2010 NBA Draft: An Open Letter To Philadelphia 76ers...Please Draft Evan Turner

Bryan Toporek@@btoporekFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 13:  Guard Evan Turner #21 of the Ohio State Buckeyes controls the ball against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the semifinals of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Dear Philadelphia 76ers,

So, you've got a pretty important night tonight, huh?

No pressure or anything, but it's not an exaggeration to say the No. 2 draft pick you hold tonight could shape the direction of your franchise for the next decade.

After Washington selects John Wall at No. 1, you'll be on the clock with Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, and Wesley Johnson at your disposal.

There's only one way you can go here, Sixers.

You have to draft Evan Turner.

You know this. 

You even created a website prematurely about drafting him.  (Then you put up websites for Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins too…very clever of you, Sixers.)

Still, crazy things happen in the final hours leading up to the draft.  I'm here to remind you to not become one of the draft-day victims wondering how in the hell you just got duped into picking Ed Davis or Cole Aldrich instead of Turner.

In case you need a final refresher course on Turner, remember, he's college's reigning national player of the year.  Turner's a guy who averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and six assists per game this past season for Ohio State, leading his team to a regular season and a Big 10 tournament championship. 

Turner can 76ers-win-no-2-pick-five-reasons-to-draft-evan-turner#page/3">play the point at shooting guard, or at small forward (but he'll work best as an SG); already has a killer highlight-reel game-winning shot, and had the gumption to return to the court four weeks after breaking two vertebrae in his back

Seriously.  Stop and think about that last one for a second.

The kid fractured two vertebrae, only missed six games for the Buckeyes (they went 3-3 in his absence), and threw down 32 points in a game six days after he returned.  Against Division 1 athletes.

Turner encored with three straight double-doubles in the coming weeks; a 20-13-8 against Northwestern, an 18-11-4 at West Virginia, and a 16-12-7 against Iowa.

Turner broke his back on December 5.  His 20-13-8 against Northwestern occurred on January 19.  He recovered enough in six weeks from two broken vertebrae to nearly post a triple-double in Big 10 conference play. 

"[Coach Matta] said if you're hurt and you can play, it shows how good you are," Turner said. "The best players play well when they're hurt. That really stuck in the back of my mind."

If I broke two vertebrae in my back, I wouldn't dream of going back to my job after six weeks.  And all I do is type on a computer all day.

That toughness makes Turner a player you don't pass up.

Still not convinced?  I mean, beggers can't be choosers, here, Sixers, but...

This should make Turner even more enticing: Unlike Wall, the presumed No. 1 pick, Turner didn't enter college as a highly-hyped, one-and-done prospect. 

" Evan was not the best middle school player in the city or things like that," Mike Mullins (his AAU coach) told ESPN. "He didn't start varsity until he was a junior in high school. But he always yearned for more. He always had something to prove."

Rivals.com ranked Turner as the 13th best small forward in his class back in 2007 and the 47th  best player nationally. Scout.com fared a little better, ranking him 16th  nationwide, but still stopped short of calling Turner a can't-miss prospect in college.

You think they'd like a re-do on those scouting reports, knowing what they now know?

Turner evolved from a Top-50 player into the national player of the year in three years time.  To me, that's suggesting Turner has a work ethic that rivals the NBA greats. 

In fact, you, Ed Stefanski, you said it yourself!  You said, "All reports we get is that he's a gym rat." 

When your alternatives are Derrick Favors and his suddenly questionable conditioning, or DeMarcus Cousins and his 16.4 percent body fat, don't you go for the guy who's already shown a commitment to improving his body as well as his basketball skills?

At this point, I don't really care about the fit between Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, and Turner. Yes, all three work best with the ball in their hands, and no, none of the three have a consistent three-point shot yet.

Worst case scenario: Try it out for a few months and see if it works.  If not, blow it up in February at the trade deadline.

You're coming off a 27-win season here.  Before miraculously landing the No. 2 pick, enthusiasm for the Sixers couldn't have been much lower in the city.

Drafting a long-term project in Favors (especially when you just traded for one in Spencer Hawes), a potential Eddy Curry in Cousins, or yet another wing player in Johnson (what, Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Jason Kapono, and Rodney Carney aren't enough?) would only destroy what little excitement we fans had about the draft going in.

We cashed in on a six percent chance to land this pick.  We have the prospect of drafting a franchise star in Turner—a guy who can come in and immediately make an impact from Day One.

Please, please, please, make the right choice tonight.

Draft Evan Turner.

Philadelphia may even start to care about the Sixers again if you do.                                                                                                          

From a concerned friend/fan,                                                           




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