Mar 8, 2012, 1:56 AM EDT
“I get to wake up and play basketball for a living,” Evan Turner said in response to vague speculation of some mystery issue the guard is fighting through prior to Wednesday night’s blowout win over the Boston Celtics.
“I don’t really have many problems like normal people have.”
Some might consider guarding Rajon Rondo to be a challenging problem. Evan Turner had an answer to that one, shutting down Beantown’s All-Star guard and using his size as an advantage on the offensive end, putting up a career-high 26 points.
Turner has struggled for much of the season coming off of Doug Collins bench prompting many fans to loudly ask why the organization ever waste the No. 2 overall draft pick on him in the first place?
He showed exactly why last night against the Celtics. Turner, the team’s best rebounder, was off and running, leading the Sixers break all night long. He showed that his ability to run the floor is indeed his best skill. He showed his vision when handling the ball (watch the sickkkkk alley-oop to Dre here). He showed a new-found ability to take the ball to the basket and finish. He showed Paul Pierce where to pick up his jock strap. And he even showed some range, draining a three ball.
Evan Turner isn’t nearly as bad as many of his detractors think; he’s also probably not at a point where he’s going to put in a performance like Wednesday night on a daily basis. But what his game against the Celtics showed is that the No. 2 overall draft pick bona fides are somewhere inside there waiting for a chance to flourish.
Doug Collins called Turner a leader following last night’s win and pledged to keep him in the starting lineup alongside Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala for the remainder of the season.
This decision will be welcomed news to the contingent of fans view the development of Turner and Holiday as the single most important aspect of the Sixers 2011-2012 season. We won’t really know exactly what Turner has until we get to see more minutes of it.
Turner didn’t want to toot his own horn or read too much into one great night, instead preferring to say he’ll just show up to put in his hard work. He’ll work hard day in and day out, grinding, putting in the work to become a better player. Then, at the end of the day, look up and see where he stands.
The kid is clearly a work in progress, don’t confuse one night for an immediate turnaround, but for the past two games and the remainder of the season Evan is going to get to do more work in real, important games — in the starting lineup to boot.
Evan Turner plays basketball for a living. And he’s going to do it very well for a long time. It won’t all happen over night, but you’ll get to watch it, and when it all clicks, it’s worth the price of admission.
Watch some of Evan’s highlights in his career-high 26 point effort. Malik Rose even dropped a Facebook line.
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