Evan Turner is making a run at the sixth man of the year award for the Celtics with his stellar play on both ends of the court. The last four winners of the award James Harden, JR Smith, Jamal Crawford, and Louis Williams all of them provided a scoring punch off the bench for their teams. Turner’s name has not been coming up as a contender for the award because he does not put up flashy scoring numbers like those guys. He should be considered though for all the other things he does on the court that do not show up in the box scores but has lead to wins.
NBA.com keeps a stat called player impact estimate (PIE) which is defined as an estimate for a player’s contribution to a team’s game often given out as a percentage. Turner is third on the Celtics with a 12.1% PIE, which is nearly three points higher than Jamal Crawford who is a popular choice for the award. Turner’s PIE is higher because the contributions he brings to the defensive end outweigh Crawford’s higher scoring average. In the play below, Turner jumps the passing lane and leads the fast break before finding Isaiah Thomas for a lay up in their big win versus the Warriors.
Although he comes off the bench Turner often finds himself on the court during crunch time of a game. He delivered for the Celtics in their game against the Warriors with a huge post up play on one possession and then cutting to the open spot to hit a jumper off a Marcus Smart post up.
When the Celtics five man lineups are broken down by plus/minus over a 100 possessions, Turner is on seven of the top ten lineups including their top one at plus 26.2. The following play is the type of intangible plays that the former 2nd pick makes that should put him in the running for sixth man of the year. He deflects the pass and where most players would let the ball careen out of bounds, Turner chases it down and saves the ball from going out of bounds which starts a fast break for the Celtics while on their way to a one point victory over the Knicks.
Tuner’s play has not gone unnoticed to many front offices with Chris Mannix at CSSNE.com saying, “I think the market for Evan Turner is robust.” Mannix also reported that he expects the Knicks to be one of the teams bidding for his services this offseason.
The fact is, Turner brings intangibles to the court than many of the contenders for the sixth man of the year award do not. He plays on both ends of the court and makes up for his offensive deficiencies with great hustle plays. Although it is very unlikely that he’ll win the award, there is a case to be made that he should at the very least be considered for it.
- The Chirs Mannix quote came from this article. http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25525871/report-knicks-will-be-in-heavy-pursuit-of-evan-turner-this-summer