Over the past two seasons, Evan Turner has turned himself into one of the Celtics' most valuable players, especially in terms of playmaking and being a spark plug off the bench. All that has transformed Turner into being a leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year with the success that the Celts are having as a team.
A few weeks ago, we gave the numbers behind Turner's case for being a contender for the Sixth Man Award. He's continued to play well and with the season close to an end, he still stands as one of the best candidates for the award. This past Thursday, Turner expressed his thoughts on being in contention for Sixth Man of the Year. Via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:
"I try my best to be efficient and play the right way,” he said. “Do as coach asks and just play hard. I think the sixth man award is for high-scoring guys off the bench. The league is filled with scorers, guys who can do one trick. To a certain extent, people really don’t comprehend what assists, rebounds mean over a period of time or anything like that.”
Turner added that he also thinks some people don't think he's been consistent enough his season:
“Some people might say, ‘Hey, he struggles with this.’ I’m like, ‘I’m close to a triple-double every night,’ ” Turner said. “At the end of the day you can’t argue with people that don’t know. The fact that it’s March and we’re talking about sixth man, I’m probably two months too late. So in general it really doesn’t mean much to me, because I’m going to try to play the right way.”
After Friday nights loss to the Houston Rockets, Turner again commented on his consideration. Via Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com:
"No, for sure, [the Sixth Man award is] for high-scoring guys off the bench. Like my dude Lou [Williams], he scored great last year. [Boston teammate] Isaiah [Thomas] was just in tune with that. Along those lines, Jamal Crawford won it twice.
"It would be cool [to be considered], definitely, but I’m just rocking out. I rock out. I think if you win and things like that, it definitely helps out, too. Along with a unit’s success, you get individual notice as well."
Brad Stevens also chimed on how important Turner has been to the teams' success all season long:
"He’s a jack of all trades," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "He does a lot of good things for our team, and the other thing is that he really loves the game. I really appreciate that about him. I appreciate a guy that every single game, practice or game, is really into improving, really into watching it, talking about it. It’s just important to him. He’s done a great job and I’m happy for him. We really value what he brings to the table."
For Turner, he's averaging 10 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.5 apg, all in 27 minutes a game coming off the bench. For the Celtics, he's the second most important playmaker and ball handler on the team next to Isaiah Thomas. As the leader of the 2nd unit, he's arguably one of the 5 most valuable players on the team. With Jae Crowder now out for at least a week with an ankle sprain, Turner is going to have to step up even more to the plate to fill in the void for Crowder. Not only should an increase in playing time cause Turner to play better but it should also boost his stats to look a little more appealing to the basketball eyes.
Turner does have a point when he mentions that many Sixth Man of the Year Award winners have been scorers in the past. If we look at the past winners, that claim serves to be true:
2015- Louis Williams
2014- Jamal Crawford
2013- JR Smith
2012- James Harden
2011- Lamar Odom
2010- Jamal Crawford
2009- Jason Terry
Right now, the main contenders for Sixth Man of the Year are Andre Iguodala, Jamal Crawford, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, and Will Barton among others. Turner has been also vaulted into the conversation given how well the Celtics have played this year. The competition is tough and it's hard to see Turner running away with the award but should he take his game to the next level while Crowder is gone, maybe he can shift some votes his way.
Image Credit: USA Today Images
Follow Kevin Yazhari on Twitter @KevKevYazhari Kevin Yazhari 3/13/2016 07:02:00 PM Tweet Edit