Here at LibertyBallers, we're not exactly strangers to Evan Turner. I caught up with him at the combine in Chicago (here and here). We saw him at the NBA Draft Media Day (interview with DraftExpress here, Mike's
stalking elevator ride here), and again at the NBA Draft. We talked to him at length at his introductory press conference.
So when the opportunity came up to talk to Evan again, our focus was on what's changed since then, namely the summer league. Much has been made about Turner's disappointing performance (9.4 points per game on 33% shooting, 2.8 assists, 3.4 turnovers), perhaps too much. The fact that top prospects typically don't play a lot of competitive basketball leading up to the draft isn't really news, and we've been speculating that he was out of basketball shape and not sharp. Turner all but confirmed that during the call.
"I probably played [five on five] once or twice after the tournament," Turner said. "For summer league I did not feel like I was in game shape. I was definitely heavier, I just wasn't in shape. Right before summer league was the draft so I was busy dealing with the press conferences. We had to report to training camp right after the draft. I did not feel well acclimated and I didn't have time to get in better shape."
When followed up on whether agents have too much control leading up to the draft, and whether the inactivity is detrimental, Turner didn't sound like he had any regrets.
"I think protecting yourself is very important, because your body is your job; it's how you make your money. You can't have negative things happening to your body prior to the draft. One little problem can mess up your draft stock and maybe not get you drafted at all."
It's hard to argue, particularly in Turner's case when he knew his floor was the second pick, third at worst. Still, for Sixers fans dying to unwrap the shiny new present that fell into Ed Stefanski's lap, the performance was a disappointment.
That being said, it shouldn't be cause for too much concern. Besides not playing five on five, Turner worked out for exactly one team leading up to the draft. He'll have ample time to prepare for the regular season.
Other notable quotes:
On his strengths and weaknesses: "I think my mid-range is pretty good. I think I have a pretty good IQ and I can rebound well for my size. I need to get better at long-range shooting and defense. NBA games are completely different games; you think a little quicker, be faster and put yourself in the right positions."
On the differences between Doug Collins and Thad Matta: "Coach Matta was a little more relaxed and gave you a little more freedom. Coach Collins is a little tougher because he wants you to learn more about the game. He knows a lot about the game and wants to help you improve right away. He tries to perfect your game, and he can because he knows a lot about basetball."
On his typical workout: "I wake up and start with agility drills. Then I'll shoot on the court for two hours. After that I'll lift weights. My day usually starts at 8 o'clock and ends around 12:30. I'll go back to do more for an hour or so at night."
On what he's working on: "I'm just working on my overall game. I am trying to focus a little more on coming off screens and my ball handling."
On advice he got from Ryan Howard about playing in Philly: "He said you gotta compare Philly to like a big brother...some days he's gonna like you and some days he might not like you, but he still loves you, and it's all about what you do and how you do things...but it's always having the support, no matter what."
On working through problems: "I can pull myself out of any slump, I always have the confidence that I'll persevere, and come out on top no matter what I do."
Other Bloggers in attendance