Described by Zach Lowe of Grantland as the blooper reel that topped the actual movie in an underwhelming trade deadline, the Indiana Pacers were late movers with the surprising news that they had traded Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. The Sixers had spent all day acquiring second round picks (even grabbing a 2015 second rounder from Indiana), making the late move a bit of a surprising one, despite their eager intentions to dump all NBA quality talent from their roster for the home stretch of the season.
The move continues to be a slight bit of be-wilderness given Granger's lengthy tenure. Even though Granger being a potential trade piece was always something of a possibility, it always felt more like the boy who cried wolf rather than a move that would actually happen. The idea that Danny Granger would ring up an expiring upgrade at the deadline always seemed impossible, but Granger's own output in 29 games certainly helped make that decision a bit easier.
Granger spent this 2013-14 season averaging 8.3 points per game on a woeful .359 shooting percentage. It'd be one thing if Granger were trending in the right direction, but his February averages sit at 8.6 pointers per game on .353 shooting. Things haven't looked great for Granger in his return, the unfortunate reality of his lengthy injury stint, and Larry Bird saw fit the decision to move Granger for Philadelphia's own underwhelming talent Evan Turner.
Turner entered the 2010 NBA Draft as one of the league's top prospects, having won Player of the Year in his junior year at Ohio State, averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists on a team that won a share of the Big Ten Championship. But since being drafted into the league second overall by the 76ers, he's been more underwhelming than he has lived up to his tremendous hype despite a well-rounded skill set as a ball handler and scorer.
Turner certainly lacks things that might be seen as a necessity as a key bench piece for the Pacers: he's a lackluster defender, doesn't work exceptionally well without the ball, and is shooting just 29% from three point range on the year. Even still, while Turner as a talent is unlikely to swing the outcome of games on his own abilities, with Granger's struggles, the only thing the Pacers are risking is their chemistry, which aided with the additional departure of Orlando Johnson, could certainly play its own role for a team that prides itself in its close knit ability.
While Turner is averaging career best numbers, it's due in part to Philadelphia's frantic pace, the fastest in the league. Whether a slower style would benefit him more, advanced statistics aren't proving a fan of Turner, placing him at 10th on Philadelphia's roster in win shares per 48 minutes at a paltry .025 (Granger sat a slightly better .091) with a PER of 13.3. His one real postseason run in his second year, had him shooting just 36% in the 13 games Philadelphia played.
The move to acquire Turner absolutely seems to be as an offset to Granger's struggles without the threat of a long term contract mucking up any chances of resigning Lance Stephenson. Bird and the Pacers seem hopeful that someone with the ability to move better than a Danny Granger, who appears to be all but done, will offer up at least as much as Granger has with the prospect of more. But there's certainly concerns here, and it will be interesting to see how the Pacers play with him on the roster, as he'll stand the chance to debut as soon as Saturday when the Pacers take on the Milwaukee Bucks.
The decision to release Orlando Johnson came with the acquisition of Lavoy Allen in the deal, a 6'9" power forward out of Temple. Allen, also on an expiring deal, will give Indiana some further depth with concerns to injury. Luis Scola's injury has set his season in reverse, and with continued concerns about Chris Copeland for whatever reason, Allen should provide a more traditional option to Scola.
As a whole, it appears to be a deal that offers no downside to the Pacers as long as the locker room remains solid without Granger and Johnson. Indiana needed some help offensively and Evan Turner can certainly provide that in the right situations, but whether the on the court product from both Turner and Allen will increase Indiana's likelihood of coming out of the East remains to be seen. It's certainly an exciting way to go if nothing else.