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Why it is too early to give up on Evan Turner

First of all, thanks for laying out the counterpoint in a measured, reasonable way. I've been trying - and failing - to keep my extreme disappointment in Turner from permeating my comments and posts since I started ramping up for the season. Hopefully, this post can foster more of a debate than an argument.

That being said. You're dead wrong! Just kidding. I see the point you're making, but I think you're misdiagnosing the problem with Turner's drives. To be an effective driver in the NBA, especially at the three, you really need to have an advantage on your defender. Strength, quickness or both. Turner's fancy dribble is typically enough to get him a half step off the dribble, but against even average wing defenders, that half step is merely enough to make him even. He doesn't get by guys, and he doesn't have the explosion to finish over anyone when he's even with them. Even when he gets by his man, he rarely has a clean finish because his lack of elevation makes his shots easy to block from behind. For me, it's not a matter of Turner getting smothered by help in the lane (that obviously doesn't help), it's that he can't beat his own man, and he'll probably have even less success this year, with small forwards guarding him instead of shooting guards.

I get why Bynum should make things a bit easier. He should make things a bit easier for everyone. I find it harder to stomach Turner's missed layups serving as a boon to Thad and Bynum, though, because anyone can miss layups and set up the bigs for o-boards, someone who can occasionally knock down a jumper and miss layups would have a much higher value, for example.

Just from my point of view, I don't think there were many Sixers fans who were against Turner since he was drafted. I can only think of one. I think it's been more of a test of faith. Maybe people were uneasy w/ the pick, or not 100% on board, but when he first set foot on the floor, pretty much everyone was behind him. Hoping.

To me, it's just been a slippery slope of coming to terms with what he is, what he probably will be and what he definitely will never be. Where you sit right now on the sliding scale of Evan Turner evaluation depends more on how willing you are to cling to hope in the face of facts.

Great topic, and great way to present it. Thanks.

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tk76 reply to Brian on Oct 23 at 0:33
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I wonder if there is a way to see how many of his blocked shots have been by his defender as opposed to a helping big. Also, how often has he drawn help and how good is he at passing out of it?

I definitely have my doubts too. I'm just still able to find a reason why it could work out. ET has some skills, but it us an open question over whether his weaknesses are to great for him to utilize his strengths.

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kushmir reply to tk76 on Oct 26 at 9:25
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This is the reason I think DC ok playing Evan at the 3. its conducive to his failure. atleast he's a big 2 and can post up. against threes he's average sized and his weaknesses get magnified even more. I dont necessarily think Doug wants him to fail but at this point I dont see him interested in making things easier on ET or catering to him at all. Its the deep end of the pool at this point.

to DC's defense ET has done little to validate his #2 pick (particularly if Doug wanted Favors as was reported) as tk76 pointed out even his two standout abilities (handle, rebounding) are minimized because he doesn't really grab O REBs, has too many turnovers and he cant finish after getting to his spots.

i like the bone the FO threw him by picking up his option (eases pressure of this being a make-or-break year) but playing him as a SF all but exposes all the things he cant do well against the leagues best players.

Why pick up that option, then? You have to assume Doug had a say in that decision.

turner gets his shot blocked an awful lot.

someone - on si.com - said turner looks like a great player with his dribble and spins and moves, but he cant put the ball in the hoop. i agree with that. he works awful hard on the offensive end, and he is not efficient.

he can be a useful player, he will not be a star. that is clear by now. i know it is preseason. he is best getting the defensive board then pushing the ball in transition when the defense is not set. otherwise he is mediocre.

i like the kid - kidet - i like his grit, but his skill set makes him a limited player. great rebounder. unless he starts hitting that jump shot, his offensive game is weak.

i am not a hater. i cant see him as a point guard. i cant see why collins would let him run the offense. he may become a solid wing defender.

and as of today i would start dorell wright at the three.

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buke reply to jaypiddler on Oct 23 at 12:57
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"someone - on si.com - said turner looks like a great player with his dribble and spins and moves, but he cant put the ball in the hoop."

