Jul 082010

July 8 Philadelphia Daily News

“Since last Thursday, the team the Sixers have assembled for the Pro Summer League has been on the basketball court as much as a family visiting theme parks down here is on its feet. There have been some two-a-days, and, on the morning of games, they get in another hour. It’s been a lot of basketball, a lot of learning from new coach Doug Collins, and not a lot of time to rest the bodies.

“I’m so tired,” center Marreese Speights said after yesterday’s 89-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the RDV Sportsplex.

He’s not the only one. And the one player seemingly fatigued the most is Evan Turner. He struggled again in yesterday’s game, scoring four points (on just six shots) in a little more than 27 minutes. He committed six fouls (it’s a no foul-out league) and turned the ball over three times. He is a step slow and, at times, seems to think the game will wait for him. Only that doesn’t happen when you’re playing against guys who are fighting for a career in basketball.

Still, there is not even a hint of panic from Collins or general manager Ed Stefanski that the No. 2 overall pick will stay in his funk.

“Nothing has surprised me,” Stefanski said. “I think Evan is just trying to figure out the whole thing, from how the NBA game works, from the officials to the defense and things like that. Last year, Jrue Holiday went through the same thing. Jrue was struggling getting by people and now people just can’t stay in front of him. The same thing Jrue went through last year, Evan is going through now.”

Part of the problem, Stefanski and Collins have said, is Turner’s conditioning.

“I don’t think he’s in game condition,” Stefanski said. “He hasn’t played a game in a long time and now we’ve played three games in 3 days. Before that, he really hadn’t played at all since Ohio State lost in the [NCAA] tournament [on March 26]. And it’s not his fault. With him predicted to be such a high pick [his handlers] shut him down [to prevent injury]. You can work out all you want, [but] unless you play five-on-five you’re not going to get there. I think he’s definitely been hurt by that.

“You can see how good he is and how he makes plays. Defensively was one thing I wanted to see, and he’s done very well. He rebounds the ball [eight more yesterday]. The other stuff is not coming because of the pace of the game, but that will come.””

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