PHILADELPHIA -- Evan Turner will begin his first NBA season on the bench.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins decided against putting Turner in the starting lineup for Wednesday night's opener against the Miami Heat. The 76ers selected Turner with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
While not really considered a franchise player coming out of Ohio State, most scouting reports had Turner as perhaps the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft. Turner, who turns 22 on Wednesday, was expected to team with point guard Jrue Holiday for a backcourt that would help lead the Sixers back toward respectability.
Collins, who makes his Sixers coaching debut, scoffed at the idea that Turner was the most "polished" prospect in the draft.
"Polished for the college game? This is a totally different game," Collins said.
Turner, The Associated Press Player of the Year, averaged 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists while leading the Buckeyes into the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
The Sixers will start Holiday and Andre Iguodala in the backcourt, forwards Jason Kapono and Elton Brand and center Spencer Hawes.
"Evan's had his moments," Collins said. "With Evan, it's about as much as who's he on the floor with that gives him a chance to be successful."
The Turner-Holiday pairing may very well happen, perhaps soon. They just won't be introduced together against the Heat.
Kapono, once one of the NBA's top 3-point specialists, gives the Sixers an extra shooter who can help open up the floor. It does weaken them defensively and doesn't really help them build a nucleus for success this season and beyond.
Collins said the decision had nothing to do with Turner's play -- but had a troubling explanation for Sixers fans.
"I just didn't feel that he and 'Dre and Jrue were a great mix," he said. "We had very poor spacing on the floor. The ball wasn't friendly. There's an expression that when the ball's moving, it has energy. We went through a lot of lulls with that group. That's where I started tinkering around with it. Evan's fine with it."
Collins said Turner needs to make a quicker adjustment to the NBA style of play.
"The mistakes he makes in games now are because he's defending like you defend in college," Collins said. "You help in certain areas that you can't help here."
Asked what he needed to do to crack the starting lineup, Turner said, "Become a better shooter."
Turner shot 31 percent in seven preseason games -- the lowest of any Sixer on the opening night roster.
Turner learned something Tuesday -- how to handle disappointment like a pro.
"It's not about me, it's about the team," he said.