Prior to Wednesday night’s career high 26 point breakout game against the Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers’ 2nd year forward Evan Turner had scored a total of 27 points in his previous 7 games combined, coming off the bench for coach Doug Collins.
Many of the Philly faithful fans had begun wondering not only when and if Turner would ever get his chance to shine as a regular starter but if he would ever live up to his rather lofty expectations as the #2 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
After earning National Player of the Year honors at Ohio State 2 years ago, everyone thought Turner was going to be the savior in Philly, the next great superstar after Allen Iverson, leading the 76ers back to respectability. But success came slow for the former Lottery pick in his rookie season as he averaged a paltry 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds, playing only 23 minutes per game off the bench.
Although Turner worked feverishly with famed shooting coach Herb Magee this past Summer at improving his jump-shot, Turner has again been a mixed bag in his 2nd season, essentially putting up similar stats, once again struggling to get playing time, averaging only 24 minutes per game.
That was until Wednesday’s coming out party, where Even seemed to put everything together, scoring a career high 26 points, to go along with 9 rebounds. He seemed to have an extra spring in his step, continually taking the ball to the rack with authority, and doing an outstanding defensive job on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
Now the obvious question arises, has the real Evan Turner finally arrived in South Philly or was his outstanding game just a one-hit wonder? Conflicting reports from several well respected Philly sports writers broke a story prior to the breakout game, that Turner may have been suffering through an undisclosed, yet serious, medical condition or family problems that contributed to his disappointing play.
I think the story is fabricated, especially since Turner has been spotted around town recently with his new girlfriend , former Temple University hottie Chels Bella. Wouldn’t you be happy?
In my opinion, Turner has not been used properly. Initially, Coach Collins was under the impression that Turner and longtime starter Andre Iguodala couldn’t share the floor at the same time because they possess similar skill sets, but upon further review of his collegiate highlights, Turner is most comfortable with the ball.
Doug Collins has gone on record stating that Turner will be in the starting backcourt alongside fellow promising age 23 and under future star Jrue Holiday, in addition to Iguodala on the wing for the remainder of the season. Turner will play point guard, with Holiday moving to shooting guard, and Iguodala remaining the resident lock down defender and highlight reel dunker.
Maybe the 6‘7 and 230lb Turner will become the next in line of big point guards like Magic Johnson and Penny Hardaway? That may be a stretch, but Turner definitely improves the Sixers’ rebounding numbers, since he has averaged 10.5 rebounds in his short stint as starter. He also is a more than capable defender with a clear advantage to shoot over smaller point guards.
Was moving Turner to the point the right decision for the recently slumping (lost 7 of 10 games) Sixers?
Check out Evan Turner’s breakout game vs Boston:
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.