In forty-five games, spread over three months, Evan Turner has gone from a possible savior, to a complete bust, to a slow starter, to a lost cause and finally a possible prospect in the (broken) hearts and (tortured) minds of the Philly faithful. Let's take a look at his progression to this point.
First, I thought maybe we'd break the season down into ten-game increments to see if there was a gradual progression, then I thought it would be good to add some more context. It was largely believed at the beginning of the season that Turner was being held back by Andre Iguodala in some way. Right or wrong, his turnaround was pinpointed to Iguodala's absence on the Ice Capades trip. So that'll be our first split. Early season in the chart below refers to the first 27 games of the season in which Turner appeared, up to and including the win at Denver. The second split, labeled "w/o AI9" is the 8 games Iguodala missed over that stretch. "Since" is the 8 games since Iguodala's return, beginning with the loss to Indiana. I chose to go with per-36-minute numbers because per-game numbers are more of a reflection of how many minutes a guy plays than how well he's playing. Take a look.
On the surface, the numbers look pretty similar, and make a lot of sense. He took more shots when Iguodala was out, his usage rate has dropped since his return. His rebounding has been very, very good throughout, but the best since Iguodala's return. The per-game numbers don't change a whole lot, but when you look at his true shooting percentage, the growth becomes clear. Turner is quietly turning into an efficient scorer, and he's doing it with Iguodala in the lineup. Now 53.2% isn't great, but it's good, and it's a far cry from the 44.9% it was over the first 27 games.
Doug Collins is giving Turner more and more responsibility and he's earning it. Along with the dramatic increase in TS%, Turner is making more plays for others, committing fewer personal fouls and most importantly, turning the ball over much less.
We've still got way too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions on Evan Turner, but it's hard not to like what we're seeing from him lately.