The career of Evan Turner was at a crossroads. A new regime was taking over in Philadelphia, led by a general manager in Sam Hinkie whose plan was to tear down every part of the 76ers organization and build it back up. As the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Turner ought to have been the kind of player, at this point in his career, a team would hope to build around. Instead, after three middling seasons, the former Ohio State star entered the final year of his rookie deal with a new coach and a lot to prove. Turner is finding his way this season, averaging 19.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists while also increasing his free-throw attempts and shooting better from the field. He’s thrived in the high-octane system installed by coach Brett Brown, facilitating the offense more than he has in years past. “I’m used to having the ball in my hands a little bit more,” Turner told The Post earlier this week. “To a certain extent, I’ve been trying to get better at playing off the ball and all this stuff, but at the end of the day, you are who you are. “In my first few years, I was playing off the ball mostly and still trying to figure it out, on top of being judged so much on my high draft status, so it took some getting used to, and I still have to get better at it.” After a stellar college career at Ohio State, including a brilliant junior season in which he averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, Turner was thought to have star potential when the Sixers chose him second overall in 2010 – one spot before the Nets took big man Derrick Favors, who later became a key piece in the Deron Williams trade, and before a host of other players off to more productive starts to their careers: DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Larry Sanders and Eric Bledsoe. But Turner, unlike many of those players, came into the league playing a similar position to an elite player already on the team’s roster. Swingman Andre Iguodala was Philadelphia’s star player in Turner’s first two seasons in the league, until he was shipped to Denver as part of the four-team deal that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers and Andrew Bynum to the Sixers. “You have to wait your turn,” Turner said. “I was sitting behind an NBA All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist, so obviously I’ve got to take baby steps. I wasn’t in a situation where they traded off a guy to get me going or to get me acclimated. I had to wait. “You look at other situations when guys are rookies, they get rid of those guys to build around them. I just wasn’t granted that same opportunity. But I learned a lot in that situation, and I was able to make the playoffs and help this franchise do some pretty cool things.” Those things quickly came to a halt last season, however, when Turner and the Sixers spent the season waiting to see whether Bynum would be able to overcome his balky knees and get on the court. Instead, Bynum spent the entire season on the sidelines, and the Sixers bottomed out, going 34-48 and missing the playoffs, which led to Doug Collins leaving as coach and Tony DiLeo being dismissed as general manager. That left Turner’s long-term status with the organization decidedly up in the air after the contract extension deadline came and went without him getting an agreement to remain in Philadelphia past this season.
Evan Turner is the prince of Philly — but for how long?
New York Post | Dec 21