As Malik Rose once said about him in a game: a million dollar move with a 10 cent finish.

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YoungGun13 on Oct 23 at 1:20
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I just wish evan would try to draw more fouls when he gets in the lane and actually convert 80% of his free throw attempts this year like his rookie season. That's the only way i see him improving because his jumper still looks broke and he hasn't shown that he can finish over taller players.

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76ciology on Oct 23 at 1:29
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Basically you are saying..
1.)Bynum will ease up interior defensive pressure at ET
- Won't Bynum just clog the lane and make ET's penetration be tougher?
2.) ET will attract help defense to
- Why would opposing defense throw additional defense at ET when we've seen ET struggle against single coverage defense?

My opinion:
It all boils down to ET being an efficient scorer. The team's plan was to make him our main guy in out transition offense to replace Iggy. Yes, he can rebound, push the ball and create on offense. And honestly, when he does these three things he looks like a LEGIT star SG. But then after creating, he needs to finish. And right now, his skillset and mentality in finishing is very predictable, that's why we've seen the defender blocking his shots easily. I ask, why not make it less predictable? Why not throw pumpfakes, sidesteps and hop steps. These should either keep his defender off balance, giving him a favorable position to get to the line or atleast create more separation for him to take off his shot. Worse comes to worst, how about scoring with the floater like how he did during his college days?

Make him a threat in the lane, it will open up a LOT of things for him.

I find it strange that Turner can grab rebounds in a crowd of seven footers but can't elevate when driving. His vertical leap was 34" at the combine. When he penetrates there seems to be contact -- I can't tell how much -- but fouls aren't called. It's usually Evan in a crowd attempting to shoot and getting blocked by defenders who don't seem to be working very hard.

I gave Turner the benefit of the doubt for two years. But now I just think of him as a 36% shooter.

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76ciology reply to Bob on Oct 23 at 1:46
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The reason why he can't get the calls is this..

- He's not quick nor athletic enough to be in a position that is favorable to get the calls. His basically just taking his defender in spots he wants to take his shots. By doing so, the defender is ALWAYS AT A GOOD POSITION TO DEFEND. Then he creates the contact by shielding the ball with his body, making it more difficult for the refs to call a foul.

When it comes to getting the calls, the main objective is to get your defender in a bad position. And right now, he's not doing a good job with this

I appreciate your input.

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Exile on Kenny Payne Street reply to Bob on Oct 23 at 8:38
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Is there a reason you see him as a 36% shooter when he shot 45% last year?

Is 45% such a terrible percentage?

His jumper is obviously limited, so he must be getting those points at the rim. They aren't all fast break dunks. So yes, he can finish. He's a flawed player but his limitations are incredibly exaggerated on this blog. It's not like he shoots 20 shots a game. He plays within his means. He rebounds like an animal. He's a plus defender. He can definitely improve and I really hope we see it this season because I think he adds a lot to the team.

Shooting 45% is a problem when you don't get to the free throw line or hit three pointers. 8 points on 4-9 shooting shouldn't cut it from a starting 2 guard.

Turner shot 36% in the playoffs last year. He's shooting 34% in preseason. And his form is still messed up.

And I second the comment above by courtvision.

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eddies' heady's on Oct 23 at 1:35
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I guess I'd just say that I disagree with some evaluations you make on Turner. First being, I don't think he has this good court vision that is tossed around. He mostly keeps his head down when either 1)transporting the ball up court, or 2)especially when he's driving into the lane (which ends up mostly a crowd by the time he gets to where he wants to end up). Granted, he doesn't do this every single time but more times than not I've noticed he does this like it's just second nature to him by way of habit.

Second, I think it's just as foolhardy to say that Turner is the only wing who has the handle to consistently break down his man. Dorell has shown signs of this, even JRich at his age has this capability (he even looks quicker and more fluid in his movements while dribbling than ET, to me), Nick Young possesses arguably almost as good a handle but he just doesn't seem to have the aggressive mindset to continue on to the basket, instead settling for the mid-range jumper or step-back.

