SLAMonline Mock Draft: Evan Turner, No. 2
It all starts with a little luck…
With the second pick in the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select…
Evan Turner from Ohio State University.
As of May 19, a day after the NBA lottery, Ed Stefanski was fired from his position as Sixers General Manager. Until Ed Snider can find a replacement, Doobie Okon will act as Interim GM and assume all power over the Draft. Doobs had this to say:
Well, I certainly did not expect to get that call from the Sixers. Apparently, they don’t care that I’m merely a server at a restaurant, and requested my managerial skills to assist the Sixers in not blowing this opportunity of a lifetime, like they do everything else.
Let me tell you one thing, my Sixers had a bad season. I mean bad doesn’t even come close to encompassing everything that went wrong this year, but I’ve never watched a more dreadful team sleepwalk all over the court. And the worst part of it all was knowing the entire time that the future looked just as bleak too.
Stefanski failed to pull the trigger on a mid-season deal with Houston that would’ve allowed us to unload Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert and their massively overpaid contracts totaling $24.5 million for ‘10-11. Lord only knows what could’ve been done with that kind of money coming off the books next year. Especially with the summer free agency bonanza looming. Ah, to think what could’ve been…
Couple that mistake with the one of the worst coaching hirings in the history of the franchise in Eddie Jordan and it’s easy to see why the Sixers failed to make the Playoffs. Jordan came over preaching the Princeton offense, a fluid half-court system where passing and cuts are ever so important. And if there was ever an offense less suited to run the Princeton than the Sixers, I’d be shocked to see it. The past couple years, the Sixers have somewhat succeeded by utilizing their strengths, in particular their running game and their ability to get buckets in the open floor. Andre Miller ran the offense to a T, and I could maybe understand Jordan trying to implement the difficult Princeton with Miller still at the helm, but he jetted for Portland long before the season started. Can’t say I blame ya, ‘Dre.
What resulted? Not only did the Sixers miss the Playoffs, but they compiled a horrible 27-55 record highlighted by a boring offense with no shooters and an extremely lazy defense that surrendered 101.6 points per game. And what made it even worse was by the time everyone realized that the mounting losses were probably a good thing, the team would throw together a few wins here and there and only finished with the sixth worst record in the League. 6.3 percent chance for the top lottery pick.
But then a funny thing happened in Secaucus, NJ. The basketball gods threw Philadelphia a bone. Somehow, someway we finally got the break we needed, the first we’ve received since the 1996 lottery, and managed to draw the number two pick in this talented Draft. Lady luck showed some Brotherly Love that day.
Ironically enough, the Sixers sent Jrue Holiday to the lottery as their representative, who had to be the happiest person in Philly to see the Wizards beat out the Sixers for John Wall–who most certainly would take Holiday’s spot as Philadelphia’s starting 1. Funny stuff.
And now is where I come in. Stefanski would certainly blow this, so thank god I’m in charge. This pick touches on the age-old draft question of team needs vs. best-available player, as the Sixers’ enormous need for big men greatly differs from the kind of player Evan Turner is.
As much as I still believe that big men are vital to winning in the NBA, those needs can be filled later. The Sixers have embarked on a rebuilding process that could take two, three, four years to materialize in to simply a deep Playoff run, and Jrue Holiday was a great way to begin last year. But now, out of nowhere, the bball gods have given the Sixers some beautiful, fresh yellow lemons and it’s time to make the best friggin’ lemonade possible.
It’s a tough choice to make, given that two of the top five picks will be the 6’11, 270-pound DeMarcus Cousins and the 6-10, 246-pound Derrick Favors, whose youth, big bodies and massive potential would fit in to the long haul of the rebuilding process quite well.
But this is where you take Durant. This is where you take Carmelo. This is where you take Wade.
And this is where you take Evan Turner.
The Big Ten Player of the Year.
The National Player of the Year.
He posted 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game this season, all while shooting a fantastic 51.9 percent from the floor. And I don’t buy that he’s not a good shooter. He might not be a lethal three-point machine in the NBA, but his mid-range jumper is good enough to get him by. And take in to account that the former Buckeye plays very solid defense on the perimeter and you’ve got a quintessential point forward.
Some might call Turner “old” when considering the ages of the other top-5 prospects. Wall and his teammate Cousins are both 19 while Favors is still only 18. But three years of college level experience and maturation will serve a kid like Turner well, who, at 21 years old, is very coachable and has superstar potential.
Turner is 6-7, 210 pounds which is a solid frame for now. We will definitely run in to a problem when you consider both Iguodala and Thaddeus Young, who are both similar in size to Turner and play the same kind of game. Hopefully, I can work out another trade involving Iggy, assuming Stefanski didn’t totally shut the door on that one, and I would love to have the 21-year-old Young as an integral part of this fresh start. Turner will probably get a little bigger in the NBA, much like the 6-8 phenoms LeBron, Carmelo and Durant have in their young careers, and he will need to in order to withstand the physical nature of the League.
But he has the same kind of potential all those guys had, and that’s to be an all-star and a franchise player. In today’s NBA, where one Draft choice can turn an entire organization from a laughing stock in to a powerhouse, you just can’t afford to pass on a guy like Evan Turner.
It makes me laugh to think that the Sixers, after all the crap they went through this season, still managed to land the number two pick. Sports are just essentially games at heart, and there’s nothing more luck-heavy than the NBA lottery. And because of their sudden surge of good fortune, the Sixers might’ve just found their way out of the trenches, but it will be a long journey.
Turner and Holiday are a good start. Hiring a proven, ambitious coach in Doug Collins is a good start. Getting rid of the ridiculous contracts that Iggy, Dalembert and Elton Brand have would be even better. But all of that comes later in the process. Right now is the turning point for this franchise, and we will take advantage. We took Allen Iverson in 1996 and, despite of the controversies, it turned out to be the selection of one of the greatest players to ever walk through the Broad Street. I’m not saying Turner is the Answer, but who knows? Can’t let this golden opportunity pass by…
…Damn, I just woke up. The dream’s over. Of course I’m not the Sixers GM…I’m a goddamn server at a restaurant. Oh well….Stefanski, please don’t screw this up. I know you will.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|