Evan Turner, taken with the second overall pick in the draft, is kind of a microcosm of what the team's higher-ups hope the future is - OK now, great later.
In two preseason games, Turner, who has spent most of his time at the point instead of at shooting guard where most envisioned him, has averaged about 26 minutes, nine points and six rebounds. He's turned the ball over only once, but has made just two of 14 shots. There are glimpses of his talent sprinkled in between uncertainty and frustration.
"I think he's gotten better every day," said Sixers director of player personnel Courtney Witte. "Obviously, it's a learning process with coach [Doug] Collins' staff. What was taught this summer is a carryover, but yet it's new and it's coming at a higher rate. I think he's been a sponge and I think he's learning to trust his teammates, talk to his teammates, and, in turn, they're learning him. I think that he's gotten an education every day. He's picking things up.
"We know we've got a good player with a high-skill level. You really can't expect a high pick to come in and dominate right away. It rarely happens. He's got a high IQ level. Rarely does a player step right into a situation as a rookie and be something special. We're excited. He's got a big-time future ahead of him. The real basic premise here is that coach is trying to build a team that's competitive and gets better and understands what he's trying to get accomplished. I think that's what Evan's trying to do."
Fellow rookie Craig Brackins, whom the Sixers got in a trade with New Orleans, is also a player Witte sees having an impact in the future.
"We liked Craig Brackins in the draft, we spent a lot of time evaluating him. We were excited that we got an opportunity to get him here. He's a talented and skilled big and those are hard to find. He's got offensive capability. I think you can see that he has to work on his body and his strength, but as far as his competitiveness and his understanding of the game he's ahead of the grade. Again, he's a rookie and trying to understand what coach is trying to do and accomplish with the schemes and all and what it is to be a pro, there's good things ahead for him also."