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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As this Sixers season has progressed, many questions have arisen, but one has been asked most; who should play point guard? Opinion seems to be split down the middle whether Evan Turner or Jrue Holiday is best suited to take the majority of the ball handling duties. Both players seem most effective with the ball in their hands. Sixers president Rod Thorn joined Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on 94WIP today, and lent a little insight into what the future might hold.
“I think he can play two guard,” Thorn said about Holiday. “Other than Jodie when Jodie’s going good, he’s our best shooter. Jrue is certainly one of our two or three best shooters. He can also, you know, also handle the ball but you know, he’s another young player trying to find exactly where he is in the league. I think since the all-star break he’s really stepped it up, he’s been a lot better.” Turner has started 12 games for the Sixers, and his role seems to have shifted game to game, having handled the ball more in his first five starts than he has recently.
After Turner’s second start, a win over the Celtics, Doug Collins remarked that Turner “is a point guard.” Then why hasn’t he played point guard as much? “I don’t recall [Doug Collins] ever saying he was going to let him bring the ball up the court every time,” Thorn said. “I think one of the strengths of our team is that we have three guys who can handle the ball and make plays, which I think is a plus for us. You know, we don’t turn the ball over very much. We’re number one in the league as far as not turning the ball over, and part of that is that we have three players. And you know, we have gotten better as far as making plays also, so I think that’s a strength of our team ,not to have one guy do it, but to have three or four guys do it.”
Much has been made of the relationship of Turner and head coach Doug Collins. Macnow asked Thorn if there’s a problem between the two that hasn’t been revealed. “There’s no mystery. He’s like any other player, when he wasn’t playing as much he wanted to play more. Now, since he’s been in the starting lineup, he plays starter’s minutes,” Thorn said.
Thorn said he thinks Turner needs to learn how to use his other skills to be effective, even when he’s not handling the ball or scoring. “I think Evan is a great rebounder, I think he’s as good as anybody in the NBA, any guard rebounding the ball,” he said. “I think he can make plays. The real key with him is making shots. He shoots the ball well when he’s moving with the ball. When he shoots standing jumpers, he’s a work in progress that way. And when he’s making shots, I think he’s real good. When he’s not making shots, then if he’s rebounding, and making you know, getting assists, he still can play. The first game he started he was 1-12 from the floor but he played 36 minutes, and played well because he had 12 defensive rebounds, he played guard, he passed the ball. They were good shots, he just didn’t make them. The real key is, you know, 75% of the league, if they’re not making shots, then you gotta get them out of the game. He has the potential because of his rebounding ability and his passing ability, to do other things which would keep him in the game when he’s not making shots, but he has to do that. You know, he’s a young player, it’s his second year in the league, he hasn’t played that many games, and he’s still learning,” he said.
“Evan is a very emotional type guy. Anything he’s feeling, you can see it, on any given night, you know, he’s not stone faced out there. You know, he wants to play, he takes it very personally that, you know, he was the second pick in the draft and didn’t get to play that much last year. Now this year, he worked very hard during the summer to get better. It didn’t work out for him earlier in the year, but now he’s in there, and now we’ll find out what he is, as well as some of the other people,” Thorn said. Spencer Hawes is an unrestricted free agent after this season, and Lou Williams has the ability to opt-out of his deal.
“[Turner's] got 16 more games in the regular season, so in these 28 games we’ll find out exactly how that does fit,” Thorn said. “it is critical for us to find out exactly where these people fit, or if they don’t fit, then what we need to do, you know, to make it fit.”