Evan Turner (Getty)The 76ers' hot start was well behind them, thanks to a 4-9 record over a span of 13 games, during which they had averaged just 89 points on offense. Doug Collins' answer? Bench Jodie Meeks and promote Evan Turner to the starting five. Turner made and missed a lot of jumpshots in his first start on Monday in Milwaukee, but did some good things otherwise (32 minutes, 2 points, 1-12 FG, 12 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block). His second start, Wednesday against the Celtics, produced much better offensive results: 37 minutes, 26 points, 11-19 FG, 9 boards, 2 assists. After the game, Collins summed up his thoughts on Turner, his role, and the team moving forward:
"He needs the ball in his hands. When he has the ball in his hands, he's a totally different player. Maybe Jrue didn't have it in his hands as much, and maybe Dre didn't with the three of them out there together, and that's the thing we're trying to figure out how we can do that and play comfortable where all three of those guys can play well ... Evan's a point guard. At the end of the day, he's a point guard. The big thing about it is that we have to play an extended period of time with him and Dre out there together and that's what I'm locked into. Unless there's an injury, I'm going to finish the year with those two guys playing together."
This is quite an abrupt about-face for Collins and obviously bodes well for Turner's fantasy potential, but Wednesday's domination of the listless Celtics doesn't whitewash some limitations we've seen thus far. He's shooting 42 percent from the field and 65 percent from the line on the season, and his per-36s include 0.3 threes, 0.8 steals, and 0.3 blocks. One area where Turner has excelled is on the defensive boards (5.2 in 24 minutes), and Collins will push him to consistently translate those boards into transition opportunities. In a best-case scenario involving a short and successful adjustment process and increased confidence directly translating to the box score, Turner will be good for points, boards, and assists, and that shooting percentage will come up as the 76ers look to up the pace and he spends more time finishing around the rim.
Read More »from Court Report: Meet Evan Turner, starting point guard