Atlanta Hawks: Evan Turner is Good Fit as Backup Point Guard

Evan Turner Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Evan Turner Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A quick look at how Evan Turner might fit on the Atlanta Hawks next season.

Earlier this week, the Atlanta Hawks pulled off something of a shocking trade by sending longtime stalwart swingman Kent Bazemore to the Portland Trail Blazers in a straight swap for 30-year-old Evan Turner.

No other compensation was included from either side in the deal, and the salaries were close enough that the deal worked seamlessly.

Though this deal might seem like a needless one, reporting soon surfaced about Bazemore wanting a chance to play for a contender on the final year of his deal before he hits free agency again in the 2020 offseason and the Atlanta Hawks front office thinking that Turner could be a strong locker room presence for the team next season.

Looking at it statistically, there are a few reasons to believe that Turner might slide in perfectly into the Atlanta Hawks rotation in 2019-20, but there are also concerns.

First, the bad news: Turner is a sub-30 percent three-point shooter in his nine-year career and he almost completely eschewed triples last season with Portland – only putting up 0.7 attempts per game on an 11.7 percent attempt rate per Basketball Reference.

However, Turner does provide good size (6-foot-7, 220 pounds) as a backup point guard as well as the semblance of switchability, and he brings a few other swiss-army-knife skills that should serve as a replacement for the loss of the beloved Baze.

Turner is a capable and willing passer, as his 23.6 percent assist rate last season would entail, and he will have plenty of opportunities to show his assisting abilities backing up Trae Young.

For a guard, Turner is also a terrific rebounder. Per Cleaning the Glass, Turner was in the 96th percentile among guards in defensive rebounding and free throw defensive rebounding, while also planting himself in the 65th percentile in offensive rebounding and free throw offensive rebounding.

Perhaps Turner’s most notable offensive skill was his ability to get to the rim and finish fairly efficiently. Turner shot 62 percent at the rim, which was good enough for the 74th percentile among guards per Cleaning the Glass, and his 37 percent at-rim frequency was in the 77th percentile.

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While the loss of Bazemore will sting nostalgic fans, the Atlanta Hawks are clearly building towards an extremely bright future and Turner will help to bridge that gap next season.