WALTHAM, Mass. – About an hour had passed since the Boston Celtics’ practice on Thursday was officially over.
And there was Evan Turner still in the gym, working on his game with a shooting routine similar to one used by former two-time league MVP Steve Nash.
The reason is simple.
“Just so I could stay ready," Turner said. "You never know if somebody gets hurt or whatever and I go heavy minutes".
Always being prepared has helped Turner adjust quickly to whatever role he’s called upon to play for the Celtics.
Point guard. Shooting Guard. Small forward. Starter. Reserve.
We have seen Turner in all of the above roles at some point this season. And to his credit, he hasn’t flinched when he finds out he’s being called upon to perform a task or take on added responsibility.
Boston hosts the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night, a game that the Celtics (6-5) will be favored to win.
The 6-foot-6 Turner will likely come off the bench and be tasked with playing on the ball as well as off of it.
And defensively he’ll likely find himself matched against players at all three perimeter positions which would provide yet another opportunity for him to showcase his versatility.
Being a man of many talents has worked out well for Turner this season.
He is one of seven Celtics to appear in all 11 games this season, and ranks fourth in minutes played at 24.4 per game.
Turner even has one start this season, which is one more than he anticipated after Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told him prior to the start of the season that he would not be starting.
To illustrate there were no hard feelings when he got the news, Turner offered up a humorous scenario recently about how it all went down.
After getting the news, “I had to smell his (Stevens) breath for alcohol,” quipped Turner.
Oh, he wasn’t done.
“I checked his office for drugs. I said, ‘You’ve gotta be high.’ You know what I’m saying? But I kept it classy of course, and I trust the process. But it’s unbelievable right?”
And at this point, the poker face Turner had was gone.
Turner added, “I’ll be fine. There’s a bigger picture than me. So seriously, I wasn’t too worried or anything.”
Despite the depth in Boston’s backcourt, Turner has been a mainstay that Stevens often turns to down the stretch regardless of how he has played.
In Boston’s 106-93 upset win over the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 13, Turner was on the floor in the fourth quarter despite having missed his first nine shots.
“That guy in the fourth quarter, it doesn’t matter,” Stevens said of Turner after the win. “He has a different … I just believe in him when it’s all on the line.”