As losses pile up, the Sixers' spirits are not dwindling
Evan Turner is averaging career-highs in points (20.7) and rebounds (6.6) this season. (USA Today Images)
There are growing pains in all professions, but not all professions are played out in full public view.
The Sixers on Monday night were hanging around in the fourth quarter against the Clippers. They were down seven points midway through the quarter when Evan Turner missed a 10-foot jumper in the paint.
Turner could not hide his disdain for not getting a whistle that would have sent him to the foul line. The game played on, but all the fourth-year player could think about was chasing down the official and giving him a piece of his mind.
Turner’s actions proved costly because while he was preoccupied venting his anger, Jared Dudley was scoring a lay-up on which Turner fouled him after getting to a spot on the floor late.
“I was irritated because from what I was taught you are always supposed to let the shooter come down, but on eight or nine shots I didn’t have the opportunity to come down,” Turner said. “That’s pretty much it. I got frustrated for a play.”
Turner was frustrated for more than one play. His body language says he is frustrated a lot, and by not channeling his frustrations properly, he hurts his team and certainly his personal reputation, which in a contract year can be damaging.
“It is just part of the evolution of competitive people because it hurts us, bottom line, and he knows it and he has to get through it and he will,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “It has been an ongoing conversation. That is my job to help him.
“I am his coach and there is something there that has to be fixed for the betterment of the team. And then just to help him progress as he gets older and continues on. No one wants that side of your reputation. He is going to get better at that.”
Turner is hardly the first player to complain to a referee, but it is becoming a bad habit for him and even worse is the fact that his complaints are falling on deaf ears.
Statistically, Turner is having a career year. He is averaging 20.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Because of his numbers, Turner has a hard time comprehending why his game does not get more respect from the officials.
His coach would tell him there is a time and place for everything.
“You don’t want to beg for anything. Even me, sometimes I think I am crying too much to the refs, too,” Brown said. “We all have to be smart with that and where you pick your poison.
“He is a talented player, a very skilled offensive player and we are building on his defense, which is coming around. The competitive and prideful side of the defensive end as well as the intellect and poised side of the emotional end, it is part of getting older and part of getting better. I think his future is huge. It can be whatever he wants it to be.”
Look for greater self control and awareness in Turner’s actions moving forward. His coach won’t allow for anything less.