If you take away the 20 minutes he played against Sacramento on Sunday, rookie guard Evan Turner has played a total of 19 minutes in the past four games, including none against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
To his credit, Turner's outlook hasn't appeared to change. He is very upbeat in the locker room, at practice and during games. Is there a certain amount of frustration building up in him? If there wasn't would that be normal? After all, he was the second overall pick and the national college player of the year. If it didn't bother Turner, then it would be really time for Sixers' fans to worry.
Coach Doug Collins has seemed to trim his bench a little as the season comes to its end. Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young are getting a bulk of the minutes off the bench, with Andres Nocioni getting the minutes that Turner usually gobbled up. Collins' reasoning is that he likes Nocioni's toughness and his experience. Mostly, it's the experience, though. When push comes to shove at playoff time, Collins probably will side with the experience of Nocioni over Turner, but maybe not.
I think these last seven games might be a audition for Turner, should Collins get him back in the rotation a bit. What Nocioni holds over Turner in toughness and experience, Turner certainly has the edge in athleticism, and if he gets his rebounding groove back, that's another advantage he has.
If Turner gets a fair chance to prove himself, and if he is reliable on the court in remembering offensive plays and defensive assignments, he just might get his spot back in the rotation.
Asked if he had seen any signs of frustration from Turner, Collins said that the rookie continues to work hard and then added: "I don't look for that stuff. If I wanted to look for it, I could frickin' find it. I just don't. I would not want a guy to be happy if he wasn't playing. But he's total team, a total team guy. I think sometimes a lot o these guys don't realize what a huge jump this is, especially when you start playing for a team that's playing for the playoffs. It's a different jump. There is no playing out the string, garbage time, we're trying to win every game we can win right now. I think that's a good thing. I think that's how you learn to play."
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