Evan Turner confident about joining 76ers

Evan Turner of Ohio State is expected to be drafted second overall by the Sixers.
Evan Turner of Ohio State is expected to be drafted second overall by the Sixers.
Posted: June 22, 2010

Evan Turner expects to become a 76er.

The Ohio State junior guard has refused to participate in predraft workouts for other NBA teams. He's even jokingly told the Philadelphia-area media to "be nice to me in the future."

"I would kind of be surprised, definitely," Turner said of possibly not becoming a Sixer.

But the decision, obviously, will be made by the Sixers - not Turner. And team president and general manager Ed Stefanski has stated that using the second overall pick on Turner in Thursday's draft is not a lock.

Exploring all of their options, the Sixers are listening to trade offers from teams looking to move up in the draft. The expectation is that the Washington Wizards will use the No. 1 overall pick on John Wall, the Kentucky guard.

The Sixers are expected to keep the second pick and use it on the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Turner. However, there have been reports that they may select Derrick Favors, a 6-10 power forward at Georgia Tech, instead.

While the 18-year-old Favors has potential, Turner, 21, appears to be a safe pick for a team in desperate need of a shooting guard.

"If Evan is the guy we end up taking, you start thinking of a [point guard] Jrue Holiday, who is the youngest player in the NBA," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "You talk about Evan, and you have two guys who could be a combination for seven, eight years in the backcourt together.

"And I think that is one of the things that Eddie Stefanski and I have talked about is where you have some holes, you can't fill them all at once. You try to get guys that you think can be really good for a long period of time."

Turner has the ability to play point guard, shooting guard or small forward. He swept the Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Associated Press, Naismith, and Sporting News awards for national player of the year in 2009-10. He averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.7 steals.

One of the highlights of his junior season was a game-winning, 37-foot three-pointer as time expired in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal victory over Michigan.

Turner's impressive midrange game, high basketball IQ, and craftiness are among the many reasons the Sixers are expected to pair him with Holiday.

"Evan Turner is a complete basketball player," Stefanski said.

"He's a player that makes his teammates on the court better. And he is a guy that doesn't mind the ball in clutch and tough situations."

But critics question Turner's athleticism and believe a lot of his success comes from dominating the ball. With that, some wonder if he can flourish while the ball is primarily in Holiday's hands.

As a Sixer, Turner may have to run off screens to get the ball, something he didn't have to do in college.

Playing off the ball "is easy to do if you are a willing learner," said Collins, who was drafted by the Sixers with the first overall pick in 1973.

"I mean, I did it. I had the ball in my hands in college and came in here and [former Sixers coach] Gene Shue taught how to be to able to play off the ball, and that became my strength.

"That will be my job, if we do take him, to teach him that."

Having his ability questioned is nothing new for Turner.

Growing up in Chicago, he often took a backseat to Derrick Rose, now an NBA star for his hometown Bulls. Turner wasn't even regarded as the best player on his high school team, St. Joseph of suburban Chicago. That honor went to point guard Demetri McCamey, who will be a senior next season at Illinois.

Turner said people have doubted him pretty much throughout his career.

"I think the best revenge is just by being successful and doing what they said you can't do," Turner said.

Come Thursday, he hopes the Sixers give him the upper hand over Favors by selecting him with the second pick.

"I just think definitely the personnel" is a good fit, he said. "Jrue is a young guard. Andre Iguodala is a great wing. Elton [Brand] is really good. Thaddeus Young is really good. I think this is a good city and a good program.

"You look two years ago, they made the playoffs, repeatedly. And I think I can help out in this situation."

Draft party. The 76ers will host a draft party Thursday at the Wachovia Center starting at 4 p.m. The draft begins at 7:30 p.m.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com.