COMMENTARY | Oct. 30 is a big news day for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Main story: The Sixers tip off the 2013-14 regular season against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia.
Feature story: One of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, Allen Iverson, returns to Philadelphia and will officially retire as a 76er before the game.
Evan Turner enters the final year of his rookie contract, and if he doesn't re-up by midnight, which is highly likely, he'll become a free agent and skip town at the end of the season.
John Wall vs. Evan Turner
Before the 2010 draft, Turner was arguably a better NBA prospect than University of Kentucky freshman John Wall, who was the eventual No. 1 overall pick by the Washington Wizards.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 210-pound Turner did it all as a junior at Ohio State, averaging 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6 assists a game. After leading the Buckeyes to a 27-7 regular season record and a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, he was named the Naismith College Player of the Year.
However, after three seasons, Wall has been the better player and has made the bigger splash in the league. The Wizards' point guard has averaged 16.9 points, 8 assists and 4.4 rebounds in his career, while Turner has averaged 10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 rebounds.
Being the No. 2 overall selection in the NBA draft carries with it heavy expectations. In his first three seasons, the Sixers' Turner hasn't lived up to the hype.
While haters may highlight his turnovers (his career average is 1.7 a night, but it seems like it should be a lot higher), more worrisome is Turner's shooting. His inconsistency and .329 career percentage from 3-point land don't cut it, particularly for a baller with his skill-set and wealth of potential.
So, will Turner be Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant or the Miami Heat's Michael Beasley?
Like Turner, both Durant (2007) and Beasley (2008) were No. 2 overall draft picks and highly touted rookies upon entering the NBA.
Durant? He hasn't done too bad, becoming a true superstar. Beasley? He has settled in, becoming potentially a great sixth man.
Why will Evan Turner have a big year?
Time is up for Turner in Philadelphia. An organization and city can only wait so long on a player to blossom.
Which is fine with Turner. He's the star on a terrible team, maybe the worst in the league, that is rebuilding, and he knows he likely won't be a part of its construction plans in the future.
In other words, the 24-year-old guard/forward has the green light to go and nothing to lose but all to gain during the 2013-14 season. He's playing for a big payday, not from the 76ers, but other clubs around the league.
Also in Turner's corner is new Sixers head coach Brett Brown. The former San Antonio Spurs assistant who watched Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili do it for years wants his squad to push the ball and attack the basket, which is what Turner does best.
Check the preseason box scores. Turner is already putting in work. Against Bilboa, he scored 25 points and had five rebounds, against the Brooklyn Nets, he had 23 points with four assists, and against the Thunder, he had 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Flukes? No, these are the numbers Turner will put up all season long.
Last 10 No. 2 NBA Draft picks
2013 Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)
2012 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats)
2011 Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves)
2010 Evan Turner (Philadelphia 76ers)
2009 Hasheem Thabeet (Memphis Grizzlies)
2008 Michael Beasley (Miami Heat)
2007 Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
2006 LaMarcus Aldridge (Chicago Bulls)
2005 Marvin Williams (Atlanta Hawks)
2004 Emeka Okafor (Charlotte Bobcats)
Dwayne C. Nelson lives in Philadelphia and has been a Sixers follower since the days of Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone, Andrew Jones and Bobby Jones. Follow him at dcntweets.
More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Evan Turner
- Miami Heat
- Kevin Durant
- Michael Beasley