Miami didn’t make the move. Indiana did. One of those teams is probably happier than the other right now.
According to the Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard, the Sixers offered Evan Turner to the Heat in exchange for Udonis Haslem. The Heat passed, even though Haslem wasn’t playing at the time.
Haslem is playing now. Last Friday, the Heat beat the Pacers in an important battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoff push. Haslem had a game-high nine rebounds. Turner was less effective for the Pacers. He played 16 minutes and made 1 of 5 attempts from the field.
It’s no secret that the Sixers shopped Turner to lots and lots (and lots and lots) of teams at the deadline. The Heat, like so many others, didn’t go for it. The Pacers did. Since making the move, the Pacers are 13-13 with Turner (4-6 in their last 10). Larry Bird has taken a lot of shots in his life. That wasn’t one of his best.
At the time, some people questioned the move or wrongly believed Sam Hinkie could and should have gotten more for Turner than Danny Granger and a second-round pick. In retrospect, getting even that much for Turner was a sly bit of burglary.
Any hopes Turner had of landing a big-money contract with his next deal have all but evaporated. (Turner will be a restricted free agent if Indiana extends a qualifying offer this offseason. If not and the Pacers let him walk, he’ll be unrestricted.) It’s hard to imagine a team -- be it the Pacers or another franchise -- that would be willing to put Turner’s name on a fat check with lots of zeros after the way he’s played in Indiana.
In 26 games with the Pacers, Turner has averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 20.7 minutes of work. He’s had just 2.2 assists to 1.2 turnovers per game, which made some believe that teammate Roy Hibbert might have been talking about Turner when he recently said the Pacers have “some selfish dudes.”
Turner, who’s never been a great shooter, especially from distance, has also shot poorly in Indiana. He’s making 38.5 percent of his two-point field goals. And while he’s shooting 47.8 percent from three, that only works out to 0.4 makes on 0.9 three-point attempts per game. Indiana attempts the fifth-fewest threes per game. It isn’t part of the Pacers' offense. It isn’t part of Turner’s strength either -- which is why he recently hired a second shooting coach in four years for Turner. Herb Magee probably can’t wait to see how it works out.
“I got a lot more time (now),” Turner told Pacers.com about working on his shot. “In Philly, I was kind of always dead a little bit because I was playing 40 minutes a night. Now, I have more energy because of the change in system and stuff.”
Turner admitted that he’s struggled with catching and shooting in one motion. While he was in Philly, he hit only 28.8 percent of his shots from deep (on 2.4 attempts per game), and he made only 19 of 59 corner three-pointers. That’s not the free-agent audition reel he wanted to put together for a league that’s placed increasing importance on making three-pointers, especially from the corners.
While Turner’s minutes have dipped in Indiana, so has his overall game. His PER has dropped from 13.2 in Philly (which wasn’t great) to 8.9 (which is avert-your-eyes awful). And his true shooting percentage has fallen from 50.4 with the Sixers (again, not great) to 45 with the Pacers (again, don’t look directly at the number or your retina might detach). Oh, and his defense in Indiana has also been lacking.
It has not been a good run for Turner. He will be in the NBA next year, with the Pacers or some other squad, but he will not command the giant contract he probably wanted. The market simply isn’t there. He was the second overall pick, and then he was flipped for a second-round pick. If the trade deadline was today, it’s doubtful anyone would give up even that much for Turner.