It seemed like ever since the summer league and throughout the entire preseason, NBA critics were labeling the No. 2 overall pick, Evan Turner a bust. It is pretty safe to say that there was only one sure-fire thing in the draft and that was John Wall, but Evan Turner seemed quite close himself racking up national player of the year in college and about every other major award that he could of won.
Turner was dubbed the 76ers shooting guard of the future, which only fueled more criticism when he was not selected for Doug Collins' opening day starting five. Thoughts were that he could not operate without the ball in his hands and he could not co-exist with point guard Jrue Holiday.
Evan Turner may not be making an early case for Rookie of the Year or anything, but he is surely shedding the "bust" label quite quickly.
Turner is averaging 10 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists per game. These numbers indeed are not incredible but they are solid for a young man who is coming into a situation where it is not yet certain what his role will be. Some tab him as the prototypical 2 while others see him as a hybrid guard who can control the ball while Holiday works off the ball.
Either way, Evan Turner is starting to show that he can produce. In his first two career starts due to Andre Iguodala's injury, Turner is averaging 14.5 points and nine rebounds per game in 37 minutes. He is starting to look much more comfortable in Doug Collins' offense and is settling into a role with this team.
If Turner continues this solid progression, he will put the "bust" proclaimers to bed very soon and perhaps even make a push for rookie of the year if he can crack the starting lineup and the Sixers begin winning a little more. However, that does not seem to be the goal.
Doug Collins seems to be simply trying to make Turner more comfortable and more confident at the same time. Notice that even when Turner was coming off the bench, he was still playing during very crucial parts of the game late in the fourth quarter.
This seemed to be Collins' way of saying that Turner is going to contribute whether he is starting or not. This undoubtedly begs the question, should he be starting?
According to reports, Iguodala returned to practice and is expected to start tomorrow against Dallas. Not to say that it is a certain, but now that Turner and Holiday have found some chemistry, do not be surprised to see another new starting lineup for Philly: Holiday, Turner, Iguodala, Brand and Hawes.
This would come at the expense of losing Andres Nocioni in the starting lineup who has definitely added some much-needed toughness and shooting touch. But if Turner is ready, he's ready.
Either way, if Turner does return to the Sixers bench, the two games of extended playing time, especially with Holiday, have certainly been good for him and surely Collins will continue to find ways to keep Turner's upward progression going.
Evan Turner's greatest intangible is that he has a true passion for winning, which he indeed shares with his new head coach. With that being said, we should not expect to see Turner sitting on the bench very often anymore.