Will Evan Turner Trade Disrupt Indiana Pacers' Delicate Chemistry?

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Will Evan Turner Trade Disrupt Indiana Pacers' Delicate Chemistry?
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The old Shakespeare quote, "Parting is such sweet sorrow" could very easily be applied to Danny Granger and the Indiana Pacers.

In what was the only deadline-day deal that might be considered a blockbuster, Indiana agreed to trade the lifelong Pacer and a second-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen.

From Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and Grantland's Zach Lowe:

2013-14 is Granger's ninth season in the NBA, and he's spent all that time as a member of the Pacers. For years, he was the undisputed leader of the team, averaging 21.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game from 2007 to 2012.

In the 2008-09 season, Granger posted a career-best scoring average of 25.8, and was an Eastern Conference All-Star.

Three current Pacers starters (Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert) have never known life in the NBA without Granger as a teammate.

Add all that up, and you can see why this might be a tough loss for both Indiana fans and players.

As a "small-market team," the Pacers have built this roster largely through the draft and quiet personnel moves. The chemistry these players have developed has been brewing for years.

Now, all of a sudden, Granger is gone, and Turner is in.

This is the same Turner who's been playing for the 14th-place Sixers, taking 15.3 shots a game. The adjustment from no-lower-than No. 2 option (Michael Carter-Williams is shooting 15.5 times a game) to reserve wing will be a big one.

There simply won't be that many looks available to Turner in Indiana. And trying to force shots could be a wrench in the works of the offense.

On the other end, the chemistry may be even more important. The Pacers have the best defensive rating in the league and any great defense is the result of teamwork. Everyone has to be on the same page.

It might be a difficult page for Turner to find, as the Sixers have the NBA's 28th-ranked defense. Changing the habits fostered in that culture will be tough.

But it should be worth it. Despite the inevitable adjustment period, this deal is a statistical home run for the Pacers.

Granger's been dealing with injuries for years and his numbers reflect his struggles this season:


Danny Granger .359 .330 3.6 1.1 0.3 8.3
Evan Turner .428 .288 6.0 3.7 1.0 17.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2014.


He's been unable to get on track, and according to USA Today's Sam Amick, he recently said:

The left knee, the one I had problems with, it's continually getting better. But right now, there's a big mental road block, honestly, because I hadn't pushed off the thing the way I wanted to in the last year and a half. So coming back from that—even though it is stronger and it is healed—I've got to get over some mental hurdles.

It appears he never got over those mental hurdles. And you can't blame him. It's a tough thing to do. I tore my ACL just before my junior year of college and the mental recovery took a lot longer than the physical recovery.

Hopefully, Granger can take that final step in Philadelphia. If not there, perhaps some other contender willing to take a chance on his getting himself together psychologically:

One team that could conceivably give Granger a shot is the Miami Heat. They just opened up a roster spot by dealing Roger Mason, Jr. And even though they have Michael Beasley and Rashard Lewis, they may be looking to make a move to counter the Pacers' acquisition of Turner.

It would likely prove ineffectual in comparison though. With veteran leadership and great coaching in place in Indiana, Turner should be able to make the adjustment.

And when he does, he could be the last piece to a championship puzzle.


Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of Sports-Reference.com and NBA.com and are current as of Feb. 19, 2014.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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