I read Jordan's most recent posting about how Evan Turner is showing improvement during the playoffs with great interest. Frankly, I haven't seen it, other than the first couple of games in Chicago. But I trust our bloglords to have a deeper statistically-based understanding of things, and they generally make sense.
As our regulars know, I am a huge Evan Turner fan. I love his all-around game, his humble attitude, his increasing fire on the court, and his potential to be a really interesting contributor. He has certainly shown real flashes of it this season, as his minutes normalized toward the end, and as his role solidified. I still believe he's going to be a significant player in this league.
That being said, I am finding our rabid defense of his play this postseason a bit baffling, and I disagree with Jordan's analysis. Why? Jordan says it himself:
...from a pure numbers standpoint, his production has been downright awful.
24 guards have played at least 30 minutes per game in these Playoffs. Only two – Ramon Sessions and J.R. Smith – have a lower PER than Evan Turner (10.0), and J.R. Smith is the only player with a lower true shooting percentage. From a conventional numbers standpoint, only Smith and Jason Kidd have a lower field goal percentage than Turner, and Turner is the only qualified guard without a made three-pointer. Points per game: Turner ranks 21st of 24.
I'm seeing the same things Jordan is. I think Turner's more aggressive approach will eventually pay dividends in future seasons. But production is production, and lack of production is lack of production, and Turner has in no way been productive, certainly not on the offensive end, where he has been downright offensive. He's not scoring, what little scoring he's done has been horrifically inefficient, and he's been a turnover factory.
I think it's OK to love Evan Turner and still recognize that he's been miserable this postseason. Of course, pretty much every player on the Sixers' roster has flirted with miserable this postseason in terms of individual performances (except maybe Lavoy Allen, who has shined, mostly because he's in comparison with non-existent Elton Brand and actively-playing-for-the-other-team Spencer Hawes). We all desperately want Turner to be great, to justify his lofty draft position. I believe he's made some real progress this season, to the point where I don't think anyone really believes he's a BUST!!!!! anymore. He's my second-favorite player on the team, after 'Dre. But my dude's been bad this postseason for the most part, and it's OK to admit that.
This postseason has gone from weird to downright baffling and bizarre. I still want them to make the Finals, though, just to shut everyone up. Especially the douchenugget national 'heads who refuse to give the Sixers the tiniest bit of credit for beating either the Bulls (still a super-top defensive team without Rose or Noah, and probably still more talented than the Sixers) or having a tied series with the Celtics (always a favorite of the DN'Hs, not to mention a Der Stern darling).
I have been a fan of this team since 1976, and I will always be a fan of this team, even if they re-sign Spencer Hawes to a max deal (although I reserve the right to complain about it incessantly if they do). But it's OK to love your team, even to love your players, and still think they're playing like crap right now.
Now get the hell off my lawn, dammit, before I call the cops!!!
Love and kisses,