Relax Evan. We're all on your side, sort of.

Sixers Fans Reach the Acceptance Stage With Evan Turner

From franchise savior to epic bust to somewhere in between, no player has divided a fan base quite like Evan Turner.  I was just as excited as everybody else when those ping pong balls fell our way, delivering us the #2 pick in the 2010 draft.  I thought finally we somehow lucked into a franchise player, and the Sixers would surely be returning to contending status.  Unexpectedly, the Sixers did not go 82-0 en route to a championship in Turner’s rookie season.  Even more shocking was that Turner’s play wasn’t quite on par with Michael Jordan’s.  In his first two years in the league, every possible excuse for his inconsistent play was made:

1. Collins is suppressing his growth because he hates rookies.

2. He is stuck playing behind Andre Iguodala.

3. He only gets to play with offensive black hole Lou Williams (wishing you a speedy recovery Sweet Lou).

4. Not unlike Baby from Dirty Dancing, he’s stuck in the corner.

5. He needs to play point guard like he did at Ohio State.

6. He’s a rhythm player that needs a few easy buckets to get his jump shot going.

7. Once he practices with Herb Magee (The Shot Doctor), he’ll become Ray Allen.

8. His athleticism is Snookie-esque.

9. He’s been dealing with a pesky hangnail for the past 24 months.

It was an understandable fan reaction.  We expect a lot from such a high pick.  When we didn’t get a lot, some people opted to search for reasons outside of the player.  Others vowed that he was a terrible pick, and that they always said we should have drafted Derrick Favors, Demarcus Cousins, or Greg Monroe.  Liars, all of them.

Here we are now, half way into ET’s 3rd year, and it seems that the extremists on both sides have tempered their emotions a bit.    Iguodala and Lou Will are long gone.  Turner plays starter’s minutes every night, and we continue to get more of a mixed bag: flashes of greatness, and great moments of flashiness (usually followed by him getting his shot blocked).

The Turner haters are mum because he has shown enough to demonstrate that he isn’t totally awful.  Those in my camp, the ones that foresaw the second coming of Brandon Roy (version 2.0, now with knees), have lowered our expectations a bit.

In essence, Evan Turner’s play is the perfect microcosm for this team’s season.  You never know what you are going to get.  Consistent inconsistency.

He’s a better player than Darko, Thabeet, or even Beasley (all former #2 picks).  Sixers fans can recognize that now, but we all know Kevin Durant isn’t coming out of that tunnel.


Tags: Evan Turner Philadelphia 76ers

  • Erik Berger

    2010 was a really weak draft anyway. It’s just too bad that we didn’t get the #2 pick in a better draft. I agree though that people have started to come around on Turner, but we aren’t expecting anything spectacular anymore.

    • Dante Nelson

      Yeah I like to wait until a pro’s 3rd year before labeling him. He just hasn’t shown that he could be a star in this league like so many other #2′s before him (and as the article points out, it could be worse). As long as he keeps getting better on defense and his overall game (kinda like Iguodala) he should still be a valuable asset to this team.

  • LeQuan Glover

    I disagree, I’m actually very disappointed by Turner. When we drafted him, I expected our wing position to be solved.(A wing man is a shooter or slasher, or both). Turner seems to have developed the corner three, but not the off-the-ball game that should come along with it. As a result, it’s not really as devastating as it could or should be. And Turner, as a slasher has been well documented. Good first step with overall below average NBA athleticism, he needs to develop his handles at this level and unfortunately, he hasn’t done it yet and probably never will.

    In short, Turner’s a tweener(in the negative sense), not a wing man.

    Since we’re bad enough to discuss draft, Ben McLemore, please. I’m tired of watching our wings unable to basically play basketball.

    • Dan Friedberg

      Come on, you know this team won’t be bad enough to draft top 3. I agree about ET’s skillset. Rebounding is great and hall, but I’d prefer shooting from my wings. For me, this is more about fan perception and how that has changed over his career.

    • Dante Nelson

      I’ll admit, I was looking for a star out of Turner. Clearly, it doesn’t seem to be happening at all. But, like Dan was saying, it is more of just understanding what Turner does bring to the table and letting go of the BUST label in a way. I’d like to keep him around with Jrue and Thad, and Bynum to see how he fits. Not a star but perhaps he can be a starter for this team if/when it reaches contention.

  • Rosstifer Markman

    Turner is growing on me. He needs to remain aggressive. At all times. He tends, much like Iguodala, to take a backseat on offense, content to watch others score, etc. Turner is best taking the ball to the basket and pulling up from 12 feet, not watching Spencer Hawes hand the ball off at the 3-point line.

    • Dante Nelson

      Yeah I can agree with that. He does fade from the game at times but at least he does have an all around game of passing and rebounding. Not on Iguodala level but now that Iguodala is gone, we see ET indeed has a similar skill set with Andre. Not a perfect match but it’s there. Alongside Jrue and hopefully soon Bynum, he would be a good 3rd guy on the team. Room for improvement too.

  • Charles Ryan

    Turner still has a good amount of upside. You have to consider that, he is playing way too many minutes for long stretches, which is no wonder why he just had a bad 7 game stretch. Also, nobody on offense is active without the ball; mostly iso or a ton of stationary plays. I think he can stand to play a bit faster, but for the most part outside of Jrue, nobody really plays fast. Jrue and Evan are also the only ones that can get in the lane whenever they want. I think everyone will benefit from a true big man, I like Thad but I don’t see how we can be any good with him as our big. I expect Turner to put up career best of 18/8/6 one season, with or without the Sixers.

    • Dan Friedberg

      I’m not sure how much more upside he has. He has limited athletic ability which is crucial when talking about upside. The improved 3 point shooting is definitely nice, although I am still amazed whenever it goes in. He really needs to get better at creating space for himself and taking smart shots. Unfortunately, athleticism really helps with creating space.

      • Charles Ryan

        I agree, his lack of athleticism is his ultimate negative. What he has going for him is size, ball handling and ability to get in the paint. If he continues to guards 2s he’ll be more effective defensively, he is a pretty good distributor already add a real PnR to the offense he can help there and to go along with it he can work on getting in to the paint and being a playmaker finding the open man off the penetration.

        Also, add working off the ball which we all know he can stand to do better at and improving on that 16-23 footer all goes to his upside and being a third year player. I kind of look at his ceiling if he works his ass off every year as a Rip Hamilton-type, so the most athletic guy but worked hard and improved his shot and impacted the game with good team defense. Evan is already a much better rebounder and distributor than Rip ever was.

        • Dan Friedberg

          It’s funny you mention Rip b/c I felt like that was what they were trying to make him his rookie year. have him off the ball a lot, running around screes and doing catch and shoots. I just don’t see him turning into that kind of player. He can improve on the catch and shoot. I just don’t see him ever being fast enough and well conditioned enough (like Rip) to be able to consistently get space that way. Even if he loses his man briefly, his elevation is too minimal and release too low that he is still at risk of getting blocked.

          • Charles Ryan

            I agree, I just think that’s as good as he can get offensively adding in the boards and the assists. He really needs to work harder to even come close to that, so it’s up to him, or he’ll be gone in a year.

  • Emily Gruver

    Nice article!

  • Jeff Wolf

    Big disappointment, probably evens out since we got Jrue at 17 and turner at 2.