According to Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times, Turner waxed philosophically about last season's Philadelphia 76ers team prior to Friday night's game between Indiana and Philly, and he believed the combination of himself and a healthy Bynum would have radically altered the course of the franchise:
Evan Turner on if Bynum had played for #Sixers: "We would've been a title contender & a lot of people still would've been working here."— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) March 14, 2014
Of course, Bynum didn't play a single game for the Sixers following a blockbuster four-team trade in the summer of 2012 which brought him to Philadelphia from the Los Angeles Lakers, while sending Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Vucevic to the Orlando Magic.
The mercurial big man sat out the entire season with a knee injury, and Sixers management decided to go in a new direction in the offseason, hiring general manager Sam Hinkie and head coach Brett Brown to replace Doug Collins.
Hinkie immediately put his stamp on the franchise with a stunning draft-night trade of All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for 2013 first-rounder Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick.
With the exception of power forward Thad Young, the few remaining holdovers from 2012-13 were jettisoned in a flurry of February trade-deadline deals that saw Turner, Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes all moved, mostly for draft picks.
Philly came into Friday losers of their last 18 games in a row; a fact that Bynum saw as a transparent attempt at bottoming out for the No. 1 overall pick, per Vito:
Andrew Bynum on the #Sixers : "This year's been all about getting the No. 1 pick for them."— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) March 14, 2014
But would a lineup of Bynum, Thad Young, then-small forward Jason Richardson, Turner and Holiday truly have made a title contender? Probably not. The 2011-12 club lucked out by facing a Chicago Bulls team that lost Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to injury during their first round series. Though they did give the Boston Celtics a tough battle in the second round, they were far from a contender.
That team traded leader and defensive linchpin Andre Iguodala for Bynum, a player ill-suited to leading a younger squad.
Though things may seem bleak for Philly at the moment, they made the right move in breaking up that team. Grantland's Bill Simmons is a huge fan of the haul they got for Holiday:
I loved that trade last summer and love it even more now that New Orleans is flopping in the West. Philly got somewhere between 130 and 200 cents on the dollar, depending on where that second pick lands, for someone who wasn’t a franchise player.
In all honesty, there were no franchise players on the 2012-13 76ers. Players like Bynum, Turner and Holiday have not proven reliable enough to lead a championship contender, regardless of what they themselves might think.
* All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.