Evan Turner’s stock went up some last season when the hapless Sixers played an up-tempo style and essentially just gave him a green light. He was scoring 17.4 points a game, and while not doing it very efficiently (.504 true shooting percentage) this was the best basketball he had played in the NBA.
So Larry Bird took a chance on him being able to bring some of that scoring and shot creation to the Pacers system… but no. Asked to play within a controlled offensive system and come off the bench, Turner withered.
So did his free agency leverage. No team watched him with the Pacers and thought, “We need to add that guy.” Some team is going to take a chance on Turner this summer — not for much money, but they will take a chance. The question is which one?
Maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves. That according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 in the Twin Cities.
A source tells 1500espn.com that the Wolves are targeting former Sixers and Pacers shooting guard Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft. He became an unrestricted free agent after the Pacers didn’t extend an $8.7 million qualifying offer.
The Cavaliers also had some interest, but both Cleveland and Minnesota have much bigger things on its mind than Turner right now. Turner is not exactly anyone’s priority, but he is on the radar.
As a minimum or near minimum signing at a position where the team doesn’t need to rely on Turner, he can be a decent gamble.
It’s on Turner now — he has to play hard, accept his role and prove he can be a rotation player in this league. If he wants to keep getting those checks, he needs to show he can play in a system and be more efficient. if not, he’ll be collecting his checks in Europe.
DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).
After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.
Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.
The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.
He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.
Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.
Young, via TMZ:
“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”
Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:
Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.
The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.
Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.
So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.