For the first time since being drafted no. 2 overall in the 2010 NBA draft, Evan Turner is in a position to lead the Philadelphia 76ers. He has been through a lot in his first three seasons in the NBA, facing many critics for his inconsistent play. But now he is in the final year of his contract and it’s a guarantee the team won’t sign him to an extension before the October 31 deadline, allowing Turner to hit free agency at the conclusion of the season.
Turner has never been a fan favorite in Philadelphia because people don’t think he has lived up to the hype of being a no. 2 overall pick. Last year, he averaged 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists. The only other players in the entire NBA who had at least those numbers were Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant and Lebron James.
That is very good company to be in, but the problem with Turner is the inefficiency at which he produces. He shot 41.9 percent last year and had a PER of only 12.16, below the average of 15.
Regardless of what you think of Turner thus far, you are going to see a ton of him in year four as a Sixers fan. By default, he is the most talented player on this roster and will have the ball in his hands the majority of the time. I think it’s pretty safe to say he sadly won’t be back with the Sixers next year, so what does Turner have to do to show other teams he’s worth a contract?
First, he needs to make other players better. If he can bring up his assists and make guys like Tony Wroten and Daniel Orton look good, it will help Turner’s long-term chances. He also needs to show an improved jump shot and improvement on the defensive end. He is going to draw the best defender on every team this year because he is the Sixers’ best offensive player, meaning shots won’t be easy to come by. Turner has to get to the lane and the free throw line.
So far in the preseason, he is shooting 44 percent, which is an upgrade from previous seasons. He has also gotten to the free throw line 37 times in five games, which will be huge in improving his efficiency. The only knock I would say is that he is averaging almost four turnovers a game, but that is going to happen when you have the ball in your hands all the time.
2013 is going to be a long season for the Sixers, but it will be Turner’s last chance to prove he can be a star in this league.