Doug Collins and Evan Turner: Frenemies?

Since being drafted #2 overall, Evan Turner hasn't exactly been thrust into a pivotal role by coach Doug Collins. When the team finished .500 last year and Turner was one of the least efficient rookies in basketball, I took issue with it. This year, the 18-9 Sixers are that good in large part due to Evan's improvement on The Night Shift. But in spite of that, Collins keeps him on the shortest leash of anyone on the team.

Conspiracy theorists will say that Doug hates Turner. He doesn't want him on the team and is trying to parse his minutes out as such. He has something "against" Turner. A grudge, if you will. They'll point to the Orlando game, when the Sixers had a 20-plus point lead and watched it shrivel to five points in the last few minutes. Collins' fuming was particularly directed at ET, who led out his frustration by spiking a towel on his way to the locker room. The towel was reportedly unharmed, but people took that to indicate a rift between the 2nd year guard and his coach.

Since the Towel Incident, Evan's played over 25 minutes just once, including two games in a row (both losses) where he played 17 and 11 minutes, respectively. He has not attempted more than 8 shots in any of those 6 games, getting to the line just twice (2-2!) and jacking just three 3's (2-3!). So what gives?

My interpretation is that Collins has different priorities than we do. My biggest priority (still, even though I'm apparently FanBoy7676 now) is developing Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner to the point that they can carry a team. Doug doesn't think so. He's more apt to play Louis Williams, who either BOSSes or BUSTs, and still leave him in the game. If Jrue or Evan make a mistake, the Yank Squad comes and directs them to the bench.

I think he's just more into "coaching" those two. And individual player coaching rarely happens at the NBA level, especially as the guys get older. He knows how good they can be, and he wants them to become complete players before handing the team over to them entirely. This isn't something I particularly agree with, but at the same time, I don't think he's holding a grudge against Turner (or Jrue) in hopes that they'll trade him for Keith Bogans or something. It's not the end of the world, but as I said, it's not how I'd handle it.

This could be some of the pre-Collins talk we heard about how he grinds on players and wears out his welcome. Hopefully that's not the case and we can see Evan for 30 a night soon.

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