Turner, Favors show flashes of potential
ORLANDO, Fla. — The flashes from a baseline photographer’s camera kept popping while Evan Turner was taking free throws. Then again when Derrick Favors pulled up for a jumper.
Neither one flinched. Neither complained. Neither, really, seemed to notice the distracting flashes — not usually tolerated on the baseline — in their first pro outing.
They might be ready for the big time yet.
“But it was rough,” Favors said. “When they flashed, my eyes went black. I couldn’t see. It’s something I have to get used to.”
Welcome to the pros.
The No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks in this year’s draft showed off their potential Monday night, even if it wasn’t always at its best.
In the most decorated matchup of young hopefuls at this week’s NBA summer league in Orlando, Turner had 12 points and eight rebounds to help the Philadelphia 76ers beat Favors and the New Jersey Nets 84-74.
“I just wanted to get my rhythm back, my flow back, my timing back,” said Turner, the No. 2 pick, who added four assists. “And not looking like I never played basketball before, like I did at the start.”
Favors had eight points on 2-for-8 shooting for the Nets, who had the league’s worst record last season but slipped to No. 3 in the draft lottery. He also had some above-the-rim rebounds — nine in all — and showed he might be worthy of the high selection.
“I was nervous at the beginning of the game, and I just wanted to get that all out of the way,” Favors said. “I’m glad it is, and now I’ll come back and be ready to go.”
The college standouts are bringing big expectations to their struggling pro franchises.
Turner, the Ohio State guard voted The Associated Press Player of the Year, is considered one of the most NBA ready players in this year’s draft class. Favors, the 18-year-old forward from Georgia Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, has an NBA body and tons of pro potential.
Their first outing was a sneak peak to a small crowd — filled with a few NBA stars and personnel — that had to wait all day to get a glimpse.
The matchup was good enough to have the NBA move the game from the early afternoon to prime-time on its network. The five-day, eight-team summer league is being held at the Orlando Magic’s practice facility and is crammed daily with about 200 people — mostly players, coaches, general managers and media — but is not open to fans.
New Sixers coach Doug Collins and new Nets coach Avery Johnson were among those who got a first-row glimpse of the potential the young rookies showed.
“I think they were a little nervous at first,” Collins said. “And a little rusty. But they got much of that rust off their game, and I thought it turned out well for the first game.”
Favors had two put-back dunks that drew “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd. He also had some head-scratching turnovers dribbling through the paint.
Turner, for his part, was cautious and careful with every step. But he never really dazzled the way he did so many times for the Buckeyes, and he was often overshadowed by backcourt mate Jrue Holiday.
This was only a test run, of course, and hardly any indication of how their NBA futures will play out.
Summer league isn’t as scripted like the regular season. There are few set plays, little coaching and almost no team chemistry.
The real NBA teams are far more talented. The games are far more intense. The stakes are far greater.
Getting a small taste of what’s to come, though, they were both left wanting more.
“It felt good, most definitely,” Turner said. “It’s the start of my career, and I’m really ready to get it going.”
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