The closer you are to danger, the further you are from harm.
I always kind of assumed that this saying just meant to hide things in plain site. When someone is looking for something, the last place they will think to look for it is right in front of them.
Is that what we have with Evan Turner? I mean, as a Sixers fan, all I have been looking for since the latter years of Iverson’s career in Philadelphia was a superstar. Someone who we could hang our hat on and say, yes, that is our guy.
I feel like the kid at school who was jealous that some of the other kids in class had smartphones and I still was working with the flip. Sure, I like the flip phone, but my phone just simply couldn’t do everything that the smartphone can. So, when push came to shove, the kids with the smartphones were going to win.
That is why I was so excited for this year. The Hink-meister General came in and told us that, this year, we are going to save our money. Then, in the summer, we will buy the latest and greatest smartphone. There might be a few bugs right away with it, some service glitches, the occasional dropped call, but we will own a smartphone. We will immediately be relevant again amongst all of the other kids who have smart phones. We will immediately be the cool kid for everyone else to invite to hang out. Sure, it will take a little while for us to figure out how to properly use the damn thing, and it might take some time to get all of the accessories for the phone as well. I mean, we will need a heavy duty case to help take some of the damage off the phone. We already bought the screen cover and the headphones this past summer in anticipation. Wow, this metaphor worked out really nicely.
Then, along came Evan Turner. ET is averaging a clean 23 points per game this season to go along with his 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 49% from the field. It’s starting to look like that phone might be more expensive than we first thought. How could anyone see this coming. We have a bona fide star.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not writing this in anger saying that Turner is going to cost us a top 3 pick. Regardless of how we have played in the beginning of this season, the Sixers are not that talented. We are going to lose. In opposition to popular belief, we can have a few wins on the record and still be the worst team in the league. Last year, the Magic had 20 wins, the year before, the Bobcats managed 7 wins, and before that, the worst team was the Timberwolves with 17 wins. And due to the the insane lottery system that the NBA uses, it doesn’t really matter if we are the worst team or the third worst team. The odds are not that far off from each other. Guess which one of these three teams actually got the first overall selection when they were the worst team? The correct answer is none of them. The Cavaliers had the first pick this year, New Orleans had the pick last year, and then it was Cleveland again. So, please, do not think this is a panic move by yours truly. This is merely an observation.
Evan Turner is alive. He still pouts. He still complains about every no call. So, we know it’s actually him and his body wasn’t taken over by someone else, or something else, a la bodysnatchers. But this is not the same player that Doug Collins had us believe him to be. No, this ET is way better. This ET drives to the basket, gets to the foul line, and shoots those short jumpers he is actually good at instead of the long two’s. This ET does almost everything different from last year. He is one of the league’s leading scorers. Yet, I still don’t feel like he is a go to player. Maybe I’m biased since I knew him during his Collins’ years. Maybe I’m jaded from all of the false hope (Iguodala, Webber, Lou Williams, etc.). Or maybe, just maybe, it’s something more. Even on this team, with everything being open to ET, with the proverbial keys to the car in his hands, does anyone on another team really fear Turner? I know I never have the feeling going into a game that Turner is going to take over this game. In fact, more times than not, I will watch the game and at the very end, look at the box score and immediately ask my roommate how in the hell Turner has 24 points. Shouldn’t I remember when a superstar has a great game. Hell, a great moment?! But no, instead, his numbers are somewhat hallow to me. They feel somewhat like Rudy Gay or Monta Ellis numbers. Really good players who put up better numbers than they should be since someone on those terrible teams needs to shoot.
Well, Turner is going to continue to score. I know a lot of people keep yelling that Hinkie should trade ET now since his value will never be higher. Still others are saying that Turner may be the answer the city has been looking for since AI and we should build around him. I’m neither. I say we hold on to Turner until it’s closer to the draft. Turner is going to continue to score as long as he is healthy since he will continue to be the best player on our team. Our team will start to struggle, especially now that we are going to start playing a good number of road games. The playoff picture will start to show itself in another month or so. Then, teams will start to realize who they need to beat in the playoffs, what their own weaknesses are, and what they are willing to pay in order to cover those weaknesses on the hope of winning it all. Turner is a good cover. Hinkie does not yet hold all of the power. When it comes closer to the trade deadline, and teams are looking for a ball handling small forward who is putting up 23 points and 6 rebounds, then Hinkie will hold all of the power. He can leverage the deadline. He can use the concern that another playoff team will snatch up Turner. That is when we will be able to maximize Turner’s value. His value is not to our team. He still has the workings of Doug Collins, no matter how different of a player he appears to be this year, I will always look at him and think of Collins. Turner needs to move on. His only value to me is as a first round pick which we will get for him.
Turner is a
great good disappointing basketball player. He might be an integral part of a championship team. But he cannot be that here. Here, he is just a failed first round pick. Here, he is not the superstar.