By Ben Sullivan

In baseball, the rule is three strikes and you’re out.

In the NBA, the rule is three chances to show you are not a whining loser and you are out of the league.

In the case of Evan Turner (getting beat in photo above by former Celtic Paul Pierce in 2012 playoffs), the Sixers’ top draft pick and second overall selection after John Wall, the Celtics are his third chance.

And Turner fully understands the perception that he has been a bust through the first four years of his career.

While he flourished at times with the Sixers, he never became the expected cornerstone. And the Pacers’ acquiring him last February as perhaps the missing piece for a title run failed miserably as he spent most of the playoffs on the bench.

So he is now with the Celtics, having officially signed a two-year contract for just under $7 million to compete for minutes at both guard positions and small forward. When at his best, Turner is a versatile scorer with a formidable post game, but his career has been marred by inconsistency and he’s had solid, but not stellar, numbers.

“I just think the bigger thing, whatever is with the numbers and stuff, I think sometimes I get misunderstood,” he told the Boston Globe during the C’s media day on Monday. “The real Evan Turner is a competitor, a winner, and a guy who works hard every single day. I think sometimes if you don’t play well, people start attacking you as a person, start attacking your character. I’m a blue-collar guy and I work really hard and the results are going to be the results.”

Before the trade to Indiana, Turner was averaging 17.4 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists for the Sixers, and his agent, David Falk, said he asked general manager Sam Hinkie not to trade Turner. With the Pacers, Turner primarily came off the bench but was limited to just 149 minutes in 12 postseason games, hardly the impact he expected.

“I honestly thought I did the best I could,” he said. “I tried to fit in the best I could. One thing that put a big hit on [my reputation] is I wasn’t putting up 15 or 16 points a game. I felt like I took a big hit on that. I don’t think it was me not fitting in, it was I didn’t do what people expected me to do.”

That seems to have been a theme of his career, especially after expectations were brimming following a brilliant career at Ohio State, where he won several national player of the year awards as a junior.

“There’s a hundred ways you can attack the topic of me and how my career’s gone,” he said. “The one thing I say is I’m getting better every year. When you mention my name, you either say No. 2 pick before or after my name. So a lot comes with that as well. I’m over those past four years and I’m just worried about each day now.”

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