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NBA Draft: Evan Turner could work with Andre Iguodala, not against him

May 19, 2010, 11:55 AM EDT

iguodala_game.jpgNow that the Sixers hold the No. 2 pick in the draft, they have all kinds of options. Maybe Ed Stefanski will cash in on the pick’s value now, trade it, and get back a proven commodity that can make an immediate impact while dumping Elton Brand’s salary. Maybe Stefanski sees Turner as a franchise treasure, and will attempt to retool his roster to build around Evan as the Sixer of the Future alongside Jrue Holiday. Maybe Andre Iguodala could play shooting guard with Turner starting his rookie season coming off the bench, or maybe Stefanski will trade Iguodala in order to give Turner all the elbow room he desires.

Or, Stefanski and the Sixers could do something absolutely revolutionary: nothing.

Well, let me clarify. Philadelphia needs to do a lot of something to figure out their troubles on offense and defense, and hopefully that introspection has begun with the ongoing head coach search. That something involves creating roster flexibility, infusing more talent, getting more consistent shooting, and solidifying the middle. There’s a lot of work to be done, and Philly’s current roster makes it very difficult.

Trading Iguodala at this point, a topic that our own Matt Moore tossed around yesterday, just seems to make it even more difficult.

For now, Iggy is the best that the Sixers have. He was tops on the team in points (17.1), assists (5.8), and steals per game (1.7), second behind only Samuel Dalembert in rebounds per game (6.5), and tied for the top spot in three-pointers made (1.1) per game. He was second on the team in PER (17.8), first in win shares (6.7), and remains an elite defensive wing.

He happened to start at shooting guard for this team in quite a few games, but is that really a compelling reason to move the top talent on the roster, especially when doing so is so unlikely to get good return value? Despite Iguodala’s talent, he’ll make $56.5 million over the next four seasons, with an average salary of over $14 million a year. That’s a long-term commitment with a big price tag, one that a lot of teams will be reluctant to take on in any circumstances, much less with the new CBA likely to change the salary structure in 2011-2012.

If Philadelphia looks to move Iguodala, they may be able to get salary relief in return, or maybe a young player packaged with a burdensome contract. They will not get anyone that’s as skilled on both ends of the court, and while that doesn’t necessarily justify paying Andre’s ridiculous salary, it’s a concrete reason why Stefanski may be wise not to part with him. The mistake was signing Iggy to such a deal in the first place, but to deal him now, when the Sixers would likely get little in return? That’s an even bigger mistake.

Instead, Philly should take a long look at what could be an interesting three-man core of Holiday, Turner, and Iguodala. All are unselfish, all can create for others, and…none of the three has a consistent three-point stroke. Some things just never change in Philadelphia. Still, all three players can be considered works in progress, so their perimeter shooting could technically improve. In the meantime, the Sixers will have three long, talented players that can both score and defend at a number of different positions.

Is there really any reason to compromise that? Turner has the ability to be a very good defensive player in the pros, and when paired with Iguodala, could make one of the best defensive tandems on the wing in the entire league. If the Sixers can resuscitate the defensive tenacity that made them so fun to watch at the tail end of the ’08-’09 season — and Turner and Iggy both would be an important part of that — you’re looking at a team that could be pretty fantastic at getting out into the open court.

Even with Turner in the mix, the Sixers’ future isn’t bright. Holiday came on strong to close his rookie year, but the mammoth salaries of Iguodala and Elton Brand will continue to gum up the works for Philadelphia. Ditching both of those contracts would obviously be in the Sixers’ best interest, but they can’t truly rebuild unless they can ditch both, not just one. Brand’s deal is just too big and too damaging on its own (he’ll make almost $16 million this season), and right now he’s as close to unmovable as any player in the league.

It’s going to be a long rebuild for Philly, so what’s the rush? Find out of Turner and Iguodala can play well together first, and if there’s nothing there, then move on. Stefanski should take the Kings of last season as a perfect example. Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin didn’t play all that well together, but the important thing is that Geoff Petrie and the Kings knew for sure. The satisfaction of trying and knowing is what the Sixers should strive for should they select Turner, even if he and Iguodala turn out to be a less-than-perfect fit.     

