Even though tomorrow night's game against the Washington Wizards won't, technically, be a matchup of No. 1 pick John Wall vs. No. 2 pick Evan Turner (Turner doesn't start, likely won't guard him often) it makes it interesting to watch the Top 2 picks in action, to compare the two players.
It's a lot more interesting than, say, watching two winless teams, with five losses between them, play each other on a Tuesday evening. So, Wall vs. Turner. You can check out the video of Evan Turner from today's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. It should be embedded in this post. We asked him about playing Wall, but he smiled and said he's "not feeding into that." Good answer.
"I don’t want it to be a pissing contest where all of a sudden you’re going back at each other," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "And they probably wont be guarding each other like that. It’s always going to be, well, we played New Jersey, ‘How did Derrick Favors do and how did Evan do?’ That’s human nature. The media focuses in on those guys when they’re playing and who’s doing well at a particular time. I told Evan, ‘Just play.'"
The comparisons aren't particularly fair considering Wall is starting and playing 39 minutes a game, most of the time with the ball in his hands, while Turner is coming off the bench, playing slightly more limited minutes, and mostly playing off the ball. Through three games, Turner is averaging 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. Through two games, Wall is averaging 21 points and 9 assists a game.
"John Wall is playing 35 minutes and he has the ball in his hands right now and Evan is coming off the bench for us and playing a certain role," Collins explained. "I don’t see anything in, ‘Who’s a better player?’ Or whatever. Evan is giving us a lot of good stuff and John Wall is doing great stuff for Washington."
Collins probably didn't intend to designate the play of Wall as "great" and the play of Turner as "good," but that's probably a fairly accurate assessment so far, one that Turner seemed to echo this afternoon.
"I did all right, I’ve been doing OK," Turner said. "Defensively, I’ve been doing the assignments they’ve asked me to do. I think I shot decently the first night, second night I didn’t shoot so well, but I think I took some pretty good shots. And third night I went in and out, but one thing is I contributed with rebounding and playing defense, so, I think I’ve been doing all right for the first week."
When asked if he thought his future in this league was as a point guard, Turner hesitated and then responded: "It’s whatever coach sets me in at the time. If I could choose, I’d give myself the ball 100 times, but you have to play as a team, play as a unit."
Each week, Kate will check in from the road and answer fan questions about the Sixers. Click here to ask Kate a question or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.