How Evan Turner Fits with the Atlanta Hawks
What the Atlanta Hawks lose by trading Kent Bazemore for Evan Turner, is three-point shooting. Even in the worse season of his tenure in Atlanta from beyond the arch, Kent Bazemore’s 32 percent from downtown dwarfs the 21.2 percent that Turner shot from that range. Shooting from deep range, is by far the biggest weakness in Evan Turner’s game. That brings into question his fit as a wing with the Hawks, a team that typically desires great shooters at the position. Chris Kirchner of the Athletic helps answer that question, by telling us that Atlanta plans to use Evan Turner as a backup point guard:
The decision to use Evan Turner as the backup point guard, makes the purpose of this trade much clearer. He is at his highest level of effectiveness with the ball in his hands. Turner is an outstanding ball handler and has great vision as a passer. He does a great job at breaking down defenses and finding cutters going towards the basket, as well as hitting open spot up shooters. Having the ball in his hands, also helps mask his weakness of three-point shooting, as he’s very effective making mid range shots off of the bounce. Though Trae Young is obviously a better basketball player than Turner already, there are always nuances that a young playmaker can learn from a veteran. I have long believed that a veteran backup point guard was an important piece that the team needed to add, to help further the development of Trae Young and make a push for the playoffs. The acquisition of Evan Turner solves fills that veteran backup need. The following clip tweeted by the official NBA account, shows the terrific ball handling and vision that is a major part of Turner’s game.
More that just playmaking, Evan Turner brings versatility to the Atlanta Hawks. He has five career triple doubles, including two last season. The team can plug him into various lineups and play him at any position besides center. He has post up ability too, so it will be interesting to see how teams defend him at the point guard position. He can back down smaller guards and will make teams pay for sending help by finding the open man. When Turner isn’t facilitating, he is best served as the roll man in pick and roll sets, while surrounded by four shooters. From that position he can finish at the rim after the catch, or use his precision passing skills, to move the ball to someone with a better look. This keeps him from hindering spacing, as he would by spotting up while not being a threat to connect from long-range. In defense of Evan Turner and his lack of shooting, he should be commended for knowing his limitations. He attempted only 11.7 percent of his shots from downtown last season, while trying 88.3 percent of his shots from inside the arch. Even more noteworthy, is the fact that more of his shots came from within three feet of the basket at 30.5 percent, than any other distance on the court. Turner converted those attempts at a high rate of 65.9 percent.
Backtracking to the point of precision passing skills. The following tweet by the NBA, highlights a beautifully creative assist by Evan Turner on a broken play: