Late last week the 76ers set up a conference call for a host of great basketball bloggers with the franchise’s new poster boy — Evan Turner. The second overall pick in the 2010 Draft answered questions on everything from what he knew about the Sixers debacle of a season last year to his struggles at the Orlando Pro Summer League to playing with Andre Iguodala to what he is working on this summer to Jrue Holiday’s game and his recent exchange with Michael Jordan.
Of course someone asked him about cheesesteaks. This is Philadelphia after all.
Lance Epstein handled the duties on this one for us here at Philadunkia.com and you can read his full transcript of the confernce call after the jump.
Brian from depressedfan.com : How comfortable do you feel playing off the ball? Have you been doing any specific drills or working with anyone this summer working off screen or moving without the ball?
Evan Turner : “I know when I first started playing this summer I wasn’t as comfortable since it has been awhile since I haven’t had the ball in my hands. I am starting to get more acclimated with the drills I am doing especially coming off balls screens, trying to set my man up and everything. Just trying to move without the ball better.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : What’s the best advice you have received so far? Maybe in the Summer League or in general? And how have you employed it?
Turner : “Just realize that it is a long journey. I hope to have a long career and take things day by day. Work on getting better on ball screens and not miss practice too much.”
Ben from LibertyBallers.com : How much 5-on-5 did you play after the NCAA Tournament leading up to the Draft? Did you feel like you were in game shape?
Turner : “Once, maybe twice after the tournament. For some reason I didn’t feel like I was in bad shape. I was heavier and just wasn’t in shape. Right before the summer league was the Draft so I was dealing with the press conferences and all that stuff. We had to report to training camp that Thursday, so I wasn’t really acclimated and stuff. I kind had a week off without touching the ball so I needed to get better in shape.”
Ben from LibertyBallers.com : Do you feel that the agents have a little too much control before the Draft by worrying about injuries? Was it detrimental?
Turner : “I think they protect yourself for whatever comes up. Your body is your job and that is how you make your money. So you can’t have too many negative things happen to it prior to the draft because one little thing out there will mess up your draft status and you’re not drafted at all.”
Andrew Unterberger from The700level.com : Have you been keeping tabs on Andre (Iguodala) on team USA? And would that be something you would want to do someday?
Turner : “I wanted to. I have seen (a) moment here or there like the highlight dunks or dunks and everything. I think it is an opportunity to represent your country and I think I would definitely like to be apart of that one day.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : Many “experts” and pundits say that your game and Andre Iguodala’s game are very similar and hard for you two to co-exist. How do you feel about that? And how are you going to make it work?
Turner : “I think Andre and I are all about the team. We will do what we can to help the team out. Coach Collins is a genius at guarding the basketball and on our system. I am sure that will work well. All we have to do is be coachable and play how we play and everything will be fine.”
Andrew from the The700level.com : I am sure you seen that the first game is against the Heat. I am wondering if you were excited about that or if you were hoping for someone easier than that?
Turner : “I am definitely excited. It is my first NBA game and my family will be in town. I get to play with future Hall of Famers. We have a great chance to play our style of offense, start what should be a great career and what should be a great season.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : Your friends gave you the nickname Turtle. How did you get that nickname turtle and how did that exactly come about?
Turner: “It was a bad joke by my friends. There was picture of a turtle on the wall and they said ‘Evan Turner, Evan Turtle.’ My friend Dimitri, who I played with at Illinois (high school), went to go tell everybody. Well (everyone thought) that is a cool nickname and they called me turtle.”
Ricky from sixers4guidos.com : What areas of your game do you think you are NBA ready? And what areas do you need to improve upon the most?
Turner : “My mid-range game is pretty good. I think I have a pretty good IQ. I think I can rebound well for my size. As for working on — moving without the ball and long range shooting it. Also getting better at defense. The NBA game is a pretty different game. You have to be a little quicker, a little faster and get yourself in the right position.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : How is playing under Doug Collins different than playing for Thad Matta at Ohio State?
Turner : “Coach Matta was a bit more relaxed. He would give me a little bit more freedom. Coach Collins he is a little bit more where he wants you to learn first before he lets the reigns go. That is the only way I could tell. He knows the game a lot. He is going to let you know right away and helping you get better in a way with every second he is trying to perfect your game. He is a perfectionist and stuff when it comes to the game of basketball.”
