Turner stays positive through decline of playing time

The 76ers' Evan Turner has averaged fewer points and fewer rebounds this month.
The 76ers' Evan Turner has averaged fewer points and fewer rebounds this month. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 17, 2012

As he sat in front of his locker stall in the Amway Center in Orlando, you could almost see Evan Turner's mind at work as he digested the question concerning the dip in his playing time.

This was just before he played 26 minutes and scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds in the 76ers' 103-87 loss to a hot-shooting Magic team Wednesday night.

"I don't know," said Turner, averaging almost 21 minutes per game in February compared with the 26 he logged in January. "I have never asked [coach Doug Collins]. What I don't want to do is become the squeaky wheel that needs oiling.

"Look, we're winning games and I'm happy," the second-year player continued. "So I'm just going to continue to support my teammates and play my best and do what I can do to help my team win when I'm out there. That's about it."

The question was raised to Collins before the Sixers defeated Charlotte, 96-89, on Monday night. Two nights earlier, in a 78-77 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Turner, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, played a season-low 12 minutes.

Turner said he hoped to see more time Friday when the Sixers (20-10) host defending NBA champ Dallas (19-11).

Collins said no players are in his doghouse. The biggest thing going against Turner, he said, is that many of his minutes come behind the team's best defender, small forward Andre Iguodala.

"Andre is going to play those minutes because he's the best perimeter defender we have," Collins said. "He's going to be on the floor playing against our opponent's best offensive player."

While the reduction in minutes hasn't been drastic, Turner's numbers this month are down. Turner averaged 10.8 points, shot 49 percent from the field, and grabbed 6.4 rebounds in 16 games last month.

Through nine games this month, Turner has averaged 6.1 points on 41.4 percent shooting. So far this month, he's averaging 4.2 rebounds.

"I have faith that the minutes will come back," Turner said. "Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from being mad. And at the end of the day it doesn't change anything. I'm looking at how basketball crazy the people in Philadelphia are. They're happy and I'm not going to say something that's going to bring down the morale of the team."


Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow him @JmitchInquirer on Twitter.

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