Now I realize that you said "consistently", but that's where I disagree again with you in saying that Turner possesses this skill hands-down. To me, he does not possess that ability for two reasons, 1) he hasn't provided any evidence to date of that consistency (he couldn't even get by and past Paul Pierce the 1st BOS preseason game), and 2) even if he did possess that skill as you say, he can't accomplish it because most defenders are sagging off of him because of the lack of a jumper.

Not to minimize your post because it was a good thought provoking piece but, you could write this post about many a player that fans are still holding out hope for. It could be akin to writing a similar post about say, Royal Ivey, and coming up with every plausible scenario to why he could become a useful PG. When the fact of the matter is, Ivey is what he is and no player additions, or team concepts or schemes, can turn him into a facilitator or floor general. He's just a spot-up role playing three-point shooter. Same thing with Turner, he's shown thus far that he can be a valuable role player, jack of all trades backup at three positions, master of none. Like someone said on the previous thread, a decent 8th man.

With a team that has now shown throughout this preseason that it has some legit pieces, you don't necessarily need Turner to play this near-major role to drive/slash and 'try' to finish. You have the pieces to be successful, or at least come close to contending, and piggybacking on what Brian said above, you have other guys that have most of the same capabilities (if not more) with higher value. So there's no need to force Turner into the equation because you're just watering down the product to cater to one individual.

Basically, you don't need to even worry about masking his poor shooting just so you can maximize his driving and passing ability (again, questionable) when you have a Dorell Wright or JRich that can shoot, and also drive or pass almost as well as the guy that can't shoot.

Dorell has had some really good passes setting up teammates as well as JRich in this preseason. And both have shown the ability to pump-fake and attack the hoop, as well as just attack with the dribble too, with the key being better results when reaching the lane or conversions at the rim.

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76ciology on Oct 23 at 1:40
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Let me explain in words why ET's shot can easily be blocked..

ET does not have elite length nor athleticism against most of his defenders. Because of this his crafty dribbling skills can only take him places where he wants to be on the court. BUT it doesn't create ENOUGH separation for him to take his shots off.

He needs the "extra" separation with his skills to take his shot off.

Create via dribble (separation) + shot = block
Create via dribble (separation) + hopstep/sidestep/pumpfake (extra separation) = harder to block

And right now, that is missing in his game. He needs to realize this.

Guys he needs to pattern his scoring game
- Paul Pierce
- Andre Miller

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Hawaii Phil reply to 76ciology on Oct 23 at 2:48
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Think those two examples are perfect players for ET to emulate... they both got the most out of their limited athleticism - although I think everyone would agree that they both have MUCH better form and consistency in their jump shots.

Of course, ET driving to the basket with his head up would also be a good idea...

It's not too late for ET to improve his game and do the best he can with the skills he has - but the clock is indeed ticking...

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Court_visioN reply to Hawaii Phil on Oct 23 at 4:04
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problem is pierce has great jumpshot that defenders have to respect, either the spot up 3 or the pull up jumpshot. and Andre Miller posts up smaller point guards. These are not advantages that Evan Turner can exploit.

I definitely agree with the point that ET is at a disadvantage because his lack of a jumper allows his defender to sag off of him. If he could even develop a short to midrange jumper like he showed in college it would open some things up for him. But in college I think he was a bit reliant on shooting over smaller defenders.

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joeltr75 on Oct 23 at 4:37
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if ET start this year and plays something like 30 minute per night, is it crazy to think that he takes something like 8 rebounds per night ? it can help his offensive game with more fastbreak point and assist. ET had his bests games when he grab more than 10 rebounds, he may have many weakness, but if he takes more than 8 rebound per night it change everything since he will no longer have to deal with jumpshot or shot blocking..

Wow, tk76, great post. It almost perfectly mimics my stance on Turner.

