The Philadelphia 76ers got back-to-back wins for the first time since they started the season at 3-0 with their 114-102 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Evan Turner paced the Sixers with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting with five rebounds and six assists.
Turner is continuing the trend of playing exceedingly better in the team’s wins than he does in their losses. In 10 wins, Turner is averaging 23.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field. In the 20 losses in which he has appeared in, his numbers are at 17.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists on only 41 percent shooting.
As Turner goes, so seems the 76ers, which is going to make GM Sam Hinkie‘s job quite difficult when free agency hits in July. The case is there for Hinkie to re-sign the former no. 2 overall pick. All of his numbers are at or near career-highs, including his impressive 19.5 points per game. Head coach Brett Brown seems to be a fan of Turner and Thaddeus Young‘s veteran presence and leadership on the court, and he has developed an excellent two-man game with big man Spencer Hawes.
There are also reasons not to re-sign Turner: his questionable shot selection, struggling body language on the court and his struggles with on-ball defense.
But the kicker for me when it comes down to it is this: what is the team really going to get in terms of a replacement player for even money? Turner’s qualifying offer is $8.7 million, and here are just a few of the names of free agents next year who are currently making around that much: Rodney Stuckey, Jameer Nelson, Ben Gordon, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, Trevor Ariza, Charlie Villanueva and Andris Biedrins. Are you really going to tell me you would rather have one of those guys than you would Turner?
I know the Sixers are trying to rebuild and they have draft picks and cap room, but when it comes to guys like Turner and Hawes, Hinkie has to realize he’s not going to get a better player than he already has for the money they command. Hinkie has a tough decision to make in July, and Turner is not making it any easier with his play on the court.