Evan Turner thinks he could be first pick, but he'll take Philly

3 Comments

Thumbnail image for turner_jumper.jpgJohn Wall is going to be the first pick in the draft. He is. That doesn’t mean it’s not debatable — we’ll be happy to play devil’s advocate to the conventional wisdom.

Evan Turner is going to be drafted second overall. But he thinks he should be considered for that top pick, something he said in an interview with reporters at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago today. (Adam Fluck at Bulls Blog posted the audio.)

“I think it’s still a possibility and we’re definitely going to do an individual workout for (Washington) and see what is going on for there,” Evans said.

Evans said that he is a more versatile player — he has played the point and had one of the nation’s best assist rates last year but is projected as a shooting guard — and suggested his game would blend better with Gilbert Arenas. Which assumes that Arenas will put on a Wizards uniform again, which is an entirely different debate.

Still, if he has to go second, things are always sunny in Philadelphia.

“I think they have a lot of good young players and I could help fit in,” Evans said, emphasizing his ability to play either guard along with Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday.

Turner is part of the current breed of NBA player that bends the traditional notions of positions in the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki is the classic example — he’s a center by height but really plays like a small forward. Why try to pigeonhole him into one role when you are better suited just to look for ways to use his gifts.

Turner is sort of the same way, he can be a combo guard. Brandon Roy does that in Portland — he’s not the point guard technically, but the offense runs through him and his decision making. In that sense Turner could blend with Arneas is Washington or Holiday and Iguodala in Philadelphia.

“I’m just a basketball player, it doesn’t matter at all (what position I play)… I don’t feel I have a natural position,” Turner said.

Turner said he is now just working out everyday, making 550 shots a day, to get ready for the next level. He said he is particularly focusing on three point shooting — he hit a respectable 36 percent from the college arc last year (with defenses focused on him) but he has to be consistent with that shot from the NBA level to really have an impact next year.

And after three years in Columbus, Turner is itching to make an impact on the big stage. Whatever the position.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
2 Comments

A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

7 Comments

The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!