Recently there have been two online posts by reputable basketball writers in this town that have raised some red flags for us here in the Philadunkia offices over the possibility of the 76ers drafting Evan Turner. Don’t get us wrong, we still think Turner is a great basketball talent, the best overall player available to the Sixers at the #2 spot and that he could have an immediate impact on the team. However two pieces we have read in the last few days both of which have included quotes from NBA front office types have caused us to further review just how good of a fit Turner would be for the 76ers.
The first article that caused us pause on the Turner front ran on “The Philly Post” and was written by local college basketball guru Michael Bradley. The short and sweet of Bradley’s post was that if the Sixers draft Turner, Iguodala has to go as they can not play together. The second story that made us reconsider the selection of Turner by the Sixers was put together by legendary basketball scribe Dick Jerardi for the Daily News. That story included NBA player personnel people on the record about Turner and how he is not the prototypical NBA 2-guard, which in our opinion is what the Sixers desperately need to find in the 2010 Draft.
Bradley’s article was published on “The Philly Post” which as you may or may not know is Philly Mag’s latest attempt to make some head way in the online game. Titled, “Is Andre Iguodala Outta Here?”, Bradley’s piece quotes one anonymous Western Conference GM as saying, “If you take Turner, you have to do something with Iguodala.” Bradley also has a second anonymous Western Conference GM quoted on the possibility that the Turner and Iguodala combo might not be a good fit.
According to Bradley this second GM used the word “redundancy” to describe the Turner-Iguodala pairing, since both players excel offensively when they have the rock. The second GM continued, “There’s not enough floor space for the two of them.” Throw in the fact that starting point guard Jrue Holiday also needs the ball to be at his best offensively and suddenly drafting Turner appears to create a situation where there would not be enough basketball’s on the court in Philadelphia.
Jerardi’s article for the Daily News is titled “Wall vs. Turner” and contains extensive quotes from local resident and long time NBA front office man Stephen “Rose” Rosenberry (Currently a scout for the Atlanta Hawks.) on the type of player he projects Turner to be in the NBA. Rosenberry tells Jerardi, “Turner is not a ‘two’, is not a ‘three’. He’s a point. That’s what he is. I have discussions with personnel people and media and I say, ‘Guys, if you don’t believe me, then you haven’t watched him play.’ At Ohio State, he had the ball in his hand literally 95 percent of the game . “
Rosenberry also told Jerardi that Turner reminds him of a future Hall of Fame point man, “He reminds me some of Gary Payton. He was a great post player. What made Gary so good is his ability to pass out of the post. When he took guards into the post, they had to double him or he would just murder them. When they doubled, he punished you with passes. That’s what this kid is. He’s so big and thick and strong that if you play him one-on-one in the post, he’s going to score. Then, when you double, his first instincts are to pass. He’s a good athlete. He’s not an extreme athlete. He’s an OK shooter. He’s not a deep shooter. He takes you places on the court where he wants to be. He’ll just back you to where he wants to get so he doesn’t have to take deep shots.”
Here at Philadunkia we have known Rosenberry for years and trust his opinion greatly. So, while the thought of drafting a prospect who may some day play like Gary Payton is very attractive, the idea of having two young point guards (Holiday & Turner) in the lineup who both need the ball to effective doesn’t make much basketball sense to us. Still, if Turner is able to add 3-ball shooting range to his game as a compliment to his point guard type skills, the thought of Holiday and Turner backcourt for the next 7-10 years makes us giddy as a school girl. What a lethal combination that would be.
There’s no doubt that Turner is a big, talented, multidimensional player with a high basketball IQ, who can run at multiple spots on the floor, but doesn’t possess a deep outside shot. Overall that’s a very, very nice skill set for an NBA Draft prospect to own. Still, when you combine the above quotes from NBA front office people with some of the other pieces online and the “expert” analysis on TV you have to give serious consideration to the question, ‘Does Evan Turner fit here given 76ers current roster?’
After significant thought and analysis, for us here at Philadunkia the answer is still “Yes. Turner is the right pick for Philadelphia.” Turner is the best overall basketball player available to the 76ers at No. 2. We also believe he can have a positive impact on this team immediately and help return the Sixers from the brink of irrelevancy on the Philly sports scene. So we draft Turner and worry about the lineup issues down the road. However now that we have taken a much closer second look at Turner as well as the current state of the Sixers roster and deeply reconsidered just how good of a match the two would be, we’ll be much less shocked and upset if Ed Stefanski and Doug Collins pull a fast one and draft Derrick Favors.