The Risk in Evan Turner

Social media can be a funny thing. The ebbs and flows are predictable. There's the initial shock of an announcement, then the overreaction to the news, the reaction to the overreaction, and then a landing spot. Basically, we're extras in a 'Titantic' like-movie. 'The boats sinking, everyone to this side!', 'Now this side is sinking, get back to the other side!'

The Evan Turner signing was no exception. Breaking news followed by an outcry of people asking how the Boston Celtics could sign such a horrific basketball player, followed by a wave of Turner backers, and then over time, people essentially settling on 'Turner is a nice low risk option, on a short term contract.'

Cool, cool, cool. Glad we got that over with. But if you don't mind, I'd like to take another look.

By this point, you've probably read the basic overview of Evan Turner. Drafted with the #2 pick in 2010, Turner fluctuated between being a disappointment and good, if not underwhelming with the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to the Indiana Pacers where he was nothing short of a disaster.

He's a high volume, though not particularly efficient shooter, whose passion for taking inefficient midrange shots is, as Karl Welzein would say "kinda concerning."

While his defense was undeniably awful last season (this post by the Liberty Ballers does a a great job showing how Harden-ly terrible he was), throughout his career he's been mostly average to slightly below. Though I guess that's like getting excited that a stock went from 'Sell' to 'Don't Buy.'

On the plus side, Turner does have decent size, rebounds exceptionally well for a wing, and is a pretty good secondary playmaker (something the Celtics needed terribly) capable of creating a shot himself, as well as his teammates. Most importantly, he's only 25 years old, and also started slow at Ohio State before transforming himself into arguably the nation's top player.

Hence, the new-narrative. Despite his flaws, Turner is a decent rotational player today who could become a lot more. Since the Boston Celtics aren't competing for any titles, it makes sense to roll the dice on this kid. Give him a new coach, some playing time, and hope that it results in him becoming an asset. The ole' Jordan Crawford routine.

The problem is the effects his playing time will have. As of this moment, the Celtics have a well documented plethora of (mostly underwhelming) wings - Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Marcus Thornton, James Young, Gerald Wallace, Chris Johnson, Chris Babb and now Evan Turner.

First the easy stuff; Babb and Johnson will be cut, and Gerald Wallace will see a decrease in his minutes, and will likely be relegated to the power forward position. Babb and Johnson might be tough for some to swallow, but Turner is undeniably a massive upgrade over both. And On the other hand, and I might be going out on a whim in saying this, but I don't foresee too many people being upset to see Wallace's minutes reduced. Of course, outside of Gerald Wallace, who will most definitely be angry about that, and just might vocalize his displeasure.

That leaves Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley Jeff Green, Marcus Thornton, James Young and Evan Turner fighting for 96 available minutes.

There in lies my issue. I don't know how Turner can get the kind of minutes needed to dramatically improve his stock, and I could see how giving him minutes could negatively effect other players.

Here's last year's numbers when it comes to minutes per game played by our expected starting 1-3 (I'm including Rondo, because Turner's signing will likely force Marcus Smart to find his minutes at the backup point)

Rajon Rondo (33.3) / Leaving 14.7 for backup/s
Avery Bradley (30.9) / Leaving 17.1 for backup/s
Jeff Green (34.2) / Leaving 13.8 for backup/s

Even if you dial those minutes per game averages back a decent amount (and I'm not suggesting that's a good idea), that doesn't leave much time for the reserves. Likely leading to James Young and Phil Pressey spending long-stints in Maine next season. You can take that as you will, as the jury is still out on how much a player can benefit from the D-League. I personally, am inclined to believe there is more to learn while playing in the big-league. But I'm also a blogger, not a professional athlete or coach, so take that for what it is.

Assuming Young and Pressey are out of the rotation, there's still not that many minutes to go around. Here's my best guess of what the rotation would look like:

Rajon Rondo (35) / Marcus Smart (13)
Avery Bradley (30) / Marcus Thornton (15) / Marcus Smart (3)
Jeff Green (30) / Evan Turner (18) 

Bringing me back to my thesis; not only is eighteen minutes probably not enough to dramatically improve Evan Turners stock, it's also negatively impacting those around him. It's cutting into the available minutes for Marcus Thornton - whose a better player, and probably more 'flippable' - and limiting the amount of time Marcus Smart and Rajon Rondo can share the court. And while many doubt Smart and Rondo's ability to play together, it's at least worth the experiment.

Signing might've been a low-risk situation for Evan Turner, but there's more risk for the Celtics than what lies on the surface.