From the moment the Washington Wizards landed the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, there was little doubt that John Wall was headed to the nation's capital.
As for No. 2? Things were a little less certain.
Evan Turner, the Ohio State standout lauded as the national player of the year in college basketball, always had an inkling that he'd be the guy called upon by the Philadelphia 76ers with the second overall pick. But he felt much better when that was made official — in the form of a call from the Sixers' draft room just before 7:30 Thursday night.
"Yeah, that sort of calmed my nerves a little bit," Turner recalled. "We talked a little bit about how there was a high possibility they would be selecting me."
In the month that passed between May's lottery and draft night on Thursday, the Sixers had plenty of time to make their plans. They knew all along that Wall would be No. 1, and they had the whole month to make sure Turner was their guy.
He had all the talent and all the raw ability in the world going for him. He had the experience — as a college junior, he had a leg up on all the one-and-done freshmen entering the draft. He had the resume — Big Ten Player of the Year, AP national player of the year, Naismith Award, Wooden Award. All signs pointed to Turner being the right man for the job in Philly.
The job won't be easy. Since Allen Iverson carried the Sixers to the NBA Finals nine years ago, it's been an uphill battle for the franchise, struggling to find an identity and not winning much of anything. Iverson left town three years ago, heading first to Denver, then to Detroit, then Memphis, then back to Philly, then out of the game altogether. The Sixers have been just as lost as their old icon.
The onus is now on Turner to be the savior, to make Philly fans care again about their basketball team. He has to be the man that changes everything.
"I think I have a potential to be, a possibility to be," he said. "I expect a lot out of myself. I've proven that in the past, and I've worked hard. I think the team in general will be really excited. We have some new players and good young players as well, so we should already be excited. With new additions, we can do a lot of big things this season."
Turner will have talented veterans around him in Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand. But if the Sixers are going to turn things around after a 27-55 nightmare of a season, he has to be the one that leads the way. And he seems strangely OK with that challenge.
"I don't have any pressure, I don't think," Turner said. "I have a lot of demands from myself, so I'm going to play hard and work hard. I expect myself to be great and Philly especially to be great. We have a mutual understanding.
"Just coming from the background," he said, "I think that you have to earn everything. I'm definitely ready to earn my minutes and earn my keep, and also, you know, just be part of the team and work hard and play hard."
It's going to take a lot of hard work to get these Sixers where they want to be. Not since 2001 has the franchise won 50 games or advanced past the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Last year, they hit rock bottom.
Turner wants to be in Philly, and he wants to be the guy that changes everything. He's happy that when the phone rang Thursday night in the Madison Square Garden green room, the call was for him. Now he's got a chance to lead the Sixers back to the promised land.
"You can't guarantee anything," he said. "But I don't think about losing, and I expect the playoffs. I'm sure my teammates do as well."