Evan Turner‘s insertion into the starting lineup was, for many, a long time coming. For others, it looked like a desperation move that had no root in performance. Whatever the reasoning or rationale, it has worked so far. And not for the reasons I would think it can work.
When the starting lineup for the Celtics game was announced, my first thought was “offensive trainwreck”. The Sixers boasted a lineup with the following scoring averages as of today, because going back in time is difficult:
Yes, our starting five for that game averages under 50 points combined. Turner’s added a point to his average in the last 3 games (which shows how good he’s been), so at the time it was even worse. Yet, in the last three games – 3 of the 4 featuring a Turner start – we’ve scored over 100 points. This despite not have a true “floor spacer” ala Jodie Meeks.
As I wrote on my very first post on this site, his floor spacing had a real effect on the team’s success last year. This year? The Sixers have been better off without Jodie playing, according to 82games.com (see the line “Net Points per 100 Possessions”). They’re even scoring more with him on the bench – while outscoring opponents on the whole, the Sixers have been better without Jodie. Last year, it was the opposite. I don’t know exactly why that’s changed, but it has, which is enough reason for a change.
So maybe the team’s success isn’t a surprise after all. But I was right to doubt the offense – even with the last three games, the Sixers have been a higher scoring team without Turner than with him. Meanwhile, in his first start, Turner went 1-12. My fears were grounded in fact. I thought Turner could have flashes, but I thought him to be a disappointment – complete with a Twitter diatribe – that needed to prove something.
He proved me wrong for now, however. And I hope the offensive onslaught continues, because the Sixers sorely need it.