After a rookie season filled with ups, and a lot of downs, Evan Turner finally put together a stretch of games worthy of the hype that came with being drafted number two overall. And it couldn't have come at a better time, or on a bigger stage: the NBA Playoffs, against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the NWO-ish Miami HEAT.
Following a regular season which saw him put up a PER of 10.8 (21st amongst 34 rookies who played at least 500 minutes), Turner saw his PER increase 17.3 in the playoffs. Before you jump through you're computer screen, I acknowledge the miniscule sample size, but you simply can't ignore the significant improvement shown. Not only were his stats trending upward, he was hitting clutch free throws, earning standing ovations, playing more-than-adequate defense on arguably the two best perimeter players in the league, and punk'ing James Jones for good measure.
We'll delve more into Turner's playoff performance and season as a whole when we begin player evaluations (don't worry, they're coming), but I just wanted to issue a friendly reminder on how Turner ended his rookie season, in case the lockout had fogged your memory.
Turner's playoff performance represents a small sample size indeed – 97 minutes to be exact, but those 97 minutes may prove crucial in his young career. Had he been embarrassed, exposed and completely outmatched you can imagine how miserable his summer would be. As an unproven NBA commodity, he'd have longer than usual because of the lockout to dwell on how bad he sucks, and completely lose his confidence. Plus, the BUST talk among fans would be rampant. Instead, everyone feels pretty good about Turner, including himself, I'm sure. He's even quietly received some buzz as a candidate for Most Improved next season.
Not only was his performance important for his confidence and the fans' confidence in him, but the front office's confidence as well. Do you think the Sixers would have (allegedly) shopped Andre Iguodala a much as they had pre-draft if they didn't believe in Evan Turner? I don't think so.
With all that said, let's take a look at what confident Evan Turner has been up to these last few days via his Twitter account:
At olive garden about to eat. I know it's not authentic Italian food but hey o gotta make it do what it do.
Grabbing ihop and then hitting the road. #NYbound
At least he's not on the Twizzlers and water diet like Andre Iguodala.
Man nba2k11 is not realistic. They got derrick rose dunking all over @spencerhawes00 everytime. That aint realistic #lol
He misspelled "couldn't be more realistic".
RT @JarrelTolbert: Me, @thekidet , and @IamJustMe773 are gonna have to find a new spot to workout. Are you serious sir? http://yfrog.com/kjes1qdj
Picture speaks for itself. I hope that's not Herb Magee. Speaking of ...
Bout to go work on my jumper with HOF coach Herb Magee #congrats
There had been speculation that Turner and world-renowned shooting coach Herb Magee WOULD NOT be working together, despite previous reports, but as Derek reported in June they still planned to. Now we get conformation directly from ET's Twitter. I'm excited.
I think I wanna move to NY one day
RUMOR: EVAN TURNER FOR CARMELO ANTHONY
Mani and pedi time. My nails have gotten too long!
On that note ...