Spike Eskin Says: The Evan Turner And Doug Collins Combination Won’t End Well

By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A wise man once said, “good things don’t end, unless they end badly.” Well, it wasn’t a wise man, it was Ben Flajnik when he got dumped in the Bachelorette, but the point still holds true.

For more than a year, I defended Doug Collins’ use of Evan Turner in a backup role. If the guy wasn’t ready to play, he wasn’t ready to play. If he needed to learn how to play off the ball, and this was the best way to do it, so be it. If this is what it takes for Turner to be a productive NBA player let’s do it. Sure, he was the second pick in the draft, but the team was competitive, so the strategy made sense to me.

When Collins yelled, and Turner pouted, and Collins yelled some more, I felt like it was something that Turner needed.

At the same time, I defended Evan Turner’s lack of production. When people called him a bust, that he couldn’t shoot or wasn’t athletic enough, I said it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because there were flashes of brilliance in the NBA, and there was year of brilliance at Ohio State. I saw it with my own eyes.

And when Turner struggled, and his play time decreased, and Turner struggled some more, I felt like it was all part of the journey.

The more I observe the relationship between Doug Collins and Evan Turner, the more I believe it ends badly. Even if all of the steps to get here were necessary, and they’ve been a good thing.

Sometimes two people can bring out the worst in each other. I’m sure you’ve been party to it. If you’ve got a bit of a temper, there’s probably someone who can bring it out in full force (not that I know anything about this). Watching them evolve from afar, it looks like Turner and Collins bring out the worst in each other. At least as far as their personalities.

They both say the right things, but something about the way they act on the court, and the way the say those things, makes me think differently.

If Turner has a propensity to pout, and be immature, Doug Collins’ overbearing (though successful) coaching style and insistence on his system, brings out Turner’s poutiest and most immature moments.

If Doug Collins has a propensity to grate on players, to be stubborn, to want things his way and only his way, the fact that Turner is slow to adapt is making Collins crazy.

Turner got his way, got on the court, did things his way and it worked. And it made Collins even crazier.

Collins pulled him back some, took him off the ball, played him less, and it made Turner disconnect.

Even worse, Evan Turner is not a Kevin Durant level talent, Doug Collins is not a Phil Jackson level coach, and the Sixers are not a championship caliber team. Talent and winning can hide a lot of problems, but something tells me we’re not close enough to that kind of winning yet in Philadelphia to sweep this aside.

As Doug Collins enters into the second half of his four-year deal, and Turner evolves into the “make or break” point of his career, I think the Sixers will have to make a choice between Turner and Collins. Or one of the two will make the choice for them. A player demanding a trade, or a coach who says “I can’t take this anymore,” is not unheard of in the NBA. Collins looks awfully tired, and Turner looks awfully frustrated. I don’t blame either of them, I think it’s just one of those things.

There are questions about whether Turner can be a top level talent, and whether Collins can be a championship caliber coach. If the decision isn’t made for them, the choice the Sixers end up making will signal which of the two they believe in more.

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  • Layton

    This article is like an andy reid news conference

  • Anthony

    Advice for Spike: Go back to spinning records! There will only ever be one Eskin! & thank God for that!

    • Spike

      Thanks for the advice Anthony! I was waiting for someone to figure this out for me.

  • larryv

    Spike you are right on with DC and ET drama, but it doesn’t matter much since this team stinks and they could/shud trade everybody, there are no KEEPERS on this squad believe me!

  • Tang

    I’m amazed by the comments on this board. There clearly is a disconnect between Turner and Collins. Do people watch the games or listen to the news conference?

    BTW, Collins has done this throughout his career. Stop being lazy and do some research on Collins. He improves teams, and then they get sick of his whining and he gets fired.

  • Cant Climb

    I think Collin’s is frustrated as a coach right now. Just hope he isn’t taking it
    ALL out of Turner now…..

  • Former 94WYSP listener

    Well at least people are commenting on this nonsense.

    Any pub is good pub Spike.
    God bless.

  • Doctor Do Llittle

    Spike used to pout and suffer from enuresis, that is a medical term for bed wetting. This article was written by someone who was sitting in his bed on damp sheets. You’ll go far

  • Eddie_Vedder

    Hey Spike,

    Thank you for playing my songs OVER and OVER again on 94WYSP.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

    • Spike

      Haha, you’re welcome Eddie. Know that wasn’t my call. I don’t even particularly like your band.

      Best of luck in your endeavors as well.

  • James_F

    Is this a real article? It’s almost like a parody of someone trying to write a sports story.

    • Spike

      No, it’s a parody! Glad someone got it.

      • James_F

        Ha – nice work!
        Like a 5th grade newsletter piece.


  • Howard_E

    This column should be called, “Making Up Something to Write About.”

    I look forward to tomorrow’s entry, “Why Lou Williams will lead this team in rebounding.”

    • Spike

      Yes the rift between Turner and Collins is entirely made up. No one has noticed it.

      • Howard_E

        It’d be nice to see/read some evidence of this, besides what you think you see on the court. Could’ve really added some punch to your article. You know, facts to back up your opinion.

        You saw Evan Turner pouting? Wow.

      • Spike

        No, you’re right. I totally made it up. Hasn’t been discussed in the media ad nauseam. There’s been absolutely no note of Turner and Collins not seeing eye to eye.

      • Howard_E

        If you can’t bring up one instance, one attributed quote, one article, one piece of video to support this, then I have to believe you DID make it up.

        Just because he waited to start him doesn’t mean he hates him. Or Turner is mad at Collins now.

        I understand you fancy yourself a sports talk host like your father was, but even he would agree this is a pretty big leap in logic.

      • Spike

        Don’t particularly care what my father thinks of the logic there, Howard.

        He’s had some logic leaps of his own.

        And yes Howard, you’re right, because you haven’t seen it, it must be made up.

  • Derp

    You know a writer sucks when his lede includes a quote from the Bachlorette.

    • Spike

      Yes that definitely means I suck. But commenters with fake names are the height of literary genius!

      • Kevin

        Hey Spike…A little bit of advice for ya, it would be in your best interest and the interest of the viewers to be your own person not follow in the foot steps of your father. I have read a few stories that you have written and the census of viewers are not impressed with your work. Your “bachlorette” comment speaks for itself. Trying to be funny and being funny are two different things, remember that is your young career.

      • Spike

        Thanks for the advice Kevin. I’ll cherish it forever.

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