The NBA trading deadline is this Thursday and everyone seems to believe the 76ers will be busy getting rid of some veterans and stockpiling draft picks – after all, everyone knows the Sixers are in serious rebuilding mode.
The three veterans most discussed as trade possibilities are Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. Well, here’s a little unsolicited advice for the Sixers’ front office – keep Hawes and Young, but do anything necessary to get rid of Turner. And while you’re at it, get rid of backup center Levoy Allen, too. As for the rest of the roster – does it really matter?
The Sixers are being built for the future. They have a potential star point guard in rookie Michael Carter-Williams and they also drafted shot-blocking center Noel Nerlens in the first round even though he was coming off knee surgery and the Sixers knew he wouldn’t be much help this season, if any. Plus the Sixers should have two prime draft picks next year – their own, which they’ve earned by being one of the worst teams in the NBA, and the one they acquired from New Orleans (also one of the worst teams in the league) in the trade that sent guard Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans.
So, the Sixers are stock-piling a lot of young, blue-chip talent and if they make the right decisions it shouldn’t take them long before they’re contenders again. That’s why the Sixers should hold onto Hawes and Young. First of all, despite the fact that they’re the old men on the team, they’re both still in their mid-20s, which means they still have a lot of years left. And they could be valuable role players to complement the young stars the Sixers should have on their roster next season and beyond, as well as leaders with lots of experience in the NBA. The Sixers won’t get lottery draft picks in a trade for either of them and the chances are that the players they would get with those picks won’t be as good as those two players are.
As for Turner, former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan was once asked if he would trade running back Earnest Jackson, a 1,000-yard rusher for previous coach Marion Campbell, and Ryan said he’d trade Jackson for a six-pack of beer – and it wouldn’t even have to be cold.
Well, I’d trade Turner for a single bottle of beer, warm or cold. Turner has talent – although not as much as you’d like from the second overall pick in the draft – and he could be a valuable asset for another team. But I just don’t want him on mine. Beyond the fact that he’s inconsistent, he also acts like a petulant child too many times.
Two incidents this season illustrate that. One was shown a lot on local sports shows after it happened – Turner was upset at an official’s call, and while he argued with the official as they went back down the court, Turner’s man slipped behind him for an easy basket.
But another incident that happened a few days before that bothered me even more. The player Turner was guarding beat him on a drive along the baseline for an easy basket and Turner was also called for a foul on the play. As usual, he whined about the official’s call, which, granted, was a borderline one. But what bothered me so much was that Turner was more upset at the official than he was at himself for violating what is probably the most inviolate rule of defensive basketball – never give up the baseline.
That’s the attitude of a loser and I don’t want people like that on my team, no matter how much ability they have, or are supposed to have. Turner doesn’t have the talent or the temperament to be a star in the NBA and even though he could have a long and productive career in the league, he’s not the kind of building block I want for a rebuilding program.
That’s a shame, too, because I remember the excitement Sixers fans felt when their team drafted Turner No. 2 overall in 2010 and the anticipation those fans felt about the pairing of Holiday and Turner in their backcourt for the next decade.
That plan obviously didn’t work. Now it’s time for the Sixers to try a new plan and they took a big step in that direction when they traded Holiday before the season. Now, midway through the season, it’s time to take that big second step into the future.
Contact Kevin Noonan at email@example.com.