The 2012 NBA Playoffs justified Evan Turner's bust status for many. His PER was 9.3. His true shooting percentage was .414. He shot 36 percent from the floor. His offensive output was downright offensive, across the board. However; I came away from the Playoffs feeling differently, for reasons I described last week:
The Sixers may not play in enough Playoff games for Turner's percentages to improve, but I will say, if the new-found approach from Turner - and Jrue Holdiay - carry over to next year's regular season, it may indicate future success.
Without re-hashing all the details – despite Evan Turner's lack of efficiency – he played a much more aggressive game in the post-season, which in theory, should result in future success. Part of the reason he's been so inefficient during his career is lack of rim-attacking, which results in efficient points, like dunks, layups and free throws. That changed in the Playoffs:
Turner's previously anemic free throw rate (0.18) has sky-rocketed to 0.34, and his rim shot/long two ratio has more-than-doubled, to 1.42. He's been significantly more aggressive attacking the basket.
I went on to compare Turner's low shooting percentages to the baseball stat, BABIP, blah, blah, blah. Not much has changed since last week, but I want to hammer home a couple of points before I put this one to bed.
1. If Evan Turner shot his regular season averages on all jump shots during the Playoffs (3-9 feet, 10-15 feet, 16-23 feet, threes), his shooting percentage would've increased from 36 percent to 45 percent* That's a big difference. The disappearing act of Turner's already-mediocre jump shot is probably more of a luck/small sample size issue than anything else.
2. Taking it a step further, if Turner shot his averages from everywhere on the floor – rim included – his field goal percentage would've increased from 36 to 48 percent*, and his true shooting percentage would have increased from .414 to .524* Keep in mind, altering his 'at rim' percentages are much less plausible than jump shot percentages, because the more aggressive Turner became, the more difficult his shot attempts at the rim became – resulting in lower percentage attempts. Also, the Bulls and Celtics are the two best teams in the NBA in allowing a below average finishing percentage. But the bottom line is, If Turner's percentages from the regular season carried over, even just a little, to the post-season, then – combined with Turner's new-found rim-attacking – everyone would think much differently of the Villain's post-season performance.
There's no doubt that Turner has much work to do in the off-season. His jumper is still a work in progress, and until he adopts a serviceable three-point shot, he's going to remain a relatively inefficient shooting guard. However; unlike many, I was encouraged by what I saw from him in the Playoffs. If he continues to attack the rim, instead of settling for jump shots, he's one thousand percent more likely to reach his offensive potential.
*Game 7 not included