Evan Turner has had a bit of an enigmatic start to his NBA career. In just his second year, Sixers fans and NBA junkies alike, are still not entirely sure what Turner is, or is going to be. As the second overall pick of the perplexing “more flash than substance” 2010 draft, Turner’s abilities and capabilities where rightfully questioned starting early at Ohio State.
Those questions haven’t ceased.
Some gathered that Turner would be one of the best overall products of the draft. Standing at 6-7, 205 pounds, he was drawing comparisons to one Brandon Roy, passing the eye test as a big combo guard with a natural born scorers touch and feel for the game of basketball.
Others weren’t so pleased with Turner, crediting his athletic ability and inability to catch and shoot as giant, blood red flags.
So far in his youthful career, both sides have been right.
Evan Turner is a scorer, which is not to be mistaken as a shooter. For Turner to score, he needs to create a flow; a flow for himself within a game. He needs to find his role early on to then figure out how to attack and be, well, Evan Turner.
His gift at getting to the rim and finishing on a consistent basis has prevented him from developing a strong pick-and-pop, catch and shoot game; something that would arguably guarantee him more minutes under Collins.
But this is all information we’ve all heard, read, and talked about before. The question still remains, what is Evan Turner? What will Evan Turner be? How do we get more of the New Orleans Evan Turner (21 points on 8-12 shooting, 6-rebounds, 4-assists in 31-minutes) and less Utah Evan Turner (0 points on 0-5 shooting, 3-rebounds, 2-assits, one turnover in 18-minutes).
For those that say “start him”, you might want to stop reading now.
I don’t care how streaky Jodie Meeks’ shooting has become, starting ET is not what’s best for him, this years’ team or the future of this franchise.
The best scenario for Turner? It’s to do nothing different than Collins is doing now. You stay on this path, on this pace. You give him as much as his young NBA mind can take. When he proves himself, you gradually give him more. If he fails, you take it back.
He’s like a teenager learning how to drive. Like we’ve all done, you start slow in an empty parking lot somewhere. You soon graduate to driving around the neighborhood, hopefully avoiding mailboxes and small children. Then, it’s the main roads. The main roads at night. The main roads in bad weather. Only after becoming comfortable with those circumstances and climates do you send that 16-year old up the turnpike.
Right now, Turner is still learning how to drive the massive car that is the NBA around the neighborhood.
As a famous and insane Hollywood/comic-book clown once said, “It’s all part of the plan”.
Sure, you need to play him more than 18-minutes as he did against Utah, and yes Collins might want to get him in a little earlier in the first quarter for ET to develop a better feel for the game. But that’s it. Turner needs to continue to develop, learn, and realize that in today’s NBA, being a talented scorer isn’t enough to just give you playing time. It’s earned based on your resume. Right now, his resume is as good as a high school dropout due to his inexperience and lack of knowledge.
ET seems to be getting more comfortable in his reserve role for the 7-6; even if it is a temporary comfort. He has provided flashes of energy and offensive brilliance alongside Louis and Thad, coming off the pine. As teams like the Bulls and Mavericks proved last year, having those types of players and options on your bench is just as, if not more important, than the starting five. The ability to trust your second unit as much as your first is what makes championship teams in this league.
Without a bench, you’re just the 2011 Miami Heat. And we all saw how that played out.
I’m not insinuating that I wouldn’t like to see Turner start. I’m also not saying that I think the 7-6 drafted a glorified bench man with their second overall pick. What I’m trying to say is that some of the 94WIP Sixers fans need to slow down. This team is young. Turner is young. Trust in the system. Trust in Collins. Trust in management.
So far, at an exciting 10-3, with numerous blowouts under their belt and Turner hitting for 10, 6 & 3 per night, there is no reason to ruin a good thing.
There is no reason to throw a 16-year old out on the Schuylkill Expressway at rush hour.