Evan Turner looked like he had a bright future when he first came into the NBA. Many people forget, but Turner was selected second overall in 2010 by the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that he is still currently playing for. As he heads into his the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, though, Turner may be playing for his basketball-life, in Philly at least.
The Sixers are the team that everyone is going to bring up when talking about tanking the upcoming season for the 2014 NBA Draft. This summer the organization has brought in Sam Hinkie as their new general manager, traded away their lone All-Star in Jrue Holiday, and haven’t bought out Kwame Brown’s contract. Those are all clear signs this team is tanking.
Outside of Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams and maybe Thaddeus Young, it’s really hard to imagine anyone that’s definitely going to be around for the future in Philadelphia. If Turner wants to be a piece in this rebuild of the Sixers, he’s going to have to be much better than he has been.
Turner started all 82 games for Philly last season and didn’t do much to amaze. He averaged only 13.3 points, 4.3 assists and 6.3 rebounds in 35.3 minutes per game while shooting only 41.9 percent from the floor, though he did shoot a career-high 36.5 percent from three. However, he also turned the ball over 2.3 times per game.
Turner wasn’t just sub-par offensively last season; he was actually somewhat of a liability. Overall last season he averaged just 0.82 points per possession, which ranked an abysmal 345th in the league. Moreover, he posted an unsettlingly high 14.1 percent turnover percentage. Those aren’t good signs, even for a young player.
All of the blame can’t be placed on Turner for his offensive struggles. Some of his issues were a result of former head coach Doug Collins, who notoriously resists advanced metrics and encourages mid-range jumpers, statistically the worst shot in basketball. At best, though, Turner’s struggles were a joint effort between him and Collins.
With Brett Brown coming in as the new head coach, though, Turner has to prove that he’s not a bust and that he can be valuable going forward. He has to show better ball-security and that he can be an efficient and effective scorer and playmaker in this league. If he submits another season like last year, he will probably be packing his bags next summer when he becomes a restricted free-agent.