Coach Brett Brown has reached a breaking point with Evan Turner’s constant complaining to the referees after every missed shot. In an interview with CSNPhilly’s Dei Lynam, Brown said:
“I am his coach and there is something there that has to be fixed for the betterment of the team. And then just to help him progress as he gets older and continues on. No one wants that side of your reputation. He is going to get better at that.”
Turner spent his first three years in the league settling for mid-range jumpers, so maybe he doesn’t know how attacking the basket works. There will always be contact. As a big-bodied SG, Turner should be muscling his way to the basket looking to create contact, but instead he plays small. He believes his new 20 ppg average earns him the sort of foul call respect that Lebron James and Kevin Durant get. Hate to break it to you Turner, but you’re not on that level and everyone knows it.
When Turner whines to the referees, he hurts the team in two ways.
- Most immediately, he doesn’t get back on defense, creating easy transition opportunities for the opponent. Turner is one of the primary reasons that the Sixers have the league’s worst defense. His subpar man-to-man skills can be attributed to a lack of quickness but there is no excuse for his transition apathy.
- More importantly, Turner’s sulking sets a bad example for the team’s younger players. As the team’s leading scorer and one of its few veterans, Turner has a leadership responsibility. He is failing his team in that regard. When Turner starts to complain to the refs, you can see the younger players follow his lead. Developing those bad habits now will only hurt the Sixers when they’re trying to contend.
Turner’s bad attitude has been a storyline since his freshman year of college. Former teammate and current Grantland writer, Mark Titus, had this to say about Turner in his book, Don’t Put Me in, Coach:
“The most prominent of these characters was The Villain (Turner), who I’m not sure can even be adequately described with just words. But words are all I’ve got right now, so I’ll give it a try anyway: The Villain was an insecure, socially feebleminded, possibly bipolar, and often callous perfectionist who had all the talent in the world, who lacked self-confidence and the ability to trust in anybody around him, who was actually one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet when he wanted to be, and who would frequently walk around our locker room with his d*** flopped over the waistband of his pants. That really is the best description I can possibly give.”
Turner often butted heads with former 76ers coach Doug Collins, who many blame for stagnating Turner’s development. Now, with a new coach calling him out, the message is clear for Turner. This is one of Brett Brown’s first real challenges as a head coach and it will be interesting to see how he handles it.
It is clear that at 25, Evan Turner is who he is: an intriguing talent who has shown some scoring and rebounding ability with giant holes in his game and a temperamental attitude. It’s time for the 76ers to move on from the Evan Turner experiment, trading him before his attitude negatively effects the culture the team is trying to build.