Terry Stotts: Evan Turner will shoot better on 3-pointers for Trail Blazers

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The Trail Blazers signing Evan Turner to a four-year, $70 million contract was curious at best.

Not only is Turner probably not worth that much to any team, he appears to be a poor fit in Portland.

The Trail Blazers excelled last season when Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum led the offense from the backcourt and Al-Farouq Aminu moved to power forward. With Lillard and McCollum handling the ball so much and the team going small, a sharp-shooting small forward got plenty of good looks beyond the arc. Allen Crabbe excelled, and even Maurice Harkless found a groove.

But Turner is a far worse 3-point shooter than Crabbe, and older, Turner has less upside than Harkless.

Portland coach Terry Stotts has a different view.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

The Blazers will give Turner the green light, and they’re confident he’ll hit enough catch-and-shoot looks in Stotts’ free-flowing system. “People make such a big deal out of his 3-point shooting,” Stotts said. “He’ll shoot it better for us.”

Turner shot 24% on 3-pointers last season. His career mark, 30%, is better but still not encouraging.

Getting more open shots probably won’t rescue his efficiency. Here’s Turner’s 3-point shooting the last three seasons based on defender distance, per NBA.com:

  • Very tight: 1-for-5 (20%)
  • Tight: 4-for-30 (13%)
  • Open: 50-for-168 (30%)
  • Wide open: 48-for-155 (31%)

He’ll probably shoot better with more open looks, but that alone won’t turn him into an even average 3-point shooter.

And it’s not as if Brad Stevens’ offense with the Celtics put players in poor spots. To the contrary, Stevens positioned Turner to excel – using Turner as a point forward. But those distributing skills will be less valuable in Portland, where Lillard and McCollum are far better with the ball. The Trail Blazers succeeded by rarely playing without at least one of those guards last season.

Maybe Stotts sees a correctable flaw in Turner’s shot. Good coaching and player development could pay off.

But believing in [insert team] exceptionalism usually leads to disappointment.