Evan Turner

Evan Turner still enigma for 76ers. Where does he fit in?


There are games you watch Evan Turner play and you can see why he went No. 2 in the draft — he dropped 24 and 11 on Atlanta last Friday and looked like the kind of building block Philadelphia hoped he would be when they took him ahead of Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George among others.

But he turns around and has a game like Tuesday against Brooklyn — 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting without a great impact on the game — and you wonder where he fits. Which is fine for a player new to the league, but at age 24 at the end of his third season, the “give him time” argument as worn thin.

Doug Collins hasn’t figured him out. Now the Sixers head into a summer likely to see serious changes — does Collins return? What about Andrew Bynum? — and among the questions is what to do with Turner? Trade him, or keep him and hope the next coach can find a spot he feels comfortable?

Part of the problem is perception — if Turner were drafted 10th in what was a generally down draft we might not flinch at these struggles, but when you go No. 2 the expectations are higher. Evans admitted as much to Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com.

“I look over the past few years and say I went No. 2 in the draft and then all my problems started coming. It is not a problem. I have a long career ahead of me, hopefully, and hopefully things get better. And even though it has been a down year for our organization, I try to find positives. It is so easy to find negativity, but as a player I have grown every year.”

His three point shooting has gotten better this season, up to 36.9 percent, but Evans has admitted it happened without him working much on the shot. It just kind of occurred. Turner seems himself as a guy trying to find his role on the team, not as a franchise guy.

“I feel like what I am asked to do and what I am allowed to do lead to me getting the bulk of the blame in certain situations,” Turner suggested. “It goes along with the status of being the No. 2 overall pick – the No. 2 pick is supposed to be the franchise tag, but here it is a different situation because I am a role player.”

The Sixers are not going to offer Turner a contract extension this summer, that you can be sure about.

But what they do with him — trade him, keep him for another season and let the market decide is price as a restricted free agent — remains a big question. On that has to be answered in the context of a lot of other big picture questions in Philadelphia.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports NBCBayArea.com.

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.