As the Sixers continue to struggle, it becomes easy to point the finger at the many things that have gone wrong this season. Now that Andrew Bynum has reportedly had another setback in his recovery, let the debating of who the team should keep and let go begin. Evan Turner, the former second overall pick, has been the focus of much criticism in his third year. After a successful postseason stretch, it was expected that Turner had gotten over the hump and would finally begin to live up to his potentially. It turns out, Sixers’ fans had gotten their hopes too high.
At the trade deadline, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Sixers were open to moving Turner in order to give the team completely to All-Star point guard, Jrue Holiday, while getting him some much needed health. While it is yet to be determined what the third-year swingman can do with a true center on the court with him, it has become obvious that he is inefficient as a scorer. Turner ranks 311th in the NBA in points per possession averaging a very mediocre 0.82. His shooting ability has also been the focus of the criticism of his overall skill set, and for good reason. He has shot just 42.3% from the field and 36% from 3-point range in 56 games this season. With just a 12.95 Player Efficiency Rating, it has become more and more that Evan Turner offers nothing that NBA defense’s can not handle. Averaging career-low in shooting at the rim and from mid-range (16-23 feet), it is hard to defend the former NCAA National Player of the Year.
The Sixers signed Jrue Holiday to a 4 year, $44 million extension last offseason that kicks in next year. Holiday’s rookie contract ends at the end of this year, and the cap hit the team will take on with his new deal is much increased. Regardless of whether or not Bynum is back next year, the Sixers will have to make a decision on Evan Turner soon.
While Turner shows promise and a solid all-around game, there may not be a better time to move him than this offseason. Next season will be the last of Evan’s rookie deal and is still viewed as relatively cheap and movable. Tony DiLeo and the Sixers have to make a decision whether to take the chance that Evan Turner may never live up to his potential, or move him for some much needed production.
While many Sixers’ fans say it is an easy decision, that may be debatable. When Turner is playing well, he looks like an All-Star talent, and even when he is not scoring, the rest of his production is pretty consistent. He rebounds well for a guard-forward, and is an above-average defender. There are reasons to keep Turner and reasons to keep him, but it’s DiLeo’s decision, and there wouldn’t be a better time to make it then at season’s end.