All it will take for Philly to win tonight is a cordial introduction from head coach Doug Collins.
“The Bench, meet Evan Turner. Evan, meet The Bench.”
In a series that has been a fun chess match between two of the league’s top coaches, Collins’ insistence on sticking with the struggling second year player is becoming indefensible. Turner has shown brightly in a few key moments, but overall he’s been awful.
Currently, Turner’s 9.97 playoff PER ranks 114th amongst players who’ve seen a postseason minute.
That’s out of 155 players who have seen the court in the postseason. This would be fine if he were one of the human victory cigars at the end of the bench, but Turner is playing 34.3 minutes per game in the postseason.
Turner’s shooting 30.4 percent from the floor this series while also managing more turnovers (2.5) than assists (2.0). On top of that, his usage rate is at an even 20.0. Or in other words, he uses more possessions than Indiana’s All-Star big man, Roy Hibbert, did during the regular season.
Sure, sometimes numbers don’t tell the story. PER is a widely accepted as a solid tool to measure a player’s overall impact, but it doesn’t factor in his defense. However, in this series, Turner’s defense hasn’t really been a factor. He has spent the majority of his marking Rajon Rondo and hasn’t exactly slowed him down. Rondo’s numbers this series: 14.8 ppg, 14.8 apg, 7.3 rpg on 45.6 percent field goals.
He isn’t winning the +/- battle either. According to NBA.com’s nifty stats site, one of Philly’s worst lineups the past four games has included Turner and registered a disturbing -39.8 over 34 minutes. One of Philly’s best? As you’ve probably guessed give the tone of this post, a lineup sans Turner that is +25.1 in 17 minutes (For those curious, that lineup is Iguodala-Williams-Holiday-Allen-Young). Granted this is small sample size conjecture at its finest, but still paints a pretty damning picture.
The talk of pick-and-pop coverage, defensive rotations, and the Celtics injuries is dominating the headlines before Game 5. Yet the key to this series may simply be whether Collins decides to play one player far less and let his other productive players, like Jrue Holiday and Thad Young, play, and do, far more. So Sixers fans, if you want your team to win, hope Evan Turner and the bench become close friends sooner rather than later.