With a four-year, $70 million deal agreed upon with the Portland Trail Blazers, Evan Turner gets a $14 million annual raise over his last payday with Boston.
It’s a mad, mad, mad world!
The question is this: Is Turner worth the megabucks?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of this deal.
He’s a tough player who won’t back down from anybody.
He’s a unifying, entertaining force in the locker room. This is a quality that’s too often overlooked.
Turner is an above-average defender against opponents who are similar in size — 6’7”, 225 pounds.
He’s a willing and fairly accurate passer, even when he’s on the move.
Turner is an excellent rebounder at both ends of the game, averaging one get for every 5.7 minutes of playing time. This is a bit better than average for a small forward (his natural position), and absolutely terrific for a shooting guard.
Turner also has a nice low-post game — with some limitations.
While he can indeed score with his back to the basket, he has a poor handle in a crowd. That’s because his interior spins are sloppy and his dribble is too far away from his body.
Smaller quicker players can burn his defense, which is a significant reason why his daylight at the shooting-guard slot has to be carefully selected.
Turner’s biggest shortcoming is his erratic perimeter shooting. This will be especially troublesome with the Trail Blazers because both Damian Lillard and C. J. McCollum register most of their assists by driving into the paint, drawing defenses and then tossing kick-out passes to open teammates.
Yes, Turner did shoot 52.4 percent from beyond the arc over the last two months of the season. Still, his shot release features a stiffly snapping wrist and his season’s total from downtown was only 24.1 percent.
His streaky long-range shooting will further encourage defenses to gang up on Portland’s Gold Dust Twins when they penetrate into the paint. This increased traffic will likely increase the pair’s turnovers.
Furthermore, opponents will be more eager than ever before to double-team these two and leave Turner unattended beyond the arc.
Although Turner did occasionally play some point guard for the Celtics, he lacks the speed, quickness and tricky handle to be more than an emergency fill-in at that slot.
For sure, Turner is a valuable player — a 24-minute-per-game starter at small forward and a useful sub against certain opponents at the shooting-guard slot.
Even so, his humongous contract seems way out of line. But I guess that’s the new reality in the more-wonderful-than-ever world of the NBA. Marginal players getting starter’s money, mediocre players being recompensed as though they were All-Stars, and good players being paid as if they were locks to make the Hall of Fame.
It is indeed a mad, mad, mad world. Both on and off the court.