NBA Draft #2 overall pick Evan Turner got off to a great start in NBA Summer League. However, after his first game things went down hill. In the opener of the NBA summer league in Orlando, Turner had 12 points and eight rebounds to help the Philadelphia 76ers beat Derrick Favors and the New Jersey Nets 84-74. Turner got the better of a match-up between the #2 and #3 picks in the Draft, playing even better than his box score would indicate. But he really struggled in his last four summer league contests.
The Ohio State product, Big Ten Player of the year, and Wooden and Naismith award winner has flourished in the open court, but struggled massively in half court sets.
By Paul M. Banks
Turner has said it himself recently in the Philadelphia Inquirer
“Horrible. It’s not what I expected of myself. I’m not proud of the way I’ve played. But I’m glad for the experience,” Turner said.
“You just have to play through it. Sometimes you have to take the bumps and play through that frustration and get on to the next play. It’s a little whirlwind getting acclimated to new surroundings, a new system and everything. It’s a lot quicker. You can’t do certain things you could do in college. You have to make your moves much quicker,” Turner continued.
When “His Royal Smoothness” was drafted, it was believed he and Jrue Holiday would comprise the 76ers backcourt for the next decade. But he looked slow, and anything but smooth during most of his summer league minutes. He struggled to create his own shot, and looked very tentative. And what held him back could be mental, not physical. For the Sixers organization, that should be easier to fix. Getting him in the right frame of mind could be a more correctable task than somehow making him quicker off the dribble.
But after reviewing the game film on ESPN True Hoop’s NBA Playbook, and reading the analysis of Sebastian Pruiti, I would infer that Turner’s ineffectiveness and tentativeness was partially due to the ball-hogging of his teammates Marreese Speights, Jodie Meeks, and even Holiday himself. Lots of players use this league as a platform to make a name for themselves, and as such often miss the open looks of their teammates.
Turner got passed up by some of his teammates on bunnies and open looks that would have bolstered his numbers and made his box scores more in line with pre-draft expectations. His final line for the 5-game exhibition reads: 9.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 33% field goal percentage.
Of course, it’s WAY TOO EARLY to say Turner won’t meet his lofty expectations. It all depends on how he adjusts between now and the tip-off of the regular season. Maybe Turner will gain poise and perspective from his struggles? Or maybe he’s still just adjusting to the NBA game? Stephen Curry had a less than stellar summer league last season, but he still ended up on pretty much everybody’s NBA All-Rookie teams last season.
76ers Coach Doug Collins and GM Ed Stefanski have both said they are not surprised by Turner’s slow start. Both have brought up the fact that he hasn’t played organized basketball since his Ohio State Buckeyes were eliminated by the upstart Tennessee Volunteers in the sweet sixteen round of March Madness.
Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru