Standing on the weak side, with his man a few feet away, waving his arms wildly in the air as if he's open. Holding his hands out at his sides, begging for a foul while the other team is busy converting his turnover into a transition hoop. Shoving someone out of the way after they've dunked on him so he can retrieve the ball and pass it inbounds. Pointing fingers when he's in the wrong spot on the defensive end and his man gets an easy look. Raise your hand if these things seem like Evan Turner's signature moves.
Evan Turner is a subpar athlete for the NBA game. That's fine. That's OK. His jumper, while greatly improved from distance, is still broken. That's OK. His handle, while flashy, isn't enough to get him by anyone. That's alright too. At this point, it's safe to say that Turner is who he is. A number two pick who was not worth the number two pick in the NBA draft. He's been given a chance to reach his potential, and he's pretty much done it. He's a guy who will grab boards for you. He can run the point for a half-dozen minutes at a time in a limited way, and he's even surpassed his potential in that he's hitting a high percentage of three point looks (if he's spoon fed by someone else's hard work).
Everything in that paragraph is regrettable. True, but regrettable. Once in a while, he gets a matchup he can take advantage of and he puts some points on the board. Every once in a while his 20-footer is falling and he can score on anyone (because anyone will give him 20-footers all night long). He's a role player in the NBA. A role player being paid too much money, but that's because he was drafted about 15 slots too early after a fool's gold run at the college level. That mistake is on Tony DiLeo, Rod Thorn and Ed Stefanski, not Evan Turner.
I've come to the point where I can live with Turner's production, or lack thereof. I don't really have a choice. He's on the team, I watch every game the team plays, so I have to watch him miss shots, dribble the air out of the ball, lose his man on defense, and generally get embarrassed by even average athletes. The team doesn't have a better option on their roster. The thing that I really have a hard time stomaching is his attitude. For some reason, this guy thinks he's God's gift to the game, and when things aren't going his way, he makes a point of showing everyone just how unfairly he's being treated. Enough.
I'm not one of those old school "Back when I played we respected the game," guys. I get that complaining is part of the game. The stars do it more than anyone. Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have never committed a foul. But guys like that have (a) kind of earned the right (b) don't let it turn them into sniveling messes on the both ends of the floor and (c) still shouldn't do it so much. Unless Turner hits his first five shots, he completely disengages. He loafs around on the floor waving his arms, pointing fingers and just flat out whining to anyone who will listen. He goes through the motions on both ends of the floor, only expending energy when he can maybe grab a defensive board because then he can push the ball up the floor and dribble around trying to find his shot. Otherwise, he's just along for the ride, looking for a whistle that'll never come.
It's sad. Sad and shameful. There's no excuse for the way he carries himself. No excuse for the way he simply checks out of at least one game a week, usually more. I'd love to know what the problem is with Turner. Maybe it's psychological, or emotional. Whatever it is, I'd just rather not have to see it play itself out on the floor on a nightly basis. Maybe he spends his spare time reading the excuses his fan club makes up for him and it fuels his wimpy rage. Or maybe he's just out there on the court saying "Woe is me," while his teammates are busting ass to cover for him. Either way, I just wish this team had a better option. I'd say Doug should sit him for someone who gives a crap about the team whenever he gets into one of these funks, but sitting him doesn't seem to motivate him at all.
With Bynum's return still undetermined and Thad's absence for the next three weeks, this team needs a SF with a spine. Someone who will step up and, even if producing is beyond his capabilities, at least compete. Is there any chance that guy is Turner? I mean, his career has been littered with "This is Turner's big chance" moments, and each time he's emphatically shit the bed. Iguodala's hurt, now he won't be in Turner's way! Igudoala got traded, now it's Evan's team! Jrue's hurt, Turner will finally get to run the offense! Meeks has gone cold from three, it's finally Turner's time! Just accept who and what you are, stop the nonsense and try. That's really not too much to ask, Villain.