A few comments i'd like to add:

1. After watching all of the preseason games, i'd say the biggest problem with him not being able to convert on his drives is the opposing defense completely collapsing on him. His shots get blocked by the weakside defense (for the most part) not his defender. It looks like he can get by his defender but a few more are waiting for him at the basket. There are both good and bad reasons for this IMO:
+ Lack of post presence (Will change with Bynum)
+ Lack of guys contesting the offensive boards (again Bynum)
- The fancy dribbles he uses to create the separation last too long and the weakside rotations can be perfectly executed. He doesn't get by the defender with the first step but with a series of moves.
- Suspect off-the-ball movement limits his drives to what for the most part is "isos". When driving as a result of off-the-ball movement his efficiency is much much higher. The situation resembles to me a little bit to the dreaded Iguodala late game "iso" possessions, when he was unable to finish despite his obvious athletic advantages because the defense collapsed at him (later this resulted in long contested jumpers).

2. Turner is probably one of only 2 remaining players that can consistently create their own shot off the dribble on the team (along with Jrue). He is not efficient at it, yes, but he is still a far better option than most of the other guys who would mostly turn the ball over in such a situation. I am a big fan of Wright (have been one a long time before he came to the Sixers), but lets face it he is not as good as he has looked so far. There is a reason why he is considered as mostly a jump shooter despite his solid handles. He can't really create for himself and defenders won't keep on falling on his jump fake. He's got the talent but he hasn't been able to put it together in 9 years already.

3. The preaseason is a better indicator of regular season performance than many people think (http://www.82games.com/preseason.htm) but there is one major thing that got overlooked about it among Sixers fans and that's the fact that opposing teams don't really game plan for the opponent and base their defense mostly on what they remember from previous years (as well as their general principles). As a result watching all 5 games that were aired clearly shows how much the opposing teams still pack the lane and leave 2 point shooters wide open. Ofcourse the penetration by the guards (notably Holiday and Wayns) has been much better, but things will change in that regard.

All this means Turner should be in a better position to succeed in the regular season. If it won't happen this year it most likely never will. But there is a reason why young players often make their jumps in their 3rd season. Lets see what happens.

P.S. If the team continues to show that they can do well without a driver/creator/defender at the wings (which is reasonable) than Turner mught be the odd man out and in that case should be traded. Right now it really does look like that, but lets wait and see what happens in the next few months.

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spencer is hired on Oct 23 at 9:07
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Tk, a great post. For the past 2 years A.Miller comes to mind as a comparable player with Evan to me. He is less athletic and less of a leaper than Evan but gets his shot off because of gile and strength. The key is where he plays,p.g. .

I believe the move to s.f. will hurt Evan because his strength is his best asset and until a team takes a flier on him at the p.g. position he won't reach his full potential. To me he has great court vision when attacking from up top but on the wing he loses effectiveness.

He has to change his mentality to accomplish this but if he is traded it may humble him a bit and accomplish this.

Great post and comments. No hate just opinion. He's getting the opportunity. It's up to ET to produce. I believe once the real games begin we'll see D. Wrights weakness. His lack of strength will prevent him from getting where he wants to go with the dribble. His length and shooting will still make him a valuable asset.

Above, picture of lousy shooting form (show your son or daughter):

- ball cupped in palm, not on fingertips
- seams not found
- guide hand behind ball
- head banked back

Corkscrew.

Agree with everything except the ball being cupped in his palm. It's clearly on his fingertips.

Not clearly. Pictorial evidence inconclusive. The call stands. 1st & goal on the 2.

I think the real problem is that it is inconclusive. Your whole arm should be L shaped and the wrist not cocked back like a slingshot. If it were a normal shooting motion, it's easy to tell.

I wonder what year that pic is from. I'd guess rookie.

Good point on form.

Dust off the monocle and peer closely at his index finger.

15-yard penalty for roughing the estimate.

Declined.

