CHICAGO - Since the question of whether or not the Sixers’ Evan Turner is a point guard, shooting guard or small forward is a constant source of discussion, I figured that asking former Ohio State guard Jim Jackson (a veteran of 14 NBA seasons that included a brief stint with the Sixers) to weigh in on what he feels is the best way for the Sixers to maximize Turner’s talent was an appropriate question for the never-ending debate.
“The system best suited for Evan is a system that allows him to have the ball in his hands,” said Jackson, an analyst for the Big Ten Network. “If Evan is really going to be the player that he wants to be and can be, he needs the ball in his hands. “
The former guard and fourth overall pick in the 1992 by the Dallas Mavericks, Jackson said that initially when the Sixers selected Turner with the second pick in 2010 draft he thought it was a bad spot for him because he felt that Turner’s game would clash with point guard Jrue Holiday’s.
“I didn’t really like that pick early on for him because he’s the type of player that needs the ball in his hands. He’s not a catch-and-shoot player, but he’s a creative player off the dribble. With players like Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala and Jrue there’s just not enough time for Evan to have the ball in his hands and he struggled with is his first year. This past year I think you saw coach Collins have a little more confidence in him and handle the ball a little bit more.
Jackson said that if the Sixers remain constituted the way they are, Turner, if he’s going to continue to get better, is going to have to continue to work on his ability to catch-and-shoot. He believes that Turner does this, Collins will continue to expand his role and he will continue to show improvement.
But will Turner ever be the star that we expect a guy selected with the second overall pick in the draft to become?
“It’s really about being a professional,” Jackson said. “He has to figure out how to work well off the ball. That’s a part of being a professional, constantly working to hone your craft. I believe that if he does that Doug Will continue to expand his role.
“Can he become a star?” Jackson continued. “It’s all dictated on the system. In this league you can be a very good player, a great player in the wrong system and you can get lost. Or you can be a mediocre in the right system and look like an all star. It’s usually the talent that overrides everything, but sometimes the system dictates.”
So what works best for Turner?
“Can he become a star? It’s all dictated on the system,” Jackson said. “In this league you can be a very good player, a great player in the wrong system, and you can get lost. Or you can be a mediocre player in the right system and look like an all-star. It’s the talent that overrides but sometimes it’s the system. If you’re starting from scratch, though, you want the ball in his hands and go from there.”