Local Product, #2 Overall Pick Turner Getting Another Chance in Philly


Normally, the second overall pick in the NBA
Draft shouldn't have to struggle so mightily to make the ten man
rotation; especially as his rookie season winds down. However, Evan Turner's rookie year with the Philadelphia 76ers has been anything but normal; and not in a good way.

The Chicago native who took home all the major national player of the year awards in college basketball last season saw his NBA career get off to a very rough start. He looked terrible in summer league; had an atrocious first couple months and when he returned to play in his hometown versus the Bulls, his numbers read like this: 6.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 40.6 FG%, 1.8 Asst

However, a major injury has forced Turner back into the rotation, and
with it comes another opportunity for the 76ers to see some better ROI
on their 3 year, $12 million investment.

Sixth man of the year candidate Lou Williams will miss the remainder of the season due to a strained right hamstring, suffered in Saturday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Therefore, Coach Doug Collins announced that Turner's role will increase in the wake of Williams'
injury. Collins said that Turner is most comfortable with the ball in
his hands, which means he will now serve as backup point guard to
starter Jrue Holiday. Of course, the Sixers have another guard in Antonio Daniels on the roster; but Turner is also second string off guard behind Jodie Meeks.

You might have seen Gene Pingatore, Coach of St. Joseph
High School in Westchester, Illinois in the 1994 documentary "Hoop
Dreams," which followed two high school students with dreams of
playing in the NBA. He was also Turner's high school coach, and the leader of the West team in the McDonald's All-American game.

"He's going to get better, he's gotten better," Pingatore said when I caught up to him at MAA media day.

"Part of the thing with Evan, he's in a system where if he stays
there, it's going to take time for Collins to appreciate his talents.
Collins likes to play older guys everyone knows that. I don't know
what's going to happen, if someone's going to get traded or if it'll
stay that way. But Evan's a good kid. He'll do what he needs to do, he's
coachable. He's fundamentally very sound and he'll be in the league a
long time."

Pingatore has helped produce countless college and professional players including former McDonald's All Americans Isiah Thomas in 1979, Daryl Thomas in 1983 and Deryl Cunningham 1989.

Turner had 21 points in a 99-82 loss at the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. He had 11 points over his last four games combined, so this was a pleasant surprise.

Unfortunately he followed that up with a DNP-CD on Saturday, and
then just four points and seven boards on Wednesday. His current numbers
today read like this: 7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 42.1% FG.
Pingatore seems to think Turner is better off running the point
instead of playing the two or the three. Out of need he moved to the one
at Ohio State; and all he did there was win a Naismith and Wooden award.

"I always thought he'd become a point when he hit the pros, because
he sees the floor well, he can handle it, he passes well.  Maybe he
needs to work on his three point shooting, Derrick Rose in high school
could not shoot the three, but he's developed it well."

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He's also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank


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