As a rule of thumb, I don't follow index fingers.

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Charlie H reply to Dollar Bill on Oct 27 at 17:28
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His guide hand is bad for sure. But is the ball still in his palm when he releases? Kareem always had the ball in his palm, then rolled it off his fingers. Some guys shoot like that. (Oscar did, didn't he?)

Turner's biggest problem is lack of lift. If he loses weight, his lower body strength will have its proper effect and his percentage will go up 4 points. His form isn't that bad, though it is ugly. Just my take.

True about the index finger - it's the middle finger that counts.

You like Turner's release? It's certainly not something to bet on.

Only commonalities of Evan and Oscar is state of college play and shooting hand. Need a reminder, go to Youtube, Oscar Robertson - The Legend In His Prime. 'O' had a classic shot, was a great shooter (.485, .838) - elbow tucked in, ball over head, eyes at elbow level, fingertip release. Call Sonny Hill's Sunday morning WIP show for his take; he's witnessed both too.

You can spring to the moon but if your release is poor, the result will disappoint.

Yes, middle fingers can be applied nicely to ball rotation and shooter's touch.

If I understand his contract situation correctly, we have to make a decision whether to extened his contract by the start of December? Is that right?

If we don't extend his contract and resign Bynum to a max deal, are we under the cap to go after any free agents this summer?

As long as Bynum is resigned at the max and Jrue gets an extension, the Sixers won't be far enough under the cap to go after a player that can legitimately help them become a contender in free agency, even if they don't pick up Turner and Kwame miraculously opts out.

And seriously, there is zero chance the Sixers will not pick up his option, nor should they consider it.

Turner will always be a disappointment because he was the college basketball player of the year and was drafted 2nd overall. Remember everyone comparing him to Brandon Roy? I was really hoping Turner would emerge as a 20 ppg 5 apg 5 rpg star, but alas I was wrong.

With that said, Turner can still become a solid starter and be a very productive player. He just won't ever live up to his early high expectations.

tk76:

You make some good points and your vision of what Turner could be when playing alongside Bynum certainly is possible. However, after being a supporter of Turner as a key member of the Sixers' rotation, I have become one of those who believe that he probably should be moved. I say that for the following reasons:

1) I want to see the Sixers win now (this year and the next two or three years). The last two years we had an unconventional and under-talented but overachieving team. Now we seem to have a more conventional and talented team that just might be capable of going to the Eastern Conference finals if everyone is healthy. We now appear to have a small forward who is just hitting the prime of his career and is clearly much more developed than Turner (so far Wright looks like what some of us might have hoped that Thad would become when he was drafted). We also have two shooting guards that can simply shoot and score better than Turner. We also have a rookie point guard who shows potential and needs some playing time. So far, I have a hard time seeing a justification for Turner getting more than 20 minutes a game with the current group of players. Last year's team had less depth of talent and skills so Evan playing a lot made sense.

2. Since this is the NBA rather than the NCAA, the issue of resource allocation must be a governing principle. Under the team option, Turner is due almost 7 million next year with an 8.7 million qualifying offer the year after. Right now I think I would rather see some of that money going to Wright (and maybe even Nick Young).

I remain a Turner fan and would like to see him succeed in the NBA, but I don't believe the current team is the right place for him to do that and I don't believe the current team should commit a lot of minutes and money to him when they have better choices already on the roster. Because I live far away from Philly, I have to watch the Sixers on NBA broadband anyway. If Turner is traded, I'll just pick his new team as one of my subscription choices.

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tk76 reply to buke on Oct 23 at 15:09
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I agree with your points about Wright, Thad and the shooters. And last game JRich showed a lot to where maybe he can bring more to the Sixers than we saw from him on the Magic.

But I think there are enough minutes. Thad will not play much SF, and you are talking 148 minutes to split between 5 players(Jrue,Thad, Nick,Wright and JRich.) That is nearly 30 minutes per guy. I expect JRich and Nick will both play less than 30 and Jrue the only guy more than 30. That leaves plenty of minutes for ET to try and earn... and you let it play out over a few months before fully setting on your rotations.

