THE RIGHT MOVE

In 2010 when the Sixers drafted Evan Turner the 6’7 guard from Ohio State, the one question people were asking was, “Where are we going to play him?”

At the time, it was a legitimate concern as the “franchise” player for the 76ers, Andre Iguodala, plays a very similar style of basketball.  Now in 2011-2012, people have been wondering when second year player Evan Turner was going to get the minutes a second overall pick deserves.  Prior to the Milwaukee game,  Doug had played Turner a very low 23.7 minutes per game.  That’s not a whole lot of minutes for a lottery pick.

well, apparently Doug and the front office finally decided they needed to see Turner’s potential and where his skills stand when measured against premiere NBA players.  In short it was time for Turner to start and as he showed vs. Boston Wednesday night, Turner has potential.  But that potential apparently comes with an asterisk as Turner needs the ball in his hands to be successful.  That fact opens up a host of possibilities for the Sixers but also raises a new personnel question.

From what I have seen throughout this season, Turner is having a little bit of trouble moving without the ball.  This ultimately suggested something wild for Turner.  Maybe he is, as some have suggested, an NBA point guard.  He certainly looked like a capable point man Wednesday night, but we won’t know for certain until we have a larger sample size of games to study.  For Turner to develop his point guard skills and be properly evaluated by the Sixers brass, he needs more minutes and starts at the lead guard spot.  According to Collins, that’s all coming his way — finally.

Still, when you look back at how the Sixers have handled Turner, the stats are a little distrubing.  According to nba.com, Evan Turner gets the 10th most minutes out of all second year players.  Even more shocking news about Turner’s lack of minutes (up until recently) is that a player such as Landry Fields, the second round draft pick for the Knicks in 2010, is averaging seven more minutes than Turner.  He was the number two pick overall and large part of the future success of this franchise rests with determining whether or not this kid can play at a high level in the League.  Based on that one would have thought that Turner would have been in the top 5 with regards to minutes played among the 2010 Draft class long before now.     

But those mistakes are in the past and Turner will now see all the burn he can handle.  So for most of you reading this, you must be wondering, “So now what do we do with Jrue Holiday?”  Holiday is a very talented player, but he is playing just average this season.  His 4.5 assists per game, ranks him 30th in the NBA in assists.  Hedo Turkoglu is averaging more assists.  There is no way that a 6’10 forward should be averaging more assists then the starting point guard for the Sixers.  With that being said; Jrue is still a great player.  He has a solid, improving jumper and as we all know, plays great defense.  Sometimes though he needs to work on his decision making.  I cannot criticize Jrue too much as he is only 21 years old and still developing.   Which is why Holiday has an incredible amount of potential trade value. 

Though it remains an uncertainty, Turner’s sudden emergence for the Sixers  is a huge plus for the franchise in so many ways.  It gives the Sixers added flexibility at the deadline, should they choose to make a big move.  Personally I do not see Spencer Hawes coming back at 100% anytime soon.  Perhaps the Sixers could trade Holiday for Jason Thompson from Sacramento.  JT could either start for the 7-6 or be brought off the bench early for Nikola Vucevic.  He is a productive versatile big man, who averages 8 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.

Or the Sixers can continue to run Turner, Holiday and Iguodala together and look to dismantle teams with their athleticism, defense and speed.  It certainly worked well against the red-hot (but also old and tired) Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. 

Whatever direction Rod Thorn and Doug Collins decide to go, one thing is for sure, continuing to put Evan Turner’s name in the first-five each night is the right move for this franchise now and in the long run.

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