Jim & Dei Lynam on their concerns with the Sixers
Evan Turner leads the Sixers in scoring at 18.5 points per game. (USA Today Images)
CHICAGO -- Development.
It’s the best description to define this Sixers season instead of using the ugly classifier of “tanking,” even with a majority of supporters being in favor of doing anything to improve draft position in what’s considered a loaded 2014 class.
“Different” is the term Evan Turner used to describe the season so far, which is approaching the halfway point.
After appearing in the postseason in two of the four years since he was drafted as the second overall pick in 2010, Turner understands the direction in which the franchise is heading.
Even with the Sixers being overmatched on most nights, Turner has taken solace in the fact that everyone is working to be better and insists that the most frustrating aspect has been injuries.
“I understand it a little bit more, but at the same time, sometimes I get irritated in the heat of the game,” Turner said. “I understand everyone here is working hard, things happen and that’s it. Coach (Brett Brown) has done a great job of making sure we worry about the next day and not what just happened the day prior.
“It’s just been different because most nights we go through … sometimes we’ll bring guys from the D-League or switch the lineup around because unfortunately, someone gets hurt or sick and we need every piece that we have. These guys work really hard and play to win, so that’s not the hard part. It’s just sometimes, when bad luck occurs and we have to go games without [Michael Carter-Williams] or games without [Tony Wroten] -- all that stuff is like a puzzle piece; it all fits together. You take one part out, it’s so integral and that’s the hardest thing and it definitely isn’t advantageous.”
If there is one clear positive this season in looking towards the future, it’s the continued development of Carter-Williams. The rookie is nearing that time when most first-year players hit the proverbial wall as their bodies learn to adjust to a longer schedule.
“He’s played already, I think more games than he played last year at Syracuse and it’s a grind,” Brown said. “That’s the landscape of the NBA. It’s a man’s world, it’s a physical league. You wake up; you’re in a new city. You’re playing against a hell of a defensive team, a physical team and that’s just the nature of his job. It’s a fantastic learning experience as we go through this with him. Albeit, extremely painful, it’s a good learning experience for him.”
After a hot start and being brought back to reality, fans should continue to look at this season with vested interest. Not just because more losses mean more lottery balls, but because of the shaping of what should be a very exciting team in the coming years.
Nerlens Noel was cleared for limited on-court work and there remains the slight possibility that the team will get a look at him in game action towards the end of the season. The trade deadline is a month away and the team could be a major player. But any move made will be with the future in mind.
“We’re going to dedicate time so that we can flush people out and assess who we want to keep,” Brown said. “This year is about development and so that’s what we want to do. We want to try and uncover people that have a chance.”