Sixers coach to Turner: Enjoy the game

Evan Turner experienced highs and lows last season.       RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Evan Turner experienced highs and lows last season.       RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Posted: September 28, 2013

Brett Brown's message for Evan Turner: Don't read media reports.

"And I hope he's not caring about what goes on on Twitter," the new 76ers coach said.

Brown wants the Sixers' second overall draft pick in 2010 to get into a gym and rediscover a passion for the game. He said the key would be to go back to his time as a youth when he really enjoyed playing basketball.

"Now that sounds a lot easier than it is to achieve," Brown said. "But it starts with the knowledge that you are putting in the time. You get a new toy to play with. And you are being allowed with that in a new place in the house.

"You need to help him find ways to really find a way to love."

Turner appeared frustrated while playing under coach Doug Collins the last three seasons. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward also has been inconsistent since coming out of Ohio State as a junior.

Turner averaged a career-best 13.3 points last season and was the only Sixer to start all 82 games. But for every solid performance, he had two or three horrible nights.

His low point came in a 97-86 victory against Washington on April 12. Turner was held scoreless on 0-for-11 shooting. That marked the second time that season he had failed to hit a field goal. He scored a point during 0-for-4 shooting in a 99-89 victory over Memphis on Dec. 26.

"He has a lot of areas where he really can blossom," Brown said. "He is a talent. And I think the weight on the city at times and the expectations, like they would anybody, can drown you if you let it."

So far, Turner has been something of an enigma. People wonder whether he is a point guard, a 2-guard, or a wing. Brown described him as a generic player, a good player.

"And we hope to improve his perimeter game," he said. "But most of all, we hope to help him find a real joy to play again. Find a passion to play again."

Turner's passion for the game had been questioned before by Collins.

Coaching search. One would assume that Brown will attempt to fill his remaining assistant coaching vacancy with someone who has experience as an NBA head coach.

But he said that's not necessarily the case.

"I don't feel with this team that it's mandatory that I have to surround myself with perspective or wisdom or, you know, an Owl that's been there, done that," Brown said. "I feel that this year's team is about development. And I feel like it's about . . . teaching, relationships, and energy more than NBA wisdom."

The former San Antonio Spurs assistant said he will seek outside wisdom and counsel from his mentors.

However, longtime friend John Kuester, a former Detroit Pistons coach and Sixers assistant, has been mentioned as a candidate. Kuester hired Brown as an assistant at Boston University in 1983.

The Noel plan. The Sixers are in no rush to get Nerlens Noel on the court. But they do have a plan for the rookie center.

The franchise decided that it's important to keep the 19-year-old involved with team activities while he rehabilitates his left knee.

"I look forward to him traveling with the team," Brown said, "and being a part of the team and being in the team meetings and video sessions and seeing a grumpy coach and a sad player and vice versa."

The 6-foot-11, 221-pounder won't play until December - if at all this season - because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered during his lone season at Kentucky.

He averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.4 blocked shots while shooting 59 percent from the field in 24 games. He had a school-record 12 blocks against Mississippi.


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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