It’s really not hard to follow the line of thinking: Hedo Turkoglu was the big off-season acquisition for Toronto; Toronto has had a horrible season that is crumbling right as the playoffs start; ergo, Turkoglu the problem
Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. It’s easy logic, and we like easy.
So when Turkoglu had to come out of the game Wednesday at half with what is being called a stomach virus, an entire city wasn’t sold. When he had to leave practice today partway through because of that same illness, there is no sympathy. Michael Grange of the Toronto Globe and Mail sums up the mood:
The problem with Turkoglu leaving the game at halftime with an upset stomach is that he’s got no track record of leaving it all on the floor, so to speak. From his training camp sabbatical to his sore hip to his sore knee to his sore ankle and now his sore tummy, if Turkoglu ain’t right, Turkoglu ain’t going….
But the real issue is this: Is there one person who – upon hearing Turkoglu wasn’t coming back after the half – didn’t roll their eyes?
The thing is Turkoglu’s shooting numbers this year are almost identical to last year — he’s even better from three. He’s just shooting a lot less. Nearly four shots a game. That’s about the system, that’s about teammates who need him to create less than in Orlando (after Jameer Nelson went down), it’s about a lot of things.
But the problem in Toronto is all about the defense. Turkoglu is not helping there, but again this is a system and team issue.
Defense in the NBA is as much about desire as it is skill (everybody is an athlete at this level, even Brad Miller). You have to want to defend. Was Boston any good at it before Garnett brought the passion? And north of the border Turkoglu is not bringing the passion, the desire. But he never was going to. He never has on that end.
Do paraphrase Dennis Green, Hedo Turkoglu is who we thought he was. Expecting something else was the mistake. That’s the real line of logic.
The Pistons will start Reggie Jackson at point guard, and they signed Ish Smith to provide better backup at the position.
The competition for the third point guard spot is heating up.
With Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum already signed to unguaranteed deals, Detroit is adding undrafted Old Dominion guard Trey Freeman.
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Pistons have just 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. The final spot will very likely go to a point guard.
Brown and McCallum should be favored in the competition, because they’re more NBA-ready. A president/coach, Stan Van Gundy is more prone to covet the player who can step in immediately.
Freeman’s partial guarantee is likely designed to entice him to play in the D-League for a low base salary. The Pistons can waive him in the preseason and then assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, though he’d become an NBA free agent.
Freeman is working to become a better distributor after playing as a go-to scorer in college. A solid mid-range shooter, he must extend his range beyond the arc. It’d also help if he got to the rim more, and it seems he has the bounce to do that.
For an undrafted player, he has nice tools. They’ll probably just need to be refined in the D-League.
But even if that’s the intention, Freeman at least gives himself a chance first of upsetting Brown and McCallum in the race for third point guard.
With 32 wins and missing the playoffs, last season wasn’t exactly what the Knicks hoped for. However, last season also came with hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis.
And there were highlights. Check out the team’s Top 10 plays, courtesy NBA.com.
It starts with some Derrick Williams moments, and ends with a Jose Calderon game winner, but there are moments from players the fans actually like in between.
At this point, there is zero chance Russell Westbrook‘s posts are a coincidence.
First. he posted a video of himself singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want.”
Then came the shoe ad that was another little jab at now Warriors Kevin Durant.
Now comes Westbrook’s return to karaoke posts, this time singing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”
Apparently, Westbrook and Durant are having one rough teenage breakup.
One of the great stories of last season was the return of Paul George to All-Star level form (then to watch him be crucial to the USA winning gold this summer).
It was a great story because vintage Paul George was so great. Watch this throwback video of him blowing by LeBron James and dunking over Chris Andersen from a few years back — this is vicious.
By the way, if you’re not following NBA history on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.