Did Not Play - Coaches Decision
It's the abbreviation none of us expected to see next to Turner's name in the boxscore when the Sixers lucked out in the lottery that fateful day last May.
I've been one of Evan Turner's biggest supporters. I supported his drafting, long before the draft, and suggested he could be the half court focal point the Sixers needed. I defended his Summer League play. I blew off his preseason. I reveled in his first game against the heat. I compared his slow start to other very good players. I went on the record that Turner would be the Sixers best half court player, by the end of the year. I agitated Doug Collins at a post game press conference when asking about Evan Turner's inconsistent playing time. Throughout the year, my primary concern has been the development of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.
That's what makes this declaration so depressing. Nobody hoped for Evan Turner, believed in Evan Turner, and excused Evan Turner more than I did. We're well beyond Turner not deserving to start over Jodie Meeks, a second round pick in the 2009 draft, something I would have bet anybody before the season that this would never have happened. It's debatable whether he's outplayed Andres Nocioni for 8th man.
With Doug Collins earlier today all but admitting he doesn't trust Evan Turner right now, I can't blame him. Evan Turner doesn't deserve to be part of a playoff rotation.
For a moment, let's try to ignore Doug Collins track record with playing rookies. Let's ignore the fact that Doug Collins allegedly didn't want Turner with the draft pick. Let's focus on what Evan Turner has earned since he was selected second overall by the 76ers.
Only 3 rookies this year who have less than a 10 PER and have gotten over 1000 minutes of playing time: Wesley Johnson (1886), Evan Turner (1641), and Al-Farouq Aminu (1328). Aminu and Johnson's teams barely have as many wins combined (46) as the Sixers do (39), and have long since been out of playoff contention.
There are no rookies, none, who have played 1000 minutes who have been less efficient than Evan Turner's 47.7% TS%. The only ones who are close have been the former Wildcats John Wall (48.5%) and DeMarcus Cousins (47.8%). Their teams, on average, have won 19 games each.
In fact, there have only been 19 rookies in the last 15 years who have played more minutes than Evan Turner and have been less efficient offensively: Kenny Thomas, Kenyon Martin, Quinton Ross, Chris Duhon, Antonio Daniels, Terrence Williams, Jarvis Hayes, Bobby Jackson, Adam Morrison, Jamaal Tinsley, Anthony Carter, Anthony Johnson, Junior Harrington, Antoine Walker, Brandon Jennings, Jay Williams, Eddie Griffin, Rajon Rondo, and Corey Brewer. Only 4 (Brandon Jennings, Jamaal Tinsley, Chris Duhon, Anthony Carter) have played on above .500 teams.
Not exactly grand company.
At this stage in his development, he's a midrange jump shooting wing, who's not getting to the line, doesn't have three point range, and isn't going to have the ball enough to create significantly for others. Oh, and he's a rookie who's going to make rookie mistakes and be inconsistent with his play, as he's provided ample evidence of over the last two weeks.
When you add in the fact that Turner's most NBA ready assets are duplicated by Andre Iguodala (and to a lesser extent Jrue Holiday), and that the lack of floor spacing becomes an issue when adding another perimeter player with a questionable jump shot, that he's one of the worst represented in terms of +/- (and how well the current starting lineup is doing), it's no surprise Doug Collins doesn't feel comfortable relying on the rookie in a playoff run.
Before everyone jumps on me, here's what I'm not saying.
I'm not giving up on Evan Turner. I still think he's a very talented young player who I look forward to watching develop into a complete player. He's still one of the reasons I'm excited for this teams future.
I'm not saying Turner shouldn't have played earlier in the year, perhaps even more than he did. He may not have earned it with his play, but developing Turner -- or at the very least finding out what you have in him -- is a huge concern for this franchise. I've argued that point all year. That was an argument for playing time in November, December and January. Not with 7 games left in the regular season, and certainly not in the playoffs.
At this point, you have to earn your playing time. Turner was given every opportunity to do so during the past few months as Nocioni was getting splinters in his back side, and he failed to secure the spot. Over his last 8 games, Turner has needed 26 shots to score his 25 points. He was given an opportunity to start for the injured Andre Iguodala a little over a week ago in Portland, and he committed 4 fouls in 17 minutes of playing time. The last straw appeared to be his 6 minute run in Chicago, where Turner was completely ineffective on both sides of the ball.
At this point, Turner's season won't be saved. He's not going to gain back his own confidence, win the coaches trust, and develop chemistry with his teammates during this last stretch run. We're not going to prove -- or disprove -- that he can play with Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala. That ship has sailed, whether that be Doug Collins fault or Evan Turner's fault is up for (some) debate.
I'm also not saying Andres Nocioni won the spot in the rotation, or even that he's a better option. Nocioni's been equally inefficient offensively, or close to it (and has been on a downward trend since leaving Chicago). Plus, at this stage in his career, he's a lesser defender than Evan Turner, while making similar mental mistakes.
What I am saying is that the fact that we can sit here and actually have this argument represents a colossal disappointment in this eyes of this Sixers fan. One of the Sixers cornerstones, the stroke of luck that was the first bright spot in this Sixers turnaround last summer when we won the lottery, has a cloud of uncertainty that won't be settled for at the minimum another 8 months. Rather than having Evan Turner matched up against Paul Pierce of Dwyane Wade in the first round of the playoffs, we'll have to watch Andres Nocioni's futile attempts to defend them.
And it will be on merit. Not because of a stubborn coach.