Sixers head coach Brett Brown is a huge believer in player development.
For proof, look no further than Evan Turner.
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The fourth-year guard and former No. 2 overall pick in 2010 is having a career season. It has only been 12 games, but Turner’s improvement has been noticeable in every aspect of his game.
Turner has scored 264 points in the first 12 games for a career-high of 22.0 points per game.
His previous career-high? Try 13.3 points last season.
It’s not just scoring.
Turner is driving to the basket and drawing fouls. He’s rebounding, moving the ball and playing tenacious defense.
“I’m just comfortable,” Turner said. “The coaches have put a lot of confidence in me and I’m playing with confidence. If I miss a few shots in a row, I’m going to keep shooting. They encourage me to keep shooting. My teammates have been phenomenal. Just a comfortable situation all the way around for me.”
But the future remains unclear for Turner.
The Sixers have until June 30 to offer Turner an $8.7 million fifth-year qualifying offer or he will become an unrestricted free agent. If the Sixers do extend the qualifying offer, Turner will become a restricted free agent, giving Philadelphia the opportunity to match any offer he receives from another team.
But that’s in the future.
For now, Turner is focused solely on helping the Sixers continue to silence the doubters.
“I’m locked in on what’s going on with the Sixers on the court,” Turner said. “The coaching staff has done an incredible job of keeping us focused on the immediate task at hand. As a veteran on this team, it’s my job to lead by example on the court. I’m giving it everything I’ve got and the results have been good. People didn’t expect much from us but as players, we don’t care what people say.
“We have a tight locker room and our goals come from within. We’re very competitive players and can play with anyone as we have shown with wins over Miami and Chicago.”
The Sixers host Toronto Wednesday after being swept at Atlanta, New Orleans and Dallas. They’re still a surprising 5-7 and Turner is listed on the All-Star ballot.
All he cares about is winning.
“I’m not even thinking about that,” Turner said of the All-Star ballot. “Would it be cool? Of course. My job is to be ready to go every single day for this team. That’s where all my energy is being focused.”