  1. - May 19, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Crazy Evan Turner Mix –

  2. PhillyIgg - May 19, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    THAT VIDEO IS ILL! I’m so excited for ET!!! Him and Iguodala are both great passers!! They are both from Chicago so they gotta be brothers lol

  3. Dave - May 19, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    I’ve been reading a lot of post-lottery articles on the sixers and i’m shocked at how much AI bashing is going on. The biggest knock against AI has been that he is not a #1 scorer and would be better served as a secondary scorer. With the 2nd pick in the NBA draft this year the sixers will finally be able to bring in a potential #1 scorer to alleviate the pressure and double teams that bogged down AI this past season. I do agree Elton Brand was a major mistake and the sixers would have been far better to make a play on Josh Smith in retrospect, but I don’t think his contract alone will handcuff the team. He did show reasonable improvement last year and while he is not likely to suddenly regain his all-star form, with a new coach and better system he can still add value and depth to the roster. With a projected starting roster of Holiday, Turner, AI, Brand and Dalembert with a bench cast of Thadeus, Lou Williams, Speights, Willie Green and Kapono the sixers have a nice collection of depth and hybrid players, which will give them versatility and athleticism. If they can add another center (think Haywood) in the off-season they will make some noise in the East over the next 2-3 years.

  4. Roman - May 19, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    I agree that Evan Turner and Iggy could really compliment each other quite well. Everyone agrees that Iguodala is not efficient as a number 1 scorer, and with Evan Turner in the fold, he’ll be relieved of that pressure. This way he can concentrate on doing what he does best: play in-your-face defense and get out in the open court to make athletic plays. You could also argue that Thad Young would actually present a better compliment to Evan Turner than Iguodala: he plays better without the ball and has a better three-point stroke. These are things you can figure out when you put them on the floor together.
    One quick note about Jru Holliday. He actually has a very nice three-point shot. He hovered around 40 percent all year and finished at 39 percent. A guy like Evan Turner will only open things up for him, which only makes him an even better fit. This is all to say: don’t even think about trading this pick, it’s a once in a generation opportunity to change the destiny of your franchise. Do the right thing Sixers!!

  5. Jim - May 19, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    I agree that it would be silly to trade Iguadola at this point. He could be a very nice tandem with Holliday and Turner. The least byou do is start the season with them together and if the pairing s=doesn’t work Iguadola could be traded half way into season before the trading deadline.

  6. KH - May 20, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Actually, Jrue Holliday was a very good three point shooter last season and the Sixers have roughly 22 mil coming off the books next summer. The Sixers future is brighter then you think.

  7. ThePhranchis - May 21, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    After reading related articles on this site I feel my analysis of the situation differs a little. Andre iguodala is as mentioned in the piece not a primary scorer but I know he would be very easy to move with many takers willing to compete for his services. If I can recall Phoenix was all but preparred to part with all-star and beast Amare Stoudamire and even add in a player like barnosa for iggy. Phoenix was even willing to take Sam Dalembert to complete the deal. For many organizations iggy brings the intagibles that would add cohesion to a team such as the Miami Heat. There are plenty of pure scorers in the league “Lou Williams” who can only score – absolutly nothing else. Many teams have the nucleous to compete iggy could be the piece for them to add and contend. As a long time fan give me turner with the second pick. Trade iggy and whoever for a pick but asuredly that pick will not be Miami #18 and please spare the daequon cook talk ( bleacher report) we traded cook on draft night for Jason smith. Thaddeus young can move to his true position at the 3 with a cheaper price tag and he’s still like not even able to buy a drink (like jrue). Use the pick to draft a young center of recieve a know commodity for iggy who can fill a need. Manny options here this summer will be very interesting either Thad or iggy must go…. Too much inability to create from outside and shoot a consistent %.

  8. Dee - May 24, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    If I was the sixers I trade #2 and Brand to the wolves for #4 and #16. I take Wesley Johnson at #4 and Hassan Whiteside #16. Then I trade iggy for future picks or expiring contracts to highest bidder. Johnson and Whiteside bring rebounding shot-blocking and a defensive presence. They will take a couple of years to develop but by the. Turner is good but a combo of Whiteside and Johnson give you freakish athleticism and lock down defenders and Johnson can shoot as well. In three years 76ers starters look like C-Whitesides PF- Speights SF-Young SG-Johnson PG-Holiday. bench Lou Williams- Jodie Meeks, Jason Smith. The scorers would be Speights, Holiday, Johnson and Young. The defensive stoppers would be Whiteside, Holiday, Johnson. Instant offense of the bench would be provided by combo guard Williams and SG Meeks. Smith would be the energy guy.

  9. kman - Jul 3, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    i agree the 76ers future is brighter then u think those three together could be an awsome combo and turner can help iggy alot by takeing presure off of him. if turner can help iggy on both sides of the court which he can the 76ers will be better then everyone thinks. if they can work together the 76ers might just slightly have a shot at making the playoffs. turner is a verry good thing for the 76ers he makes there future real bright for the future.

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