It seems to be a recurring theme that we are talking about a multitude of events that are NOT the current NBA Conference Finals series, while the NBA Conference Finals is ongoing. Last week it was LeBron James and this week it's the Draft Lottery.
While the big news this morning was that Washington beat the odds to essentially claim the rights to John Wall come June 24, it would be silly not to look at the other major players that were as good as given to teams this morning.
The Philadelphia 76ers struck gold by landing the second pick overall and will likely select Evan Turner, a Junior from Ohio State University. Notice how I didn't put what position Turner is before mentioning him. This is due to the fact that he is undeniably the best all-around player and prospect in the upcoming draft.
What do you mean he doesn't play a position?
Point Guard, Shooting Guard or Small Forward. Take your pick. Turner can play any of those three, although in college he was primarily used as a wing. If you haven't heard of the man let me quickly break down his achievements.
In 2010 he was selected a First Team All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Tournament's Most Outstanding Player. He swept the National Player of the Year Awards as well, winning the AP, Naismith and Wooden Awards as well as countless others.
In his Junior season Turner averaged an impressive 20.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 6 APG, 1.7 SPG and 0.9 BPG on 52% from the field and 76% from the charity stripe. He averaged 36 minutes per contest and lead the Buckeyes to become the 2010 Big Ten Tournament Champions.
Now flash back to the present situation. What will Turner's impact be for the 76ers.
I happen to believe his impact will be monumental. At 6'7" Turner is an outstanding scorer, slasher, ball-handler and play-maker. While his perimeter shot could use some work, it is still reliable from mid-range and he should have no problem improving from deep. He plays solid defense and does everything on the basketball court well. His all-around skill set has prompted scouts to compare him to Brandon Roy, a former lottery pick who came out of college as a polished offensive player who could run the offense from multiple positions.
When you think of the Philadelphia 76ers you think of a talented team, who in recent years have had success but have not been regarded as a successful team. Their main problem has been their lack of a go-to-guy, an element they have severely lacked since the glory days of the Allen Iverson era. The closest thing the Sixers have had to "the man" has been Andre Iguodala, but all would agree he has not developed into the franchise player that Philly has needed.
Iguodala thrives as a second option and when he doesn't have all the focus of the defense on him. This is because he is a slasher and disruptive defensive presence who can do a lot of little things to help a team win, but not carry them on his back offensively. His all-around statistics are nothing to laugh at, but most knowledgeable NBA fans would agree that Iguodala is more in the mold of a Scottie Pippen than Michael Jordan.
So where does Evan Turner fit in all this?
Evan Turner can be that man. He is a flat-out stud who can be that superstar the 76ers so desperately need. Like all rookies he will need time to develop, but he could become that man, just as Brandon Roy has for the Portland Trailblazers. In addition he would only add to the talented young duo they already have in Marreese Speights and Jrue Holiday. I guess it's not so bad either when you have those three and round out the roster with names like Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Louis Williams, Elton Brand and Sam Dalembert.
Looking at the big picture it is truly the pairing of Turner and Iguodala on the wings that should be paid attention to. Iguodala has needed a player to take attention off him, so that he can strive in his role as a secondary star. How many duos in the NBA can you name that are equally dangerous at scoring the basketball and creating shots for their teammates? Turner and Iguodala would become one such duo, leaving little to be desired in terms of incredible all-around versatility. Acquiring Evan Turner could mean big things for Iguodala and the pair could emerge as one of the most productive and effective tandems in the league.
This is a situation that all true fans of the NBA should be watching. It seems like the Philadelphia 76ers just took a gigantic stride towards returning to relevancy.
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