Evan Turner: Will the Philadelphia 76ers Guard Break Out in 2011-12?

Deion McNairCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Evan Turner #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives on Trevor Ariza #1 of the New Orleans Hornets in the second half at New Orleans Arena on January 3, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers’ season ended against the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Though they lost the series 4-1, there were plenty of bright spots and reasons to be optimistic in the upcoming years. One of those reasons is Evan Turner.

Evan Turner, drafted second overall in the 2010 draft and is coming off of a less than stellar rookie season. He wasn’t selected to play in the rookie-sophomore game and didn’t make the all-rookie first or second team, two feats you expect from a top two overall pick.

A large reason why Turner struggled this year was because of the 76ers’ crowded rotation at the smaller positions. Jrue Holiday is the franchise point guard. Louis Williams is an established scorer off the bench. Jodie Meeks is an upcoming swingman with in-the-gym range, and then there is the proven veteran Andre Iguodala.

Turner’s game is almost a splitting image of Iguodala’s. Both are swingmen with limited range on their jump shots and point guard skill sets.

Iguodala has been rumored for months now to be on the trade block, but no deal has been made to move him. If he is traded, Turner would flourish with the increased minutes.

This can be said confidently because Turner’s numbers went up in the games Iguodala missed because of injury.

In the first two games of Iguodala’s absence, Turner averaged 14.5 points and nine rebounds. That’s more than double his season averages of seven points and four rebounds a night.

Turner also has a history of having to adjust to his level of competition. He was the third ranked recruit going into Ohio State his freshman year, and had limited chances to show what he could do.

His old AAU coach Mike Mullins even said that he had to instill a confident mindset in Turner while he was his coach. Turner admitted as much as well. Mullins said he had to teach Turner to never doubt himself.

Mullins also said that Turner has a desire to be the best, proven by his journeys to success at the AAU and college levels. After a frustrating freshman year at Ohio State, Turner worked hard and eventually became the NCAA player of the year by the time he left campus.

This past season in the NBA was no different for Turner at a new competition level. He struggled and looked as if he may have been drafted too high. Some people have even been floating the word “bust” around Turner’s name.

However, his skill sets and love of pressure moments will guide him to a satisfying NBA career. Along with countless other big shots for Ohio State, Turner hit a game winning shot from just inside half court against Michigan in the conference tournament his junior year.

In the playoffs against the Heat this season, Turner increased his points per game and rebounds in less minutes than he played during the regular season.

In two of the games, he scored double digit points and also had double digit rebounds in another game. It should be noted that he was being guarded by Dwayne Wade or Lebron James much of time he played too, two of the best perimeter defenders in the league.

Another supporting fact to Turner’s eventual success is that he has been working this offseason to perfect his shooting motion with the “shot doctor” Herb Magee. Magee has been breaking down every facet of Turner’s shooting rotation to determine what he needs to change in order for Turner for improve.

If you know Turner’s journey, then you know it’s only a matter of time before he turns into the player worthy of being drafted second overall. Evan Turner will turn out to be an exceptional player and contribute to the 76ers sooner rather than later.