Andrew from The700level.com : Did you get a cheesesteak yet since you been in Philly?
Turner : “I went to Gino’s. It was pretty good.”
Andrew from The700level.com : Did you try to go to pat’s to compare them?
Turner : I haven’t done that yet. I am not even supposed to eat that type of food. So I am trying to stay away from it.”
Ben from LibertyBallers.com : Can you tells what you are doing this summer? Like your typical workout day like.
Turner : “I wake up. I work out at this spot called Summersult through Agility and speed school in the morning. I will go show up to work for two hours and then I will lift weights after. My day usually starts from eight and probably ends around 12:30. Then I will go back and shoot some more for an hour or so at that.”
Ben from LibertyBallers.com : Anything you are working on in particular the shooting drills?
Turner : “I am just working on my game. I am definitely trying to focus a little more on coming off the screens and shooting the ball. But I am still working on my ball handling and stuff.”
Turner: “It is going pretty well. I think I have made my fair share of shots when I worked out. I feel like I could push it.”
Ben from Libertyballers.com : What surprised you the most about the summer league:
Turner : “I had some bad stat games in five days and everything. Other than that, some of the calls were a little tighter in summer league. When you watch the NBA finals, you see Ray Allen and Derek Fisher going after each other it is almost like a wrestling match. In the summer league some of those things you cannot do because the officials were refing it tight.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : When you were younger you had a lot of health problems, had to see a speech therapist and were hit by a car when you were three. How has that affected you as a basketball player and made you tougher on the court?
Turner : “I think at a young age, going through so much stuff and realizing what I went through now, I can pull myself out of any slump or situation. I have the confidence that I am going to persevere and come out on top no matter what I do.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : How have your two brothers help you throughout your life, in basketball and during your time at Ohio State?
Turner : “They there like they were supposed to be there cause I am their little brother. They made sure that I was OK or if there was something I didn’t know they would show or teach me. They always supported me and everything like that. They are brother always supporting and stuff.”
Andrew from The700level.com : I saw on your twitter recently that you attended the same party as Michael Jordan and have the same agent. Did you get to meet him yet?
Turner : “I met him. Got the chance to talk to him for about thirty seconds. I didn’t want to bother him too much. It was super cool just meeting him.”
Andrew from The700level.com : What did you talk about with him?
Turner : “He just asked me if I was ready for the NBA and everything. And how my workouts were going.”
Turner : “You mean right now? I sure hope I could (jokingly). He is not in basketball shape anymore.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : How do you plan on bringing back basketball to Philadelphia with the Phillies, Flyers and Eagles really dominating the city with their play right now? How do you want to bring the Sixers back to what they were in the mid-80s and early 80s when they were winning a lot?
Turner : “I think one thing that you kind of said is to recognize that I am one part of the team and one cog in the system. I think as a unit we are going try to continue to play as hard as we can and bring the passion. I think if we do that it will bring good results whether it be today, month from now, a year or two years or so. I think with the situation we need to make corrections to start winning and getting the city excited and playing great basketball.”
Ricky from sixers4guidos.com : The team is going to have problems rebounding do you think you and the core guys can get it done?
Turner : “We are going to rebound. I know Coach Collins and he seems kind of strict with rebounding. I know if we don’t rebound then we are going to be in trouble with him and be in his doghouse. I think we are all going to try hard to go in and get the rebounds, get the ball and get chance shots.”
Brian from depressedfans.com : Does Coach Collins give you anything specifically to work on to fit in with the current personal and what he is looking for?
Turner : “He wants me to just come in and keep my mind open to learning, work hard, have a smile and have fun while playing. The thing he stresses the most is having fun while I am playing.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : Have any other athletes in the city of Philadelphia talked to you about playing in the city and how to deal with the pressure?
Turner : “When I went for the first pitch at the Phillies game, I talked to Ryan Howard. He basically told me and compared Philadelphia to a big brother. Some days they will like you and some days they wont like you, but they still love you and it is all about how you do things. They will always have their support no matter what.”
