By now, even casual 76ers fans realize Evan Turner is having a career season.
The 6-foot-7 swingman is ranked 11th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 21.7 points per game. That's way above his career average of 10.8 points. The fourth-year veteran is also averaging 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 45.6 percent from the field this season.
Turner's play is a major reason why the Sixers (6-9) are exceeding expectations. They were picked to finish last in the NBA this season my most major publications. Yet they are a game behind the first-place Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division standings.
The Chicago native talked on Saturday about defying expectations, his career season and an uncertain future with the Sixers.
On the Sixers defying expectations:
"You're bound to win some, ain't you? Especially with how the East is going this year. Aren't we in first place in the Atlantic? It's always fun to win. That's it. Obviously, people break down the squad and the team we have and the young guys we have – that's an accomplishment."
On taking stock into the predictions that the Sixers would finish last in the NBA:
"I really didn't think much of it. You have to play the games and compete. I always feel when I step on the court I have a great opportunity to win, no matter what team I have."
On the Sixers being underestimated in the preseason having a similar feel to the team's being overlooked in previous seasons:
"It's all about the atmosphere and how you're publicized. In our situation with the Philadelphia 76ers, you might hear about the negative before you hear about the positive. It's just how it goes sometimes in the city. It's not what they think. It's what the guys in the jerseys think, and the confidence the guys in the locker room have."
On what he's doing differently to make this a career season:
"I'm getting to the line more, driving, my midrange is getting better, my shots are going in. One thing is, I think I'm able to work myself out of bad starts, rough starts. The past few years, I was on teams with such good scorers that if I didn't get it going, I didn't really have an opportunity to pick myself up out of it."
On how playing under new coach Brett Brown has enabled him to have more success:
"Basically, I don't have to look over my shoulder. He's instilled a lot of confidence in me and it's all about doing what you're good at."
On why he's attacking the paint more this season:
"Obviously, Coach Brown is big on it. Layups and threes - that's the way the NBA is supposed to be going. Once again, as I get more acclimated, everything gets easier. . . . Everything transfers over."
On his uncertain future with the Sixers:
"I really don't [think about it.] All good things, I hope - God willing. I don't think of anything negative. As a player and everything and the things I'm doing, it's just confidence that wherever I end up, I'll have the opportunity to do well and keep getting better as a player."
Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers