Evan Turner: 10 Things We've Learned about the Philadelphia 76ers Rookie
May 18, 2010 was the night of the 2010 NBA lottery. Representing the Sixers was point guard Jrue Holiday.
We didn't expect much since the chances of us getting a high pick were slim.
The lottery balls were being tossed around and we thought: "We aren't going to get any of the big three guys, so what's the point?"
Well, it turns out we spoke too soon.
The Sixers were projected to get the sixth pick in the draft, but when Golden State got the sixth pick, you could see the smile growing on Holiday's face.
Then the fifth pick came around, and we still weren't called.
Then the fourth, the third and...
The Sixers got the second pick overall! (Not so lucky to get the first.)
The sneaky smirk on Holiday's face was priceless. He felt as if we got away with something and, for the first time, we caught a break.
The chance of this happening was unlikely, but it happened.
June 24, 2010 'twas the night the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Evan Turner.
Fate brought Turner into our hands for a reason.
Now Turner is working hard his rookie season, focusing on being a great NBA player and living up to his potential.
Whether good or bad, we're off to the 10 things we've learned about Turner so far this season.
10. Needs To Improve His Outside Shot
Entering the NBA, Turner didn't, and still does not, have the best outside shot.
If he wants to be a good shooting guard or small forward in the NBA, he needs to have a good long-range jumper.
Guys like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Dirk Nowitzki all have great jumpers.
These guys drop at least 20 points every game. That is something Turner must strive for.
Turner needs to shoot the ball well. That's just another thing he must focus on while developing into a very good NBA player.
9. He Must Be Aggressive
In Turner's freshman year at Ohio State, he was a very timid player. Not necessarily afraid, he just did not have the confidence level at the time.
In his sophomore and junior year, that timidness went away. He was a whole different player. A very aggressive one.
Now he's starting his rookie season in the NBA. He's not as timid as he was in his first year at Ohio State, but he needs to be that aggressive player he was in Ohio State last year.
This season there have been times where he's been very aggressive and others not at all.
The same could be said for Jrue Holiday's rookie year. In the beginning, he wasn't aggressive at all, but when he got playing time in the second half of the year, he was extremely aggressive.
Take a look at him now. He's a point guard on the rise with a lot of potential.
Turner can do the same thing as Holiday and succeed.
This is always a problem for rookies, so it should not be something really big to worry about. It's just another step in the process of developing.
8. He Must Use His Ball-Handling Skills
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One thing Turner must do is use his ball-handling skills to his advantage.
If you take a look at NBA players, 90 percent of them are super-athletic freaks. Even if they're not that good, they were drafted into the NBA because of their superior athleticism.
Turner was one of those few guys who was drafted not because of athleticism. Therefore, he must use his ball-handling skills to get by athletic defenders.
There are two different ways of scoring in the NBA: using your athletic ability to get you points (like LeBron James) or using your ball-handling skills to get you points (Brandon Roy).
Turner obviously falls into the category with Roy.
He also needs to use his craftiness and his body to get points. It's not going to be so easy to pull off, but I think Turner can do it.
7. He's Becoming a Better Team Player
At Ohio State, he was the one man show.
He wasn't a selfish player at all, he just scored, scored, scored...and scored.
We are now in the midst of his rookie season and head coach Doug Collins is teaching Turner how to become a better team player.
The lessons are slowly but surely paying off.
Turner is now playing much better with Holiday and their chemistry keeps on rising.
He is now trying to add a little bit of being a facilitator to his game. An ability every successful player has.
6. Learning To Be a Smart Player
When you're young, you are always going to make those rookie mistakes and make bad decisions from time to time.
Turner has made mistakes, but now they are starting to diminish. He is making the smarter decisions.
Instead of trying to break through a bunch of defenders, Turner is making better decisions like getting rid of the ball.
Even when he's not holding the ball, he's playing well off of it. He is running good pick-and-rolls and doing a great job of spreading out the offense.
Every game he learns more and more. He always gains something out of every game and fixes his mistakes the next.
It's just another sign of him becoming a very good NBA player.
5. Playing Good Defense
One of the major things that the Sixers needed Turner to improve on was his defense.
Throughout the season, he's been playing more uptight to his man.
Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, there were times where Turner played defense on the reigning scoring champion, Kevin Durant.
Let me be the first to say that he played terrific. Durant may have scored a lot of points, but Turner forced him to take bad shots or made him get rid of the ball.
If Turner can do that to one of the best players in the NBA, I'm pretty confident in him.
He will only improve his defense as time goes on.
4. Good Mid-Range Shot
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Turner is said to have a bad jumper, but it's really only long range.
He has posted a solid field-goal percentage of 43.5 percent. For those of you who want a reference, Carmelo Anthony is at about 46 percent from the field this year.
That's pretty good, to be just three percent behind.
In fact, Turner has a better field-goal percentage than Kevin Durant. Who would have thought?
3. Great Rebounding
For his size and position, he does a great job rebounding.
Turner has grabbed at least six rebounds in nine out of 13 games this season.
He really shows his hops when he grabs boards over guys that are 6'10". I cannot tell you how many times I watch Sixers games and see Turner take a board away from a big man.
It's truly remarkable.
Turner is averaging 6.4 boards a night, and I think that number will get higher as the season progresses.
2. Showing Flashes of Greatness
In the first 13 games this season, Turner has shown flashes of greatness.
At random times, a spark flies and he'll make an amazing play or do something really good.
He'll crossover a defender and take it to the hoop between two guys.
Those are all signs of what he can become or what he will become.
I see a lot of positives in Turner's game, especially when he shows his flashes of greatness.
1. He Is Committed To Becoming a Great Player
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One of the most important things I've noticed about Turner is that he is committed to becoming a great player. All Turner keeps doing is improving, developing and transforming into a great NBA player.
You can tell he really wants to be a great NBA player and he is determined to live up to his potential.
Philadelphia fans should be happy they have Evan Turner on their team.
I know I believe in him, and so should you.