Alot of people, I included, when we drafted #2 pick Evan Turner, was stoked. Turner had an NBA-Ready game, the jumper, the handles, the Andre Miller-esque speed in half-court situations to get to the rim. Turner was a weird combination of shooting guard skills with Point Guard skills. Truth be told, there have been very few 2 guards of Turner's projected caliber. Thinking of a SG that has a pure mid-range shot, can handle the ball and make players better, Brandon Roy has been the oft-comparison and we may yet see that side of Turner(We've seen glimpses, including Opening night against Miami and 27 VS PHX). Another SG that comes to mind is Kobe Bryant, and truth be told the comparison isn't that far off either. Like Kobe, Turner has a fire about him that just wants to win as he transformed Ohio State into a contending NCAA team. But unlike the Kobe/AI era, Turner understands what it means to win. Whereas AI never got it and Kobe needed to butt heads with Phil Jackson and experience Smush Parker and Luke Walton before getting it.
A part of that, is being coached by Doug Collins, a basketball guru, having played against and coached some of the greats and having traveled around the world as an Olympian, Turner has been able to read a bible of knowledge that very few young players can get exposed to. In the midst of all of these little factors that could build up to a great, great NBA player however, was an Evan Turner mostly struggling to find his place. A Turner that doesn't yet understand that being off the ball doesn't mean your not a part of the offense. To those of us who were expecting Turner to translate, this sight was unbearable.
It was even more unbearable, knowing there was a 19 year old that albeit raw, could block shots, alter the game and is a young big. You win with bigs, Favors might not have translated right away, but Favors didn't show anything that suggested otherwise. We knew it'd be a 2-3 year waiting period with Favors. I'm not going to say Favors is the next Howard, because Howard translated right away. Can Favors be a healthier Bynum? I think so, and that's a starting 5/4 in the league, neither of which 3-5 years from now, we have.
So I want to first start off by saying, yeah, the calls for Favors aren't totally absurd. A potential game-changer when Jrue's in his prime, and we get cap space. It shouldn't have to be either Favors or Turner. We should have used Daly's expiring+ a guy like Iggy not for Spencer freaking Hawes, but for the chance to get Favors.
Now, NJ took Favors at 3 but Avery Johnson is a win-now coach and you can be sure he was involved in that process even if he wasn't the coach. You don't think he doesn't take Iggy/Daly? In a heartbeat he takes that(and the Nets would have a much better season and an actual foundation on which to build on).
However, I'd have to say that we Turner Translaters were a bit shortsighted. We were of the opinion that a top-pick should result in a player that translates immediately to the game, that helps you in some capacity. Throughout most of the season, that hadn't been the case. Hence, the calls of BUST.
Evan Turner has redefined the draft, into what it should be regardless of what draft status you were: The draft is to get players, who can come into the league and contribute. The Evan Turner we have right now is pretty special, what he's averaging like 8/4? That might not be #2 overall-worthy if we look at it from the age-old perspective of high picks=highly productive players. But if we look at it as "Who can best contribute to the game", how well is John Wall contributing in Washington?
Let's be honest, Deron Williams and CP3 Led their teams(which weren't exactly talented) back into contention year by year. LeBron James inherited the worst franchise in NBA history and turned them into back-to-back 60 winners.
John Wall might have the stats of a #1 overall pick, but he doesn't have the results. He hasn't as Saunders foolishly stated "transformed the PG position" or made Washington any better of a team. Once again, the Wizards must pin their hopes on the lottery, when no Wizards fan probably wanted to see themselves back there.
Our Sixers might be stranded on an island, but not many of us thought they'd remain on the island to begin with. We thought the island was breaking and they'd sink to the bottom of the sea, continuing with the analogy we hoped they sank to the bottom of the sea, in the hopes of finding the legendary city Atlantis(a top draft pick). So whose kept us ontop of the island? It's not Iguodala, sure his shot selection is better, but he lost his free throw shooting and hence hasn't made as big of an impact as one would hope. Brand without a doubt, and Thad rebounding from last yr helped as well.
But did we have a secondary playmaker off the bench? Lou played well last yr, but that Lou is very very absent this year. I haven't the doubt that if not for Turner, we wouldn't be averaging the most bench points in the league. Turner makes things go with his playmaking skills. When Turner's aggressive, even if it's only for 10-12 minutes you can bet those 12 minutes changed the game from a Sixers L to a W.
What we would like to see is for those 10-12 minutes to turn into 48 minutes, but then everybody would like to see that. If we have to wait for a year, so be it.
Pumper will probably call this an apologist post, but it isn't I'm still very upset, I consider off the ball basketball to be very elementary. When your cutting the corners, and when you cut them hard and fast, you find yourself at the rim with the ball. Or, you can find yourself open for the mid-range shot, which he patented over the years in College.
The difference is, I can wait now. I can wait for Turner to discover the meaning of off the ball basketball. I can wait for him to understand that he can take the initative and post-up the smaller guard that would hopelessly be un able to guard him, instead of sparing him by waving his arms for the ball.
And I can wait because he's shown me something. Maybe not #2 worthy in the old days, but in today's game with the obvious lack of talent in the league, if Turner has translated into an NBA-ready player and he has, that's worthy of a top pick.
We could have Darko Milicic instead ;).