The Philadelphia 76ers currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and lead the Atlantic Division. Basketball fans in the City of Brotherly Love are amped for a strong finish to the regular season and a meaningful playoff run after an impressive first-round exit courtesy of the Heatles in 2011.
SG/SF Evan Turner was inserted into coach Doug Collins’ starting lineup last week, and his numbers have exploded. Turner was the 2nd overall pick out of Ohio State in the 2010 NBA Draft. After struggling to adjust to the intense, super-speed, pro-level game in his rookie season, the 6’7” Buckeye and 2010 National Collegiate Player of The Year has seemingly found his groove.
In his rookie year Turner averaged 23 minutes per game, 7.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 2 apg. This compacted season, he’s averaging 25.6 minutes per game, 9 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 2.7 apg. However, Turner put up serious ‘growth’ numbers in Philly’s nine March contests: 13.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 3.1 apg in 33.1 minutes. Even better, in his last six games Turner has improved to 17.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.5 apg and 37.5 minutes per game.
Obviously, Coach Collins and Turner’s teammates have developed more trust and confidence in the 2nd-year wing player, and he is taking full advantage of his opportunity. Turner’s on-court production is finally catching up to his high basketball IQ. And after receiving a lot of flack (as did the 76ers organization) for his lack of numbers last season, Turner has ‘turned’ the corner and become a player you have to account for in transition and in half-court sets.
Look for Evan Turner’s numbers and fantasy value to continue on an upward trajectory now that he is a no-doubt, full-time starter for the first time in his burgeoning career.