The 2013-14 NBA season could provide an excellent opportunity for Evan Turner.
The popular perspective this summer seems to be that it is time for the Sixers to trade Turner. He has had three seasons to develop, and while some third-year guys are blossoming into all-stars (see: Paul George), Turner is still trying to figure out his game on the NBA level.
Turner has shown some occasional flashes of the excellence that prompted the Sixers to select him second overall back in 2010, and despite his struggles he did improve statistically last season. His inconsistencies however, have been killer. He still can’t shoot consistently, he takes some questionable shots, and at times just looks lost.
Thus, many Sixer fans feel that it is time to pull the plug on ET.
While trading Turner this summer may make sense depending on the return, his market value isn’t incredibly high at this point, and there is a good chance he will be on the Sixers sideline when the season starts.
If he does remain on the roster, then the upcoming season will give him a great opportunity to showcase his skills and elevate his overall market value.
After three straight seasons of speculation about him not seeing eye-to-eye with former coach Doug Collins and not being able to coexist alongside Jrue Holiday, all hindrances to Turner’s success have seemingly been removed.
Despite stepping into a starting spot last season, Turner’s overall growth may have been stalled by Collins, who by all accounts is not the best at developing young talent.
Turner was an absolute stud at Ohio State, but he was buried on the bench - behind an under-achieving Jodie Meeks no less - for most of his first two seasons in Philadelphia. His playing time was uneven and his role didn’t seem clearly defined; both important areas for a young player.
Turner became frustrated with Collins at times, and vice versa, as the two didn’t quite seem to be a match made in heaven. It is quite possible, likely even, that the nature of the relationship between the two negatively affected Turner’s on-court performance.
Fresh insight and ideas from a new coach, along with a different player-coach dynamic may work wonders for Turner, who often became upset with himself under the weight of Collins’ criticisms. The new coach, whoever that may be, may relate better to Turner, who may also benefit from the implementation of a new system.
Out on the court, Turner is visibly comfortable, and at times extremely effective with the ball in his hands. He was a primary ball handler during his ultra-successful stint at Ohio State, and appears to be at his best when he is on attack with the ball and able to initiate an offense.
Playing alongside all-star Jrue Holiday, Turner didn’t get much opportunity to handle the ball or initiate, as those duties fell largely to Holiday.
With Holiday running the offense, Turner was too often seen standing around and was too easily transformed into a de-facto spot-up shooter. That's not his strong suit. Instead, Turner likes to drive, dish, and attack the rim.
With Holiday now a Pelican, and rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams not yet ready to hold down the starting spot, Turner will likely get more opportunities to run the offense.
The league has yet to see Turner playing extended time at his preferred position, and as one of the players the Sixers may look to for consistency this season, Turner has an opportunity to excel.
If he continues to struggle, the organization can part ways with him after the season without receiving much, if anything, in return. If his play improves however, than the Sixers will have the option to re-sign him themselves, or move him at an elevated market value. With the Sixers slotted to struggle anyway, putting Turner in position to maximize his talents would be wise.