Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
What do you expect out of the Pacers with Evan Turner in the rotation?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: I expect more of what we saw in his Pacers’ debut against the Lakers (13 points, six rebounds, two assists). The change in atmosphere will mean everything to Turner, from the smell of victory to the maturity and camaraderie in that locker room. He has enough time to carve out his niche as a sixth man, and he’s livelier than Danny Granger as far as helping Indiana defensively out on the wing. Terrific pick-up.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: More of the same … and more. He fits nicely as a wing scorer into the offensive hole that’s been evident in the Pacers’ second team. Larry Bird is taking no chances and patching every potential crack.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Considering the Pacers are already winning at a 76-percent clip, it’s not like you’re going to see them just go gangbusters, at least no more than they already have. They’ll integrate Evan Turner into the rotation and get a feel for how he can best enhance their situation as a needed additional ballhandler to help out George Hill and Lance Stephenson, and Turner will need some time to get acclimated to the Pacers’ defense. All in all, this should be a move that really shines once the postseason starts.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: I expect him to deliver a scoring punch off the bench, and any scoring is a welcome addition to a team around the middle of the pack in offensive rating. Not a lift close to his 17 points a game with the 76ers, and certainly not in a featured role with Paul George and Lance Stephenson on the roster, but enough to give the second unit a boost in the way Danny Granger could not. That will make it a good trade for Indy.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: The Pacers need an offensive boost on their second unit, and that’s exactly what Turner should provide. It’s just a question of how much he moves the needle. Though they’re a below-average offensive team, the Pacers are already the best team in the league (in terms of both record and point differential) overall. That second-unit success will come down to chemistry between Turner and Lance Stephenson. It helps to have an additional ballhandler out there, but not if either of those guys dribbles too much.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: I expect the same things out of the Pacers with Evan Turner that I did without Evan Turner, a deep playoff run that reaches at least the Eastern Conference finals and perhaps beyond. No disrespect to Turner, but he’s not a significant upgrade over a healthy and motivated Danny Granger. He is, as one general manager told me on trade deadline day, “a ball stopper who can’t shoot.” He’s also an energetic swingman capable of handling the ball and facilitating the offense in spots and a physical and willing wing defender. So I’m not suggesting he doesn’t help the Pacers’ cause. I just don’t think his acquisition pushes them over the proverbial top. The more intriguing question in my mind is what will Granger bring to his next stop, provided he joins up with a contender?
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball blog: Well, I don’t think the Pacers will be any worse with Turner in the rotation. I think when Turner is on the floor, he gives them more flexibility, allows them to switch a little more defensively, and even will help create for other players. He should also help them take care of the ball more than their second team did last season. He doesn’t improve their long-range shooting, but maybe his presence and driving ability will give other guys even more room to get shots off.
Simon Legg, NBA Australia: I don’t think it changes them a great deal. Their starting group will still play the bulk of the minutes in meaningful matches. I’m more concerned about Evan Turner and what it means for him. I wrote here that I wasn’t a fan of the trade given the Pacers need to acquire a spot-up shooter, not a ball-dominant player with a propensity for inefficient shots off the dribble.
Karan Madhok, NBA India: Turner was definitely the most important pickup of the trade deadline. I think he adds great depth to their bench and instantly becomes a stable safety blanket for the occasional moments when Lance Stephenson’s play turns erratic or inefficient. Plus, he becomes yet another player to throw against Dwyane Wade as the Pacers aim to dethrone Miami in the East.