Before he ever played one regular season game, the whispers had started.
“Maybe Evan Turner is a bust.”
“Did we pick the wrong guy?”
And with one game against the Miami Heat, Evan Turner did a good job in silencing those whispers.
The surprise wasn’t that the Sixers lost to the dynasty in the making Miami Heat, but that Turner, the second pick in the NBA Draft, was the best player on the floor for the home team last night.
And with that … The Sixers Goods And The Not So Goods
Evan Turner – As I said, Turner (17pts, 7 reb, 4 asst) was the best player on the floor for the Sixers last night. He didn’t start, as Doug Collins has said that Turner has been most effective when he’s sharing the back court with 6th man Lou Williams and not Jrue Holiday. Turner seemed to gain confidence as the game went on, at one point freezing Dwyane Wade on a crossover and hitting a 16 foot jump shot. Turner was solid handling the ball, played strong defense and lived up to Collins claim that he was the best rebounder on the team.
Andres Nocioni – If Turner was the Sixers biggest surprise last night, Andres Nocioni (10 pts, 5 reb, 3 asst) was a close second. Nocioni showed a nice touch on his three point shot, and played strong defense. Nocioni’s reputation as a tough player certainly proved to be true last night. I can’t imagine it’ll be long before Nocioni is starting at the small forward spot.
Thaddeus Young – By all accounts, Young took a large step backwards last year. Last night, he seemed to be doing what he does best, finishing and playing with good energy. He seemed to have some of the touch back on his jump shot as well.
Overall Intensity – I don’t think anyone expected the Sixers to win the game last night. They did, for the most part, play with intensity on defense, and didn’t give up. Even though they were down 21 going into the fourth quarter, they played well down the stretch, and actually outscored the Heat 33-17 in the fourth.
Not So Good:
Marreese Speights – Speights had a tendency to be selfish on offense and lazy on defense last season. It doesn’t look like much has changed, yet. I don’t believe I saw Speights pass the ball one time after he got it. It seems like Collins noticed it too, Speights didn’t return to the floor after launching four shots (was fouled once) in four minutes. It’s early, and he’s young, but not a good first impression from Speights.
Jason Kapono – The logic was sound in starting Kapono, they needed someone on the floor who could shoot. The problem was, Kapono was going to have to guard someone, which he didn’t have much success doing. Kapono ended up on Heat point guard Carlos Arroyo, who was far too quick for him. Kapono can be an asset to the team this year, but not as the starting small forward.
Jrue Holiday – Going into this season, the play of Holiday was the one thing that seemed to be the rose in a crowd of thorns from last season. Starting off the season with nearly twice as many turnovers as assists is disappointing. Holiday looked lost most of the game.
Andre Iguodala’s Second Half – The first half was exactly what we saw out of Iguodala during the World Championships, and exactly what you’d want to see; energy, defense, and finishing strong. The second half was, well exactly the opposite, with Iguodala settling for a lot of jump shots when the game got out of hand.
Spencer Hawes – He missed most of the pre-season, so that should be noted here, but Hawed didn’t do much positive last night. Defense has never been his strong suit, and showed it. Disappointing though was how he looked on offense, overmatched and lost.