Not only did Turner sweep national player of the year honors as a junior at Ohio State, he also became the first NCAA Division I player to average at least 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in a single season since Oscar Robertson did so in back-to-back season in 1958-
However, Turner struggled during his first two NBA seasons, averaging a combined 8.2 points per game. During his second season, Turner did show flashes of his stat-stuffing ability, averaging 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 20 games as a starter.
In the summer of 2012, the Sixers traded away All-Star forward Andre Iguodala, freeing up precious playing time for Turner. The 24-year-old responded by starting all 82 games in 2012-13 and was one of eight players who averaged at least 13 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, joining the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
Turner scored 20 points 17 times this past season after doing so 10 times his first two seasons combined. He also recorded 14 double-doubles in 2012-13 after having a total of seven his first two seasons.
Even more impressive was that Turner added the 3-point shot to his repertoire. Last season, he nailed 58 3-pointers on 36.5% shooting after having just 25 3FGM on 26.9% shooting his first two seasons combined.
This season, Turner has been afforded yet another great opportunity to show off his skills with the departure of point guard Jrue Holiday. Turner should see an increase in his duties as a ball-handler which feeds into the strengths he showed as an all-around offensive threat on the collegiate level.
Another Sixer to keep an eye on this season is “elder statesman” Thaddeus Young. Although Young is just 25-years-old, he is entering his seventh season with the team and is the longest tenured Sixer.
Young has filled every role the team has asked of him over his career. After starting a total of two games in 2010-11 and 2011-12, he started all 76 of his games played this past season, averaging 14.8 points and a career-high 7.5 rebounds.
The Georgia Tech product recorded 21 double-doubles last season after having just one in 2011-12. Young had 20-plus points and 14-plus rebounds in the same game four times this past season, the most by a Sixer in a single season since Chris Webber accomplished the feat seven times in 2005-06.
Young ranked 10th in the NBA with a career-best 1.75 steals per game last season and has nearly as many steals (541) as turnovers (552) for his career. He’s also shooting 51.2% from the floor for his career, which is 14th best among active players.
New Sixer head coach Brett Brown envisions an up-tempo, open court style of offense for his team which falls right into Young’s wheelhouse. Young has made a name for himself over the years as a high-energy player who can thrive without having a single play run for him.