Brian from depressedfan.com : In college you played forward position to off guard to point guard, is there any concerns with having a more defined role?
Turner : “I think a role is just a role… I just do what the coaches expect me to do and what the team expects me to do. Try to do my job to the fullest part. I need to learnt he NBA game a little more and acclimate playing off the ball a little more.”
Ricky from sixers4guidos.com : Do you think that you would be a good fit for the international game someday? Does your game fit well with the international rules?
Turner : “I definitely think I could be a transit player for them. I think I am versatile and can do a lot of different things especially to help the team out. I think if I am blessed with the abilities to do the challenges, to carry out the challenges and help win games. But right now that USA team is so loaded and filled with talent it is almost fills itself. I worry about today and not the future.”
Turner : “I think Brandon Roy and everything like that. He has an all-round game and is good player. And Grant Hill as well.”
Andrew from The700level.com : Any player in your college days that you watched growing up and want to square off against in the pros?
Turner : “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that. Everything like that kind of flashed by me when I finished college. I don’t really play favorites with guys. I never really sat there and thought I want to play this person or that person. The person that I am looking forward to playing the most didn’t even go to college (Kobe Bryant).
Andrew from The700level.com : Why Kobe?
Turner : “You hear he is the best and has unreal ability and that. I just want to see how it is. (laughs at comment about having the city of Philadelphia behind him on that one).
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : You signed with a Chinese shoe company in Li Ning, what was the reason behind that? How do you like the shoe while on the court?
Turner : “The reason behind it all is that it is all about opportunities. Just about opportunities. The other shoe companies Nike, Adidas and all of them offered me the opportunity to be apart of their company, but I just wanted to go with what was the best fit for me. I wanted to have my own shoe and try to build my own brand. Li Ning will support me 100 percent. It just started off fresh. I think there is a lot room to grow there and add a little more attention and focus on them. Li Ning has so much resources and they’re a great company. I am going to China in a couple of weeks to look at more models (of shoes). It was the best opportunity and I just liked the way the company was moving.”
Ben from LibertyBallers.com : Did anyone on the team give you any tips or pointers on the longer NBA season?
Turner : “They just said to get a lot of rest, eat well and just be mentally tough night in and night out. Don’t dwell on having a bad game the night before because there is always another game the next day.”
Brian from depressedfan.com : What were your impressions after playing with Jrue (Holiday) for 4 games at the Summer League?
Turner : “I was very impressed. He plays super hard, tough on defense and he can really score. He knows the game well. He is a tough player and I cannot wait to play with him.”
Ricky from sixers4guidos.com : Did you watch a lot of the Sixers game from last season? What impression did you get? What was missing?
Turner : “I really didn’t watch as much. But I think it was just a rough season. They just had a rough season. Maybe injuries got in the way a little bit. I think they needed a little pep. I think Coach Collins will add a little pep, add the excitement and that the little missing something.”
Brian from depressedfan.com : After your back injury, was there the slightest moment where you thought your NBA career could be in jeopardy?
Turner : “For a second when I was hurt. I kind of felt bad for myself for a couple of days. One of my coaches told me you have two options. Just sit back and quit playing or just see what happens and overcome what occurred. Seeing how I have been a fighter my whole life, it was nothing.”
Ricky from sixers4guidos.com : Do you still think the Lakers are the team to beat or is it Miami now as the No. 1 in your rankings?
Turner : “ I still think the Lakers are the team to beat. They’re defending champions. The last game of the season they won and brought home the trophy. So until someone proves wrong, they are the team to beat.”
Lance Epstein from Philadunkia.com : What was the first thing you did when you got your rookie contract?
Turner : “I purchased a car and put my mom in a spot. Nothing too too serious.”
Ben from LibertyBallers.com : What rule changes from college helps your game the most and hurts your game the most?
Turner : “I’m not sure if one hurts the most. I just have to get acclimated. Regardless of talents, this is the NBA. I think the game is a little bit more fast tempo, a little bit longer quarters and longer time means I can do a lot more; you know come out and help my team a lot better.”
Ricky from sixers4guidos.com : Do you read any NBA blogs?
Turner : “No I don’t read any of that stuff.”