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How Evan Turner Can Improve His Game for the Philadelphia 76ers

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How Evan Turner Can Improve His Game for the Philadelphia 76ers
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On Wednesday night, it was No. 1 vs. No. 2.

No, not San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Something far more exciting: The 18-26 Philadelphia 76ers hosting those 11-32 Washington Wizards.

But in the midst of all that on-floor mediocrity featured the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, John Wall, facing the man chosen directly after him that year: Evan Turner.

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Just like their respective jugger-not teams, it’s been a struggle for both to rise to a level of prominence. Wall, who missed the first 33 games this season due to a knee injury, has none-the-less seen his statistics steadily decline each year he’s been in the league. In contrast, Turner has progressively improved upon his.

However, it’s safe to say that neither has reached his respective peak just yet, and in Turner’s case, there are certainly areas of his game that can clearly develop.

For one, he needs to use his natural abilities and take it to the hoop.

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When someone shoots a career-high—and is among the league leaders—from beyond the arc, it’s very tempting to settle for the jumper more times than not, even when the opportunity to create a lane to the basket presents itself.

With apologies to Kanye West, considering Turner is typically bigger, faster and stronger than the defender guarding him, there is no reason he shouldn’t be exploiting this. Consequently, it would result in more trips to the line and a higher percentage of made shots. This will easily jack up his points per game, currently hovering around 14, by at least a few more a night.

The following shot breakdown, courtesy of www.82games.com, illustrates his overreliance on the jump shot, his selection of choice for 81 percent of his attempts, and converted at a far lower rate: 

Shot

Att.

eFG%

Ast'd

Blk'd

Pts

Jump

81%

.449

46%

5%

9.4

Close

17%

.510

46%

21%

2.3

Dunk

1%

1.000

71%

0%

.3

Tips

1%

.500

0%

0%

.1

This reality goes hand in hand with his choice to remain passive with the ball. Too often he overdribbles, missing out on the opportunity to find the cutting man or power his way into the paint.

Here’s another telling stat, courtesy of www.basketball-reference.com: Turner currently ranks 11th on his own team in offensive rebounding percentage (ORB%), an estimate of the percentage of available offensive rebounds a player grabs while on the floor.

To put that into perspective, that ranks below the likes of Damien Wilkins and Royal Ivey. Let that stew in your mind for a while.

Turner also needs to get out of his own way at times. His body language and facial expressions on the court when things don’t go his way—like a questionable or missed call or a poor decision—often reek of immaturity. It also tends to affect his subsequent play; something Coach Doug Collins has referred to earlier in ET’s career when his minutes were more closely monitored.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Yes, he’s still young, but as a second overall pick, the general expectation is that you have to grow up a lot faster. In order for Turner to ever be able to take his game to the next level, he’ll first need to lead by example.

All in all, the raw skills are there for this former No. 2 to eventually be considered a No. 1. Quite frankly, figuring out how to make that happen should be the Sixers' No. 1 priority.

(Oh, and to quash those throwing the “bust” word around for ET, check out these badass highlights):

 

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