By Theodore N. Beitchman
No matter if the Sixers tonight draft Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid or Billy Joel — at No. 3 at least they will pick someone who can play.
And he will be a better pick than the team’s 2010 No. 2 pick overall, the vastly overrated, sniveling, whining Evan Turner.
Chosen by Sixers’ general manager Ed Stefanski, whose team was coming off a 27-55 disaster in 2009-10, Turner seemed like the “safe” pick.
Stefanski was barely hanging onto his job, which he got after establishing his cred with the New Jersey Nets, which went to two NBA finals under him. But Eddie the Shot, which was Dick Weiss’ nickname when he played at Penn, quickly showed that being No. 2 under a pro like Rod Thorn didn’t qualify him to be a No. 1 exec.
Turner was chosen winner of the John Wooden Award as player of the year after a solid senior season at Ohio State, during which he averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game.
So it was easy for Stefanski to justify the pick to the lemming-like local media. Even though anyone who saw him play in college recognized that he handled the ball about 50 percent of the time — which no NBA player since Magic Johnson and John Stockton have done. And even though there were more compelling picks like DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors and Paul George.
So Turner came to the Sixers, and sure enough he was laconic, unexplosive, a shabby shooter and a ball hog.
“No problem,” the Sixers proclaimed. “He’ll spend the summer of 2011 with Herb Magee [the former great shooter and now great coach at Philadelphia University] who will fix his shot.”
If the Shot Doctor, Magee’s apt nickname, had the power to turn ordinary shooters into good or great ones he would be a billionaire. Alas, he does not. Turner’s shooting improved slightly but he needed a ton of shots to average 7.2, 9.4 and 13.3 ppg during his first three years with the Sixers.
Then, last February he was traded to Indiana, which had gotten off to a spectacular 51-12 start.
“Just wait till he gets on a winning team,” some radio talk show hosts said. “I can’t believe [GM Sam Hinkie] only got a second-round pick for him,” Jon and Sean, the Fanatic’s Dumb and Dumber, chimed in.
Sure enough, Turner made his mark on the Pacers from the get-go. He complained about coming off the bench, had a fistfight with starting guard Lance Stephenson, his shooting percentage plummeted, he constantly railed at officials at missed calls (not a great career move in the NBA, unless you are a star, which Turner still thinks he is) and soon he was on the bench.
The Pacers fell apart at the end of the season and lost to the Heat in the Eastern finals. Their failure was certainly not all on Turner, but coach Frank Vogel benched him and it is not a coincidence that the playoff games they did win coincided neatly when Turner was a DNP.
He finished his Pacers 2013-14 season with a 7.1 ppg average, his lowest in the NBA after averaging 17.7 ppg on 16 shots a game for the woeful Sixers.
His four-year contract is up, and he will have to scrape to get another at reduced dollars.
Evan Turner is a loser, and the whole league now knows it.
Everyone in Philly has known that for some time. Except for Dei Lynam, who un-covers the Sixers for ComcastSportsNet and still hasn’t gotten the memo that she doesn’t have to suck up to management because Ed Snider and his band of acolytes no longer own the team.
Lynam often blindly parrots the party line when even Stevie Wonder can see she is wrong. Such as a month and a half ago when she still defended the choice of Turner as the second pick in the 2010 draft by saying:
“He was the Wooden Award winner and the obvious choice at 2” after the Wizards took John Wall.
The piece de resistance to Turner’s delusional tale of woe occurred earlier this week. Thanks to Deadspin.com comes the story of Turner out for a spin with his girlfriend in his Ferrari as he ran out of gas. He called former OSU teammate P. J. Hill who brought a gas can.
Is there a better metaphor for the failed NBA career of an overrated player, who thinks he deserves a Ferrari when his performance dictates he should be driving a Ford Focus?