Evan Turner and Derrick Favors did not have spectacular professional debuts, but they were not complete disasters either.
Turner’s Philadelphia 76ers and Favors’ New Jersey Nets anchored the first day of the 2010 NBA Summer Pro League season as the featured game at Orlando’s RDV Sportsplex Center on Monday, mainly because the game boasted two of the first five selections in last June’s NBA Draft.
Turner, the second overall pick, finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, but was just 2-for-5 from the field. Favors, the third overall selection, made just two of his eight shot attempts and finished with eight points. He did grab nine rebounds and had two blocked shots in a losing effort. The Sixers won, 84-74.
“It was just a learning experience, learning all the NBA rules,” Favors told NBATV’s Steve Smith. Favors, who played only one season at Georgia Tech, also struggled with the way the game was being officiated as the 18-year-old power forward was called for seven personal fouls. No player can foul out in the summer league.
Favors, listed at 6-foot-9 and 246 pounds, looked strong at times but also looked tentative. He is not an explosive leaper, so he gobbled up most of his rebounds on sheer upper body strength. He definitely has a long ways to go, especially on offense, but he should thrive under new Nets coach Avery Johnson, who knows how to develop young players.
Turner started off slow and didn’t make his first field goal until very late in the second quarter. He was just 1-for-4 from the field and had four points and four fouls in the first half, playing mostly at the shooting guard.
“I thought I did all right. [Playing shooting guard] is something I have to get used to,” said the Ohio State first-team All-American. “My first couple of years in college I was off the ball. Last year, I was on the ball so I just have to learn on how to read things.”
Turner showed flashes of brilliance, especially when he was given space near the free throw line. He got the majority of his points at the free throw line, where he was a perfect 8-for-8, and did not shy away from contact. At 6-7 and 210, Turner used his size and strength to get to the rim against shooting guards, and took the small forwards off the dribble, displaying a nice spin move.
The Sixers made a strong run in the fourth quarter when they went with a smaller lineup with Turner at small forward. He made a nice end-to-end play in the fourth quarter when he grabbed a rebound, went behind his back twice before finishing with his left hand over two defenders to tie the game at 64.
“As the game worn on, I got a little bit more comfortable. It’s fun out there after a while,” said Turner, who deferred to last year’s first-round pick, Jrue Holiday, to do most of the ball-handling.
Holiday was easily the Sixers’ best player on the floor, as he finished with a game-high 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting. The former UCLA standout has greatly improved his handles, and his game-high eight assists showed new Sixers coach Doug Collins, who was in attendance, that he is capable of playing point guard full time.
Second-year pro Terrence Williams led the Nets with 23 points, including two powerful dunks.