An Enigma Until the End

Posted by: C. Smith
02/21/14 11:07 am EST

turnerblackbackdropeditedEvan Turner was perhaps the most frustrating and mystifying 76er I ever watched in my nearly 30 years of rooting for the franchise.

One night Turner would hang 34 points on the Knicks thanks to 59% shooting from the field and actually look like a player who should have been taken No. 2 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft.  The next night he would shoot 2-10 and total 6 points against the Hawks while acting like an overly dramatic teenager towards the officials all night and his head coach at times.

Turner’s roller coaster level of of play and his highly emotional mind set are the reasons I dubbed him  “The Enigma”.  And that nickname served the combo-guard well right up to his final moments in a Sixers uniform as it appears executives around the Association found Turner just as difficult to figure out as we did.



When it was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that Tuner had been shipped to Indiana in exchange for Danny Granger and a 2015 2nd round draft pick, I thought to myself, ‘That’s it?  That’s all we got for Turner’.

After months of shopping Turner all Sam Hinkie could pull out of the trade market was a future 2nd round pick and a former All-Star and 20-points per game scorer who thanks to a left knee injury is a shell of his former self.  For those of you who have not followed the Pacers closely this year, in 2013-14 Granger is averaging just 8 points and 3 boards on 22 minutes of run per night for Indiana.  In his last 10 games, he is scoring 7.7 points per game  on 33.8 percent shooting.  Needless to say, these are career low numbers from a player who once considered one of the deadliest shooters in the NBA — three straight season of 20+ ppg.; 42% or better shooting from the field and 36% or better shooting from three.  The kicker is that the rumor mill is saying that the Sixers will buy out Granger before March 1st.

Meanwhile, Turner a former #2 overall draft pick who is only 25 years old, has blossomed in Brett Brown’s up-temp0 attack this season by averaging a career-high 17.4 points, six rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.  According to to (via Rob Mahoney at the Point Forward blog) just four other players in the Association can boast a stat line like that — Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Lebron and KD.

Yet Hinkie could not even get a late 1st round pick for Turner as the trade deadline closed in yesterday.  Why?  Because it wasn’t just Doug Collins and Brett Brown that didn’t know what to do with Turner on the court, the rest of the NBA remains unsure as well.

Turner was at his best when he had the ball in his hands.  He can handle the rock decently enough to play some point.  He can create his own shot with enough frequency to score some as well.  When he has the pill, he finds the open teammate on occasion. Yet at his “best” he doesn’t score the ball at the rim with consistency or shoot the ball from the outside well enough to be a #1 scoring option on offense. And when he dominated the ball for the Sixers, he didn’t the offense was frequently stagnant and he didn’t make his teammates around him better, so he was never going to be a solid NBA point guard.

Yes, Turner put up some fantastic numbers for Brown this year, but in a League that loves the 3-ball and advanced metrics, he is a horrible 3-point shooter and the advanced stats tell you he is one the least efficient players in the game today.

I recall that after the 76ers selected Turner in the 2010 Draft, I spoke with a number of League personnel executives and scouts and what his position he would play in the NBA.  There was nothing close to a consensus among the people I spoke with at that time.  Hell, there wasn’t even a majority opinion in my notes.   I don’t remember that type of variation happening with any other 76er draft pick and I should have known back then that story line was going to be a problem for Turner during his career in Philadelphia.

The good news is that trying to determine what to do with “The Enigma” is now Frank Vogel and Larry Bird’s problem.  The bad news is we wasted a lot of time and energy on ET and in finally trading away Turner (and Lavoy), the 76ers now have nothing to show for their 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 NBA Draft efforts.


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9 Responses to “An Enigma Until the End”

  1. Rzzzzz
    21. February 2014 at 11:30

    “Larry Bird’s problem”? he couldn’t have paid a cheaper price for him, and if he doesn’t produce he sits on the bench until he walks at the end of the season. but this is a solid organization top to bottom. and if ET comes off the bench with fire in his belly, he’ll be an asset. anything more than that, he’ll be an outright steal.

  2. NBA Genuine Draft
    21. February 2014 at 12:39

    At the rate this is going, everyone except Sixers reps can leave after the 1st round of the 2014 NBA draft. We practically own the second round now. Curious to see what Hinkie does with all these 2nd round picks.

  3. Alex
    21. February 2014 at 14:10

    I always wanted Sixers to make the right decision to trade Turner and get something worthwhile for him after 4 years of emotional and monitory investment in him. But Sam almost got nothing for him. I thought that was not normal smart Sam. But somehow deep inside, I have a feeling that Hinkie may have a long term plan for Granger. Granger is 30 years old who once was an all Star and a great scorer, but how can he fit in Sixers long term plan? Bottom line, if Sam lets Granger walk at the end of this season or buy him out, this trade would go as one of the most stupid trades that Sixers ever made. Sam could have waited until the end of this season and let him walk out unless he really cares about him so bad that he wants him to get a ring with Pacers!!!
    About Turner, he is always going to be an enigma, but he may blossom in Indy. Turner is a late bloomer and is one of those guys who may take longer to develop. After all, many world greatest achievers have been late bloomers. Now, it is all done and Sam may have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Good luck ET.

  4. Joe
    21. February 2014 at 20:03

    This may sound harsh, but I just don’t see Turner’s value in this league. If you want proof that a player who in college is a Swiss army knife, do it all kind of player, but ultimately isn’t quick enough, strong enough, or athletic enough to play with the men in the NBA then you need look no further. Glad to see him go.

  5. RYN_JAY
    22. February 2014 at 04:46

    I don’t think this is that bad of a trade. I mean let’s be honest. He’s not worth a first round pick. It would of been nice to get a little more, but it’s better than just letting him walk for nothing. Because there was no way he was coming back next year.

  6. RYN_JAY
    22. February 2014 at 04:48

    Oh yea by the way, I think it’s finally time for you get rid of that friggin’ ad for his damn sneakers!

  7. Chris H.
    22. February 2014 at 17:50

    Someone stated, and I admit that I didn’t even realize, that if Granger sticks around with the Sixers till the end of the year, he won’t lose his “Bird Rights”. So the Sixers can essentially do a sign and trade with someone snd Granger gets his money still. Maybe this won’t be such a low return if that happens. He might not play at all for the rest of the year, but a sign and trade may parlay into that first round pick this year or the next. Here’s hoping and wishing.

  8. Haygood
    22. February 2014 at 20:35

    Sam Hinkie, did as well as he could with ET. He couldn’t get a first round pick in last years weak draft for Evan on draft night, did people expect him to get a first rounder for him in this draft which could be the strongest and deepest in years…
    And does anyone even think ET will contribute anything when the Pacers face off against the Heat? Not a chance

  9. Tony
    24. February 2014 at 12:55

    Later, Evan. I won’t miss your childish attitude. Hopefully it didn’t rub off on MCW.

    It will be disappointing if Granger doesn’t play here at all. I think he could teach some of the younger guys some nuancey things about the offensive side of the ball (if he was willing to play that role, which it sounds like he isn’t—maybe he’ll get over it after the initial shock of being traded from a title contender to the league’s worst team wears off).

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