Dec 022010
Sixers rookie Evan Turner

Sixers rookie Evan Turner

December 2 Philadelphia Daily News:

Evan Turner just turned 22 in October.

That thought probably enters the minds of coach Doug Collins, president Rod Thorn and general manager Ed Stefanski every day – probably more than once.

It hasn’t been a rosy start for the second overall pick from the June draft. There have been some slivers of sunlight, but also some persistent dark clouds. Collins and the higher-ups certainly knew Turner’s early days in the NBA would be turbulent, and maybe the rookie knew it, also. But never in his wildest dreams did Turner see himself going through the rugged stretch he is entrenched in right now.

Over the past four games, he has made only two of 14 shots from the field, and totaled seven points and eight rebounds. He has struggled mightily in the starting lineup since Andre Iguodala returned from an Achilles’ tendon injury and soon might find himself among the reserves.

Asked yesterday whether he would consider removing the rookie from the starting lineup, Collins replied: “I would. I talked to Evan. I think, right now, he just wants to do so well. He puts so much pressure on himself. The last four games, in [81] minutes, he’s gotten eight rebounds. That’s the thing I was talking to him about. Even [Andres Nocioni] talked to him a little bit about going to Chicago his first year and he couldn’t shoot, and his focus was on how many rebounds he could get. I think Evan is trying to find his way with that [starting] group. Definitely, I will consider [removing him as a starter].”

It is ludicrous to expect Turner to come in and turn around all that is ailing this organization, especially after only 18 games. So is thinking he would go through his struggles without showing his frustration over his and the team’s play. He did just that a couple of times during Tuesday’s win over Portland. He has been negatively demonstrative on the court more than a few times – a flaw that certainly can be corrected in someone who is only 22.

“I don’t want anybody to put blame on anybody. We’ve talked about that,” Collins said following yesterday’s practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “We are a team, first and foremost, and we always have each other’s back. I told them I would never talk about them in the media, and I would expect that they would do the same about their teammates and coaches. I think that we have a great group.

“As for Evan, I don’t worry about his attitude as much, because I know what’s in his heart. I know he wants to win, and I know what a competitor he is, and I know that he’s frustrated. But the important thing is he can’t let that frustration spill out. That can’t happen. We just can’t do that. We have a month that is . . . I don’t even know how to describe this month that is coming up. We have to stay together, because the best of teams wouldn’t want to face this schedule that we have from now until early January.””

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