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

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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.

Rumor: Bulls expected to wait until 2019 for free-agency splash

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The Bulls tanked so hard this year, the NBA warned them to cut it out. It was a rare instance of the league responding to actual tanking measures rather than just talk of preferring to lose.

Bulls executive John Paxson, via Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:

“We did this year what we felt was in the longterm best interests of the Bulls,” Paxson said. “It’s not a situation that any of us want to ever be in again; it goes against everything as a competitive person that you believe in; but it’s the way the system is set up.”

Chicago could try to turn around quickly. The Bulls project to have about $25 million in cap space this summer – enough to land a good player or two.

Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago:

The assumption in league circles is the Bulls will wait until 2019 to make their big move when players like Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving could be on the market, and might consider signing with the Bulls after watching another year of development from LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn.

This is the wise course. It’s unlikely Chicago can lure anyone good enough to lift such a young core quickly. The Bulls are better off remaining patient – and bad, which will net another high draft pick as Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn develop.

This is also probably the course thrust upon Chicago. Even if they wanted to, the Bulls probably can’t land a premier free agent this summer. Star free agents can see the same problems with Chicago trying for a quick fix and will likely avoid the situation.

There’d be no harm in trying for top free agents like LeBron James or even Paul George. But the Bulls will probably be relegated to 2019 if they want to sign someone meaningful. Better they realize that than make a desperate attempt for relevance this year.

Rich Cho on Trail Blazers getting swept: ‘Being a previous Portland GM, that didn’t disappoint me’

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In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.

Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.

John Canzano of The Oregonian:

That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.

Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.

Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.

Josh Allen’s old tweet: ‘I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks’

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Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.

And there’s an NBA tie.

Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:

I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks

— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011

Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.

But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.

Donovan Mitchell tells Thunder fans, Jazz teammates Utah not returning to Oklahoma City this season

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The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.

But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.

Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:

Jake Edmonds of KUTV:

A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?

The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.