I agree Wayns has earned PT, but I doubt he gets more than 10 a game initially except for special circumstances. But if his play continues and ET struggles he could eventually
earn many more.

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tk76 reply to tk76 on Oct 23 at 15:19
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2 errors... should read ET instead of Thad when lusting the rotation. And 144 minutes- which would average 29 minutes per guy.

Jrue 35
JRich 26
Swaggy 25 (Lou minutes)
Wright 25
ET 26
Wayns 7

So the starters get about the same minutes as the bench... but after a few months who knows.

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buke reply to tk76 on Oct 23 at 18:13
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Thanks for the reply! OK, those minutes might work. We still have the salary issue but I guess we can let that work itself out. One thing we learned about the new management is that they are willing to make aggressive decisions in order to better the team.

The biggest question is if Turner can minimize his deficiencies so that his better abilities qualify him as a solid pro. This is the case with just about everyone coming into the league, but rarely are the highs so high (elite on d-boards) and lows so low (zero touch on jumper).

So tomorrow is the big day, right? Bynum is going to practice. All systems go? Has anyone heard anything? Any setbacks?

from Grantland:

For Sixers fans, the most important thing to be learned from last night's game is this: Coach Doug Collins calls Young by his nickname, Swagy. Not sarcastically, as in "Nice shot, Swagy," but conversationally. Which, for Collins, means imploringly. "Come on, Swagy!" Sixers players on the bench laugh whenever Swagy does anything, mimicking his exaggerated goose-neck release and cracking up when he was tagged for a carrying violation. Turner is the ringleader, so maybe that's his deal.

Nice story, but if Turner can find a way to become a 45-47% shooter from the floor I think most people wouldnt mind his shortcomings as much. Simply put, Turner cant shoot.

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tk76 reply to KellyDad on Oct 23 at 23:04
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He is not far from having a fg% in that range, but would need to bring more to the table if he is not hitting 3s or drawing fouls.

As for hitting over 45% of his jumpshots- not many wings do that. Per hoopdata of 150 wings played regular minutes last year and only 6 shot better than 45% beyond 15 feet.

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TwoSense on Oct 23 at 23:05
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Some while ago, I stopped having or forming an opinion on Evan Turner. It dissipated along with my expectations and hopes for him. When no results were evident after tutoring from Herb Magee, deflation set in. Good post though.

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6mauro4 on Oct 24 at 5:11
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Sixers are again a work in progres. There are some unaswered questions, one of these is ET improvment, but don't put too much pressure on him. Let him play for 6/7 weeks and then we will see. He has strenght and weakness but what i can say, from day one to now he has steadily improved is approach to the game. Of corse this year he has no more extenuating (without iguodala and williams).
I can survive with this:
- 17 bad games (2/12 fg 7r 4a 3to 3ba 5pts)
- 40 normal games (48% fgp 7r 5a 2to 1ba 15pts)
- 25 good games (more than 49% fgp 7r 6a 2to 1ba 19 o more pts)

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mymanjrue on Oct 24 at 23:49
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Great post, tk, a well articulated addition to what has become an often tired debate. I have not engaged in the frenzy of speculation regarding Turner's performanmce this preseason for the same reason you state-I am counting on the presence of Bynum to have a more positive effect on Turner than just about anyone else on the roster saving Jrue...if Turner is still being met with help defenders who block his shot routinely everytime he penetrates the defense when Bynum is on the court...then we'll talk. I tend to believe a lot of those misses from in close will turn into 2 pts once defensive attention to Bynum opens up some space...then, hopefully, Turner establishes himself as a guy who takes it to the hole and can score and maybe he starts hearing whistles more frequently

I am excited to see both ET and Jrue Holliday play with an elite offensive big man. I think both will benefit greatly, but however it plays out will certainly be interesting to track


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