November 2 Philadelphia Daily News:
“EVAN TURNER has “never, ever” played against John Wall. Not in college, not in pickup, not anywhere.
Turner is the 76ers‘ rookie guard, the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA’s June draft. Wall is the Washington Wizards’ rookie guard, the No. 1 overall pick.
They will face each tonight in Washington.
But don’t expect a mano-a-mano battle. Don’t look for a classic “your turn, my turn” confrontation.
And Sixers coach Doug Collins doesn’t want anyone searching for the gap from No. 1 to No. 2, even if Wall is starting and thrilling crowds with his speed and explosiveness, and Turner is coming off the bench, splitting time between the backcourt positions.
“I don’t want it to be a ‘hissing’ contest, all of a sudden you’re going back at each other,” Collins said bluntly after yesterday’s practice session at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Plus, Collins said, “They probably won’t be guarding each other.”
“The media focuses in on those guys when they’re playing [against each other], and who’s doing well at what particular time,” Collins said. “I told Evan, ‘Just play.’ ”
Turner is outgoing, thoughtful in dealing with reporters. He knew what was coming yesterday.
“I haven’t done a one-on-one [comparison] since maybe high school,” he said. “I just feel like it’s pointless. At the end of the day, you can only worry about yourself, control yourself and what you do. I just worry about my teammates and worry about trying to be the best I can for the Philadelphia 76ers. I don’t worry about anybody else.”
The fan base and the media worried when Turner had a miserable five games in the Orlando Summer League, but the coaches and the front office wrote that off as the product of Turner not playing for nearly 3 months after the conclusion of his stellar Ohio State career. He worked out, shot and did the appropriate drills, but his representatives didn’t want him playing competitively until he signed a contract.
Everybody brightened when Turner shot 7-for-10 in a solid opening-night performance against Miami, stunning the Wells Fargo Center crowd with a delightful crossover move past Dwyane Wade. The mood dimmed when he shot 0-for-5 against Atlanta, but Collins saw encouraging signs against the Hawks and again in Saturday night’s loss in Indiana when Turner asserted himself a little too much and drew his first pro technical.
“The first night, he was terrific,” Collins said. “The second night, he did a very good job that people wouldn’t see because he was 0-for-5 from the floor, and wouldn’t see the other things he did for our team. Indiana, I thought he did a good job.”
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
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