Hope was sky-high for Sixers fans as they envisioned a young backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Turner being the cornerstone of the team for many, many years.
Turner is in his third season with the Sixers and fans are still waiting for him to be more productive. He and coach Doug Collins have been trying to figure out his role on the team.
It is unchartered waters for the 24-year-old Turner, who has been a superstar at every level since he was 12.
"I keep telling people I was better at 12 than I am now, but nobody believes me," says the affable Turner, who often is the funniest player in the locker room. "It's all about what's best for the team at the end of the day. Clearly it's not easy, and what's even rougher is what's going on behind me and what's going on in my head. Like people saying that I was the second pick and all that and maybe they expect more, but if coach asks me to do something, that's what I'm going to do.
"I want to get minutes on the court and help the team out. Sometimes people don't think that's something that a guy who was the second pick would do. But here that's what I'm seen as and that's what I'm going to do to the best of my abilities.
"I went from standing out to fitting in, and that's the hardest thing. How do you get good at fitting in? It's tough to fit in. You walk around and try to figure things out sometimes and you might look around at other players and say, 'This person did this and that person did that' but you really have to be comfortable with yourself, you know?"
Being comfortable with himself is something Turner struggled mightily with when he was young. He suffered from a speech impediment and learning disability while growing up in the outskirts of Chicago. And while those hindrances caused relentless teasing from other children, it has helped form him into the person he is now. More importantly for Sixers fans, he knows drawing on his experiences as a youth will carry him through to a productive NBA career.
"When it came to speech impediments and learning disabilities and things like that I already started behind most kids because of that," said Turner, who is averaging a team-leading eight rebounds to go with 10.6 points and 3.4 assists. "Every kid wants to be normal, not different. I always started behind. But when it came to sports I didn't start behind.
"So I stayed after and worked hard so I could keep up and stay ahead of the curve. I wasn't the smartest kid growing up or anything like that, but I worked hard to stay even. When the kids went to recess I stayed in for speech class. Or after school I had to hurry up and go home and do multiplication tables and read and spell just to keep up with the other kids.
"But when it came to sports I never started behind. If I could help it I was going to be the best basketball player. That's the perfectionist in me. Everybody starts out with some imperfections and that always bothered me, so whenever it came to sports or whatever else I could handle and control I tried to be as good as I could at it.
"It sucked because kids made fun of how I spoke, or sometimes I would do things and say things that in my head I thought were normal but the other kids would think were dumb. Sometimes that would bother me. I had a brother who would keep me calm about it. But I look back at how much I got made fun of for stuff I couldn't help. I couldn't control that, but I knew that when I got older I could control things and I would have the last laugh. When I see those kids nowadays, I could say things to them about how they bothered me, but it's not their fault. They were kids. They didn't know what they were talking about."
He hears fans talk about their higher expectations of him and understands. He has higher expectations of himself, every athlete does. Like the fans, this isn't the path he saw his NBA career traveling - now being relied on to be a defender and rebounder primarily, scorer secondly. He is learning to be acceptable, but the line about "standing out to fitting in" resonates. Is this the life he envisioned for himself in the NBA after all the accolades adorned on him his final college season?
"It's pretty fun," Turner said of NBA life. "You have to get used to certain stuff. Your imagination in your head is not always how it's going to be. I'm blessed to be here. I work 3 hours a day and I'm able to take care of my family and am able to play on a big stage. I think that's great.
"When you get to the NBA you have a lot of people pulling at you and tearing at you and stuff. I think the biggest difference is in college it's easy to be loved and nobody really writes anything bad about you, and then you go to becoming someone who is being criticized. It's really different. Now it's like in 24 hours you can go from being loved after a good game to people saying you should be traded after the next game. You have to laugh it off, you have to be secure with yourself. At first I really didn't know how to handle it. It sure could be worse. I don't have any real pressure on me. Pressure is making a $10 bet with $5 in your pocket. I'm definitely blessed to be here and have the opportunity I do. It's cool. I've been able to live out my dreams and not a lot of people can say they've done that."