Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers, right, shown being guarded by Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards in a Nov. 23, 2010, NBA game, is reportedly on the trading block. (Photo credit: Keith Allison/Flickr.com)
"‘’The Sixers, sources say, are open to a shakeup as they continue to wait for the return of Andrew Bynum to give All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday some badly needed help. And I’m told Philly, as such, is shopping (or at least making calls to gauge the value of) swingman Evan Turner.’’"
Since being drafted by the Sixers in the 2010 NBA Draft with the second-overall pick, Turner has certainly not lived up to the lofty expectations that followed him after his stunning college career–where he was the consensus player of the year in 2010. Turner struggled in his first season or two with the 76ers. As a player that was used to the ball in his hands a lot at Ohio State, an offense run by Andre Igoudala and Jrue Holiday left Turner scratching his head at times. A meager 7.2 points per game in 26 minutes was a testament to this.
Nevertheless, Turner continued to be in and out of the starting five in his second season, before locking down a starting place in the postseason. Often faced with running the point for the second unit along with Lou Williams, Turner’s second season saw a statistical upgrade as the Sixers as a team also showed some real potential. He averaged an improved 9.4 PPG, in addition to an impressive 5.8 rebounds per game. Turner flourished against the Boston Celtics, posting two double-doubles as Philly just missed out on the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.
And here we are now. The man who many felt was holding back Turner’s development–Andre Igoudala–is now gone. As a result, 2012-13 saw Turner handed a permanent starting role at small forward or shooting guard, depending on which line up coach Doug Collins would opt for.
But things are still not as good as they should have been. As a result of the Sixers’ poor season, nobody save for Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young are safe from trade rumors. The question remains: Should the Sixers be looking to move Turner?
There are plenty of arguments both for and against the trading of Turner. I’d err on the side of caution on trading him at the moment because we just haven’t seen what he can do with a true inside presence like Andrew Bynum. A lineup of Holiday, Turner, Young and Bynum, along with some sort of legitimate 3-point shooter, is one that could compete with the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
The blend of styles seems good in that lineup and it’s not as if there is a sudden rush to win a championship, nor are there any amazing free agents that the Sixers can actively pursue. Sit it out and see.
On the other hand, we’ve had more than two years of Turner–and it’s been pretty horrific at times. He still just doesn’t look at peace accepting being simply a role player in this league. Far too often does he slack off on the defensive end, while being guilty of ball-hogging and not cutting enough on the other end of the floor.
Turner takes far too many mid-range jumpshots. He’s just not proficient enough nor does he drive to the rim enough. As a 6’7″, strapping young man, he should be using his physicality and good hands to drive on smaller defenders, especially when playing at shooting-guard. Instead, he averages less than 1 point per possession when driving to the hole–a horrifying number. While he is often on the end of bad refereeing calls, he simply doesn’t draw enough fouls; Turner averages 2.5 free-throw attempts per 36 minutes on the floor.
I still wouldn’t be so quick to get him out of the Wells Fargo Center anytime soon. Year after year, he is improving. He bangs the boards well. For all the time that has already been invested in Turner, is it worth it to pull the trigger and undo all that work? No.
It’s no surprise the Sixers are seeking his value, they should be at this moment in time, but it doesn’t mean a trade is imminent. I hope he continues to improve as a player and can one day win a championship in Philadelphia. That won’t be any time soon, but let’s just have a bit of patience.
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