Thursday, January 5, 2012

Evan Turner Should Start, But Does It Really Matter?

Through five games this season the Sixers are 3-2 on the season and have had pretty much every single player play at an efficient level. The lone exception is starting shooting guard Jodie Meeks. After Evan Turner's fantastic performance in the Sixers win last night (21 points on 8-12 shooting), there has been much debate over the starting shooting guard position. Evan Turner has made a serious case to start at the two guard position though five games this season, while Jodie Meeks has not.

There are only a couple of valid reasons that one can come up with for starting Jodie Meeks. Those are that he can knock down three pointers, spread the court out for the starting five to attack the basket, and provide good chemistry with the players that start the game. So far this year he has not shot three pointers well making only 21 % of them. If he is not going to knock down his outside shots he is arguably the worst starter in the league. He has also been a complete liability on defense, yesterday being the prime example. In last night's game with the Hornets, Eric Gordon tore him apart. He scored 17 points while shooting 6-8 from the field while Meeks was covering him, and Gordon notched a measly five points (2-14 from the field) against everyone else. The starting five has also gotten off to a couple of slow starts in the five games played this season and that has led to even more discussion that a switch needs to be made.

Meeks' should be replacement, Evan Turner. The second year player out of Ohio State has really turned it on to start off the new season and is validating the Sixers decision to take him with the second pick last season. He is shooting with confidence, playing tenacious defense, and rebounding at a high rate for a guard. Turner provides a lot more for the starting five than does Meeks. He can rebound, play good defense, make plays for others, attack the basket, and score for himself. Most of these things Meeks can't do or does not do as well as Turner. The debate can go on and on but does it really matter who starts?

There is not even a question as to who is the better player and who has more upside, it's Evan Turner. I for one would like to see him start, however I am not too worried about the starting shooting guard situation because as long as Turner plays more minutes than Meeks everything is fine. If Meeks starts and plays 20 minutes a game, with Evan coming off the bench for 30 minutes a game as has been the case for most of the season, does it really matter who starts at the two guard? Some argue that it would get the team off to a better start in the game if Turner starts, but you could also say that Meeks might not play as well as Turner does with the bench of Williams and Young.

We can debate the topic all we want but in the long run I don't see Collins making the switch unless something drastic happens. With this team coach Doug Collins feels that Meeks provides the better chemistry and we will most likely see Jodie starting barring a huge change of plans from Collins, especially because of Collins' if it's not broke don't fix it philosophy. If the Sixers continue to win, we most likely won't see a change because he is going to stick with the rotation he currently has.

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