Philadelphia 76ers: Can Evan Turner Develop Into a Bonafide Star?


The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t been very successful this season and Evan Turner hasn’t been either.(Photo credit: Keith Allison,

When the Philadelphia 76ers bowed out in the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, fans still had hope for the future. After all, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala had performed well and powered them to a 7-6 record in the playoffs and the right moves in the offseason would lead to a lot of future success.

And the 76ers appeared to make the right moves in the offseason. However, newly acquired center Andrew Bynum‘s injury brought the 76ers down and they have significantly underachieved this year. However, concealed in the murkiness of the Bynum situation has been the struggles of small forward Turner.

Philadelphia is 22-33 this year after going 35-31 during the 2011-12 season and while they gave up Iguodala and haven’t received much production in return, the struggles of Turner have been a factor in the struggles of the 76ers. He’s averaging 13.9 points per game (PPG), but he’s also received more than 36 minutes per game. Turner is shooting less than 43 percent and is averaging 2.5 turnovers per game (TOPG) compared to just 4.4 assists per game. That gives him an assists-to-turnover ratio of 1.76, which should be much higher considering Turner can play the 2 and the 1.

The league average in player efficiency rating (PER) is 15 and when a player averages 13.9 PPG and 6.6 rebounds per game (RPG) like Turner, you would assume that his PER would at least be well above the league average. However, with Turner, that isn’t the case at all. Out of 334 qualified players, Turner is tied for 206th with a 12.7 PER, which would suggest that he is a below-average player.

And this year, Turner has been a below-average player.

Turner has added an estimated 2.2 wins for the 76ers this year and that seems to say that he hasn’t cost the 76ers. However, LeBron James has somehow added an estimated 22.6 wins for the Miami Heat, making Turner’s estimated wins added (EWA) look like nothing. Because when a team that was expected to contend with the Heat is 22-33 and 5.5 games out of the playoffs, 2.2 EWA really doesn’t mean anything.

We all thought Turner would build on his 2012 postseason, in which he averaged 11.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG while playing stellar defense. However, all he has done is regress. We thought that improving his shooting and offensive play just a bit would help Turner and while we have seen flashes of Turner taking over, driving to the hoop and making a great play, those moments haven’t come enough.

Holiday has stepped up and become the player the 76ers have wanted him to be. He made the NBA All-Star team and has an 18.18 PER, which is tied for 56th in the league. Those numbers don’t exactly pop out, but when you consider Holiday was below-average with a 14.74 PER last year (147th in the league), his 2012-13 stats sound a lot better.

The point guard has stepped up and given his fellow players opportunities, but no one else has stepped up with him. The future is still promising, but it will take Bynum or another talented big man being signed or drafted by the 76ers and Turner stepping up. The front office controls the former, but the latter will take a lot of improvement.

I can’t remember seeing anyone develop from an inefficient player to a star and that’s the unfortunate situation Turner is in right now. He has had some great moments and shown lots of flashes of potential, but he has yet to make the monumental leap to stardom. Turner should be in his prime now or very soon, but the stats certainly tell us that the second-overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft has been a dud so far.

And if he doesn’t shape up fast, he’s going to be labeled as a bust. So it’s safe to say that Turner is not on the right track right now–and if he doesn’t get on the right track soon–it’s going to end up costing the 76ers a lot.