smart were out with prolonged injuries in early September, Evan Turner entered the starting line-up and didn't disappoint, leading the Celtics to a Nov 8th win against the Bulls with 19 points. Thereafter, he only delivered what was asked of him.
In terms of totals for the Celtics, he ended up being 4th in scoring, and was 2nd in steals (he had 83 steals, one more than Avery Bradley). He ran away with assist honors for the team with 449. He was also 3rd in rebounds, with the most defensive rebounds on the squad . . . more defensive rebounds than any of the C's bigs!
He had as many triple-doubles as LeBron James (3) this past season, and ended up being an amazing closer for the Celtics - he either extended the game or won the game for the Celtics with a last second shot in four games this season.
According to 82games.com, in the clutch (5 minutes left in games within 5 points), Turner and Jared Sullinger were the only Celtics with a positive plus-minus, i.e., good things happened when Turner was on the floor during close games. Proof of Turner as a clutch distributor: he was 7th in the league with 9.9 assists per 48 minutes during clutch time.
Now the down-side on this "interview". . . He "lead" the team in TOs with 198 on the season, bu had less TO's per game than Rondo and IT, so he has that going for him. . . . Despite the number of game-winning threes, he's also has been a so-so shooter during his NBA stead, only hitting 28% from three this season . . . but oh those game winners. . . . You have to put him in the category of a "clutch" player without question based on his Boston resume .
In Turner's honor, here's a collection of Turner's last minute heroics this past season:
vs the Wizards on Dec 8, 2014
C's needed a three to force overtime, and after a tip for an offensive rebound, Turner gets the ball in the corner and connects. Unfortunately he couldn't repeat the feat in the 2nd OT, and the C's lost this one.
vs. Blazers on Jan 22, 2015
C's need a three to win, after a scramble pass from Sullinger . . . while on the floor, Turner buries the three from the corner.
vs. Hawks on Feb 11, 2015
The Celtics are down by 1 and Turner drives the lane and connects on a floater for the win.
In Turner's four playoff games against the Cavs, he equaled his playoff production in 12 games with the Pacers last year. In the 1st round series against the Cavs, Turner lead the C's in rebounding, which is a pretty sad stat . . . imagine if they would have grabbed some of those defensive rebounds from Tristan Thompson - the C's would have played at least one more game in the Garden!
Here's hoping that Evan Turner continues his success with the Celtics into the 2015-16 and beyond. He truly is a special player that belongs on what the Celtics are trying to achieve - No. 18.