Bust, Bum, Can’t shoot, Head Case, Looks like a Twelve year-old kid calling for the Ball…All this sound familiar? Yes, that would be Evan Turner, to which I am referring too. Those sayings were all common themes for Evan. Dare I say it? Until this year? Well, damn…It sure looks that way.
There have been many articles written about this dude. Some saying he just needs to play (earlier on in his career). I remember writing one a couple years back about his playing time:
Turner is only averaging 20 minutes a game, and overall this season he is averaging 23 minutes a game. For example here are some of his 2010 draft classmates that are averaging more minutes than him. Gordon Hayward 27.5 minutes a game, John Wall 37 minutes a game, Greg Monroe 33 minutes a game, and DeMarcus Cousins 29.5 minutes a game.In Turner’s last 12 games he has not even reach the 20 minute plateau in 6 of them.
I used to love calling Cousins a moron. Well, still do. It was always perplexing how Turner (only 34 starts in his first two years) didn’t get much tic early on in his career. Even in his second year, there were issues of playing time. Then last year he finally got the time (35.5 minutes a game), he had a few glimpse of hope, but for the most part struggled. It would be different if he was a second round pick or even a late round pick. This dude was the number 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft.
In his first two seasons he averaged only 24.7 minutes a game. That’s pretty DAMN low for that high of a draft pick. Yes, it was likely because of Iguodala/Lou-Will’s presences on this team but still very low. The fact that Doug Collins was extremely tough on him and the fact that they couldn’t stand each other may have helped too. Though the same can be said for Derrick Favors (drafted right after Turner, 3rd overall) of the Utah Jazz, who has only averaged 21.9 minutes in his career. He was stuck behind Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Now Favors is finally getting the time that he needs (averaging 34 minutes this year) in his fourth year.
A common theme in the NBA is that usually you know what a type of player a player is going to be by his third year. The problem with Evan was that last year was his first real year to learn on the court. The only real way to learn and grow on the court is to be out on the court. You can only learn so much by listening to players and coaches. You have to go out on the court make mistakes and learn from them. You learn by being in different situations of a game. Learning how to play in a tight-game with two minutes left, being that guy that your teammates look too, to come up with a big-play in a key situation.
Maybe, this is the year that Turner is learning from his previous mistakes, in his fourth year, when it should have been his third year. Zack Lowe of Grantland.com, put Evan on his “All-Intriguing Team”. Basically, saying it is now or never for Turner. Lowe:
Turner still holds some appeal to old-guard GMs who remember when teams barely used the 3-point shot and needed ball handlers who could find slivers of space even with all 10 players packed below the top of the key. But that league doesn’t exist anymore.
He’s got a nifty herky-jerky game full of crossovers, behind-the-back dribbles, abrupt pull-ups, and spins that dazzle when they work.
Zack also talked about how Turner would do his herky-jerky game full of crossovers and seemly be going nowhere. That was very true of Turner. Turner really would do all his behind the back dribbles, pull-ups, spins and really be going nowhere. That is not happening this year. He is going somewhere. That some where is the rim. He averaging 6 attempts per game from the charity strip, compared to only averaging 2 attempts for his career. Turner is playing carefree and his game is better for it.
Turner knows that if he makes a mistake he can get back on the next play. He is not looking over his shoulder, seeing if he is coming out. He is not pouting/crying/whining or whatever you want to call it, anymore. He is just out there hoopin and that’s it. Guess what? He is actually playing off the ball better as well. His numbers have gone up across the board because of this.
He is shooting 48% from the field (career 43.3%). He is shooting 86% from the foul-line (career 75%). In the advance stat world, he is at 17.16 PER (career high is 12.69). Going into last night’s game against the Pelicans (that was fun), he was at 56.4 TS%(True Shooting Percentage). His career high is 48.8% his rookie year. His is also shooting better at the rim and is tied for fourth in the league in “Clutch Time” points (24) with Kevin Durant.
All those numbers are all well and good. BUT, what makes a difference in a player’s game is confidence. It’s early, but that is a different Evan Turner on the court, one that has confidence in his abilities. The likely hood of the Sixers and Hinkie moving forward with Evan are slim. BUT maybe, just maybe, a player that you can move forward with.
Yes, this was the year that the Sixers were supposedly “Tanking”, as of right now? Yeah, not so much…But hey, I am cool with it. First and for most, I am a fan. I will NEVER just sit there and root for the Sixers to lose. It’s just not in my DNA. If you do root for them to lose, I am not sure how you call yourself a fan if I’m being honest. Of course I want them to get a high draft pick, so they can continue the draft process, but just maybe they’re already a step higher then we thought.
Its waaaaaay early, but maybe this team could win 30-35 games this year? I know I had them around 17-18 wins this year like most. We all thought that this team was going to struggle with every part of the game-scoring, rebounding, defense, and turnovers. This team is built with guys that are getting their last chance, rookies, underachievers, and guys fighting for their next contracts.
