Flashback to the summer of 2010. With the second pick in the NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Evan Turner out of Ohio State. Turner was the best player in college basketball, and was the unanimous second overall pick behind Kentucky’s John Wall.
Optimism surrounded the Sixers organization for the first time since the departure of superstar Allen Iverson. Turner was a can’t-miss prospect, or so we thought.
After his third season in the NBA, Turner has yet to live up to the expectations of being the second pick in the 2010 draft. The Sixers’ swingman averaged 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per contest this past season, an improvement in every area from his prior two seasons.
Regardless of his improvement, Sixers’ fans are growing tired of his lackluster shot selection, inability to get to the rim despite his size, and his non-existing passion at times.
Former coach Doug Collins took much heat in his three seasons with Philadelphia for his inability to develop young players. Collins and Turner’s relationship was relatively rocky at times. Either way, neither is a great excuse for the inconsistency Turner has shown over the course of his career thus far.
With a new general manager, a new coach yet to be named, and a long-term contract on the line, Turner must produce in the 2013 NBA season.
The Sixers remain hopeful that Turner can reach the potential that they saw in his days at Ohio State. While Turner has his fair share of deficiencies, he also has his strengths.
What stands out most about the former Buckeye is his versatility. Turner has the ability to be a jack-of-all-trades to a certain extent. His ability to rebound and create for his teammates sets him apart from many of the league’s swingmen.
His jump shot is a work in progress, but it has improved. Despite his willingness to shoot the three-point shot consistently, he did increase his percentage to over 36% this past season.
What Evan Turner needs to work on more than anything else this off-season is his shot selection. With his size and athleticism, he could easily be a constant mismatch offensively. At times, when teams choose to put smaller defenders on him, Turner showed glimpses of a post game, but not consistent enough. When teams defend him with bigger guys, Turner tends to settle for contested two-point jump shots, rather than using his quickness to get to the rim for easier looks.
Turner is close to wearing out his welcome in Philadelphia, but if he can show enough improvement under the new regime, all will be forgiven, and Turner will be beloved by Sixers’ fans once again. If not, he could find himself putting on a different uniform in 2014.