PHILADELPHIA _ Sometimes there really is no decision. The universe makes it for you. The fork in the road is really a butter knife, the other way blocked off by a hooded shadow carrying a sickle and a danger sign.
In draftspeak, it means no torturous deliberation.
In draftspeak, the sign reads: THAT GUY, DUMMY.
Evan Turner made sense for the Sixers the way accepting the second overall pick at the draft lottery did.
Here’s a team that needed a face the basket player in a face the basket league. That has been looking for a face of the franchise since Allen Iverson. That hasn’t had a legitimate off-guard with size and a shot since Hersey Hawkins and before that, Andrew Toney. That didn’t have a single player on the roster with a midrange game.
And Evan Turner’s is reminiscent of Rip Hamilton’s coming out of Connecticut.
Here’s a team that once drafted Shawn Bradley with the second overall pick. That once drafted Keith Van Horn with the second overall pick and traded him draft night for Tim Thomas, a player of epic softness who had the reputation of an epically soft player in college and who played his college ball all the way at Villanova, which is just zip codes away from where the Sixers practice.
That once passed up Paul Pierce in the draft for Larry Hughes.
That recently has had a decent run since the spring of 2001 and before that, 1983. That squandered millions and millions of dollars recently on players such as Keith Van Horn (six years after he was drafted), Glen Robinson, Derrick Coleman, Chris Webber (when he was Cooked Chris Webber, at the end of his deal when he was making 20-mil per) and Samuel Dalembert. That blew all of its big cap space most recently on Eroded Elton Brand.
That is a distant fourth in the city, thanks to the Flyers’ Cup Run, and threatened to fall behind the new soccer team called the Union.
In draftspeak, it means the Sixers couldn’t blow this one.
Not after the good fortune of landing the second overall pick.
Not this one.
Not with Evan Turner – the polished kid with the polished game and the great size who’s a greater kid – staring at GM Ed Stefanski with doe eyes, wanting desperately to join Jrue Holiday to comprise a young and supersized backcourt. He would only work out for the Sixers. He only wanted to play for the Sixers. And when he came to Philadelphia, he walked around the city with Stefanski and Stefanki introduced him to any willing passerby at the town square, literally Rittenhouse Square, and Turner nodded politely toward the person and said he hopes to play basketball for them someday soon.
In a league where most kids come with a hazard label, Turner’s as safe as baby powder. He was the Player of the Year. He played at The Ohio State for three years and displayed this night at the draft his school spirit with a red tie and his Buckeye cufflinks and exudes that Big Ten humility.
So to recap. He fit the Sixers’ most desperate need. He can play the point, the two or the wing. He should be able to extend his range naturally. He wanted to be here. He’s no risk off the court, like a Wall or a Cousins.
Turner was neon. Turner made sense the way trading Sam Dalembert and his bubblehead ways did.
Turner made sense the way firing Eddie Jordan and replacing him with the truly professorial Doug Collins did.
“It was unanimous … there were no dissenters,” Stefanski proclaimed after making the pick.
That meant Collins, too.
Rumors swirled that the new coach had preferred Derrick Favors from Georgia Tech. They intensified tonight when Collins initially didn’t join Stefanski and assistant GM Tony Dileo at the team’s news conference. But he made a point to speak with the media later.
Because, after all, it was that obvious, right? He didn’t think he had to clarify.
“I’m an Evan Turner guy all the way,” Collins said. “From the beginning. I don’t where (the Favors rumor) got started. I want to make it clear right now. Eddie and I both wanted Evan Turner. My son Cris called me. He said people were saying that he was trying to get me to take Favors (because of the conference). I said well maybe you should get some of his draft money if that were the case.”
Collins added, “We were hoping someone would come in here and make us think a little bit.”
Make them deliberate harder. You can’t blame that at first. We’re a fickle lot. It almost never looks that obvious. And when it does, that moment of clarity is fleeting.
Collins said they liked Wesley Johnson.
They feared Cousins. He could turn out to be Dwight Howard or Fright Howard. Does the big man have fleas? Signs of immaturity were rampant at Kentucky.
Do you want to risk on No. 2?
Favors will be a good ballplayer. Perhaps Dale Davis at the next level? Block shots, board, give you some nice post-up moves.
You like a Dale Davis a lot. But you don’t love a Dale Davis and the Sixers loved Turner. Because they could envision Turner as something even better in the NBA than he was in college, where he was the whole team and had to create for everyone else. In Columbus, the defense flowed toward him and swarmed him. He was the guy who kicked out.
“The game has become a more international game,” Collins said. “It’s spread the floor, drive and attack at so many different angles. (Turner’s) going to be on the receiving end now.”
“Don’t let that smile and those boyish good looks fool you,” the coach added.
When told of that, Turner said, “I can be a killer. I play to win.”
He sounded happy and confident.
So did Stefanksi.
In draftspeak, it’s called a layup. A bunny.
No dummy on board here.