PORTLAND – After an early afternoon practice for the Trail Blazers, players start to make their way off the court. One by one, they all begin heading to various rooms to get treatment, watch film, and dress down. However, Evan Turner is still getting up shot after shot. The courts are empty and dead silent, aside from him and the two assistants who are working with him. He’s focusing on his three-point shooting as well as the incredibly smooth mid-range game he already possesses.
Grabbing pass after pass and transitioning into a catch-and-shoot scenario, Turner is drenched in sweat and continuing to push through. People may think he’s gotten too comfortable on a big contract, but with every shot he’s still trying to prove that’s not the case.
Despite the injuries, the constant noise, and the fan criticism, Evan Turner is still spectacularly and unapologetically himself. The 6’7 swingman was signed to a four-year, 70 million dollar contract this offseason, which was the subject of a lot of scrutiny by the media and fans. That scrutiny hasn’t gone away with the Blazers underachieving most of the year and Turner averaging 9.1 points on 42.8 percent shooting.
“I will never take anything for granted,” Turner tells DIME. “I always try and stay consistent, doing my best all of the time. In this business and culture, everyone works hard from the players down to the film guys. Brad Stevens in Boston told me ‘fall in love with the little things.’ Everybody can do something when things are going well, but when things aren’t going well, it’s all about character. I believe in good karma when you’re pushing through and doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do. I just try and make sure I get myself into a routine, keeping my mind and body in the best shape in can be.”
Turner knows where his value is and what he does best. Whether it’s crashing the boards or going after a loose ball, he’s there to do the intangibles that don’t necessarily show up in a box score. In fact, most of his on-court numbers suggest he’s not as good as other teammates in certain scenarios.