There are two things that usually happen when players have their “backs against the wall” or even everyday people like us for that matter. One is that they succumb to the pressure. They just go into a shell and just can’t take the pressure. The other is that they come out fighting, laying everything on the line. They’re ready to run over any obstacle that is put in front of them. No matter what the cost is. They don’t care what anyone else thinks about them. They believe in themselves and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. In the first few weeks of the NBA season that is what the Sixers are doing. They have come swinging.
It’s funny as I am watching last nights game, I realized to myself that I am seeing something that I haven’t seen in awhile around these parts. This Sixers team has some “dog” in them. There was no better evidence then these few plays where Wroten and MCW both dived on the floor for the loose ball and the Sixers came up with it, Thad coming out of nowhere and blocking the hell out of Dion Waiters, when he could have easily just let him throw it down, then of course Thad again stealing the ball from Tristan Thompson. That was a play you see all the time where the player will grab the rebound and just kinda walk it out of the lane and set the offense up again. It happens all the time. What doesn’t happen is what Thad did.
Listen, I not trying to glorify this team. Really, I am not. But there is an excitement about this team. It’s the way they play and with the energy that they play with. All that starts with Thad and Wroten. Both go full tilt. MCW doesn’t shy away from anyone, even Orton brings physicality from the bench. All of this style has rubbed off on Turner and Hawes. Turner (shooting 55%. Career 43%) is playing with a chip on his shoulder and playing his best basketball maybe ever. He has seemed to conquer his own demons (whining, sulking and disappearing), while attacking the rim and not worrying if he is going to get the call or not.
Hawes has been equally as good (10.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game). Hawes has been very good with starting the break. His outlet passes have been very impressive, if there where “Hockey assists” in the NBA, Hawes might lead the league in them. He has been decent defensively as well (coming off 6 block shots performance). He also is shooting the ball well at 56% clip. And for you advance stat lovers- Hawes is at 23.42 per (21st overall).His career high is 18.19. Turner is at 22.21 per (34th overall). His career high is 12.69. So everyone is winning right now.
This whole Sixers thing could go up in flames. They could lose 17 of their next 20 games. BUT, all I know is that I am enjoying this ride while it last.
Well then, Bynum to retire? Nah, not until he gets DAT money. There was a time where I would be fully ready and willing to blast Bynum, but for some reason though, I kind of pity him now. Maybe, it’s because I just got back from vacation feeling fresh and delightful. Just delightful… Here’s a guy with all the talent in the world for a big-man, a throw-back type of big-man (back to the basket) in the ERA of “pick and pop” big-men. Here’s a guy that had the nastiness that could fit right into the “Bad-Boy” days of the NBA.
Yes, he has won two titles with the Lakers and to some that might be enough. Though there is something missing. Yes, his knees could rival ninety year old’s knees. Christ, some ninety year old’s knees might be better. He is still trying to salvage what he can for his career, likely just money from what we hear through media outlets about his personality. Though through his actions they seemed to be warranted (Vodka shots ordered during half-time and pre-game).
Bynum (averaging 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds this year) could have been the best center in the league for the next Ten years if he wanted to and if his knees allowed him to be. The guy looks to be on his last leg. Bynum talking to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Bynum:
“Retirement was a thought, it was a serious thought. It still is,” Bynum said after the Cavs practice Thursday at TempleUniversity. “It’s tough to enjoy the game of how limited I am physically. I’m working through that. Every now and again I do (think about retirement)…It’s still career threatening. I’m a shell of myself on the court right now. I’m just struggling mentally.” …
“I just want to be able to play without pain and find the joy again,” Bynum said. “Right now I’m battling pain and it’s annoying. I’m not able to do the things I’m used to doing and it’s frustrating.”
Maybe, he really is trying for once and the pain is just too much. It’s hard to feel bad for Bynum. We have heard and read all the stories of how Bynum doesn’t really care for basketball. He is just good at it. Maybe, if he loved the game he would have done the proper steps in his rehabbing or even earlier in his career and been able to push away his aging knees for a few more years.
When I think about it, I really should be pissed off at him. He’s is about to come strolling in on Friday Night and play more minutes on the Wells Fargo floor as a visitor, then he did as a home-player last season. I should boo the hell out of him after watching Nik Vucevic score 30 points and grab 21 rebounds just the other night. You can throw Moe Harkless and the future first round pick in there as well. Not because of his knees, but for his attitude. Bynum on if the Philly fans boo him. Bynum:
“I honestly don’t really care,” Bynum said. “I don’t know how they will treat me. I was hurt. It is what it is, and I’m still hurt. But I’m still trying.
“Sixers fans ‘are still great fans. While I was here, I got nothing but love. I don’t have any animosity or anything.” via CSNPhilly
But I won’t boo (even though I should). So in the end, like I said before, I feel some what pity for the guy. He will always be looked as “False Hope” around these parts. He will be remembered as a guy, who just really didn’t care. Maybe, even as a waste of talent. A guy that has ruined his reputation and what could have been legacy forever. Not because of his knees, but for his attitude and the way he handled things.