The Evster: the sad, sad, sad truth behind Evan Turner's sad story

The Evster: the sad, sad, sad truth behind Evan Turner's sad story

I feel bad for Evan Turner.

I know, I know, that's ridiculous. The guy is a multi-millionaire who plays basketball for a living. He's tall. Well-built. And has over 160,000 Twitter followers. As far as I can tell, he has no visible moles on his back, and very few stray hairs sprouting out of his nips. He also has a girlfriend (and dog) who looks like this...

OH DAT MIDRIFF

... but I still feel bad for him.

Ev's having a rough time these days. During the Eastern Conference Finals, he's been stuck on the Pacers' bench, earning a DNP: Coach's Decision in four out of the first five games. When Evan does play (four minutes in Game 3), he seems to do so with his testicles firmly implanted in his own anus, a strategy unseen since the great Keith Van Horn slung 'em up for the 2002 Washington Mystics.

Fans and media all over the country have been yucking it up at ET's expense. On the cusp of free agency, Ev is struggling to prove he's any more valuable than the teammates he's fighting for playing time with: perennial journeymen Rasual Butler (Christian Street Y represent reprezent-zent) and C.J. Watson (not good at basketball). As of now, it seems like the Sixers might've gotten the better end of their deal with Indiana, flipping Turner (and a guy whose Twitter handle is @chefVOYardee) for a 2nd round pick, and a man who refused to play basketball for their team.

Is Turner really this bad? I mean, we knew he wasn't GREAT -- as evidenced by his far too common 2 for 15 shooting nights -- but was he always THIS terrible? The short answer is yes. He's always been worthless. But he was also sort of dope for like five minutes. Not dope. That's not the right word. But "not horrible"? Is that closer? I mean, yeah, sometimes he'd shoot the ball directly off the backboard, but he'd also sometimes rebound his own miss, and then put the ball back up, get his shot blocked by around three different guys, then throw up his hands at the ref and complain... but then he'd go coast-to-coast on the next play and ram over BronBron! WHAT IS THIS GUY'S DEAL? How could Evan have gone from a potential all-star (dude was averaging 17 and 6 when we traded him) to Michael Beasley 2.0? Is he just a total bozo? And can you really feel sorry for a bozo?

I have no idea.

I honestly have no clue. To this day, after 37 years on this earth, I do not know what any of the rules of this world are. I'm just a lowly blogger who needed an idea for this week's post and literally just dropped half a tuna salad sandwich on his keyboard while he was trying to write. But Evan Turner is a total enigma. And there is seriously tuna everywhere. While I clean this up, it's important to realize that in order to truly understand ET, you have to take a long, cold, hard look into his dark past.

Pretty sure he's wearing wrapping paper here.

According to Wikipedia, when Evan was a baby, he came down with chicken pox, pneumonia, asthma and measles DURING HIS FIRST YEAR ON EARTH. This led to the little fella developing severe breathing problems that required the removal of his adenoids and tonsils. Yeah, I know, adenoids aren't a thing. And yet Evan had to have them removed. Baby Evan Turner had something sliced out of his throat that doesn't even exist. Not the best way to start off life. Unfortunately, it only got worse.

At the age of three, Evan got hit by a car. BY. A. CAR. That means that as he was just starting to legitimately walk, he got nailed by a MOVING MOTOR VEHICLE. Can you imagine seeing a Volvo smash into a three-year-old? Last week I accidentally backpedalled over my nephew's foot and now my sister-in-law refuses to talk to me. Not because of that, because of something completely unrelated (I stole $20 out of her purse... for drugs), but still, her kid needs to RE-LAX. Evan ended up with a concussion and needing stitches after his accident. Later, he developed oversized teeth which caused a speech impediment. No wonder the dude can't get along with his teammates.

For the record, there is nothing sadder -- or harder for a child to overcome -- than a speech impediment. (And that includes weirdos who are born without feet!) I grew up with a kid who was super, super nice, but he also had a lisp, and had ZERO friends. That kid was me. No, no, no it wasn't, but it woulda tied up those last few sentences nicely. That's how horrible lisps are. Even in a stupid weekly column on this measly blog, I can't bring myself to even PRETEND that I had a lisp. I bet The Villain got teased mercilessly growing up. Which had a big-time effect on a his social development. Trust me, I know, because (and you're not gonna believe this), I too was teased as a kid. I was born with a rare congenital birth defect called H.P.S. (Humongo Penis Syndrome), a condition that has plagued me my entire life. It's horrible. Follow me on Instagram, ladies. Username: KikiVandewegheJr

As Evan got older, he found basketball, and a sense of purpose. No longer just the sickly kid with a lisp, he was now the sickly kid with a lisp who could also put a dumb orange ball into a hoop. But in Oak Park, Illinois, Evan's hometown, being great at something isn't really good enough. The town is full of greatness. The upper-middle class suburb may be best known for Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture (I took a guided walking tour there with my wife! and yes it was very lovely thank you very much!), but it has also churned out loads of BIG TIME celebs. Notable Oak Park natives include: Ernest Hemingway (and his beard), Dan Castellaneta (aka Homer Simps), LIEUTENANT DANGLE (from Reno 911), Bob Newhart (not dead!), Betty White (also not dead), Corey Maggette (such a good free throw shooter), Iman Shumpert (possibly has never made a free throw), HANNAH STORM (first woman to get hotter during menopause) and wait for it...

wait for it...

JUDY TENUTA!

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/j8YTXQgYaX8 width=620 height=465]

My buddy Barklev thinks that no one knows who Judy Tenuta is. I disagree. So for the three of you out there reading this who actually know who Judy Tenoots is, how 'bout Judy Tenoots!!!

I'm not quite sure why any of this matters, but it seemed worth bringing up. Growing up surrounded by such greatness -- TENUTA -- and expectations, can put a lot of pressure on a young kid.

It got even tougher for Evan as a teenager, as he chose to play ball for the biggest dicknose in the city, Coach Gene Pingatore of Saint Joseph's High School. You may remember Pingatore from Hoop Dreams. He was the dicknose supreme who booted Arthur Agee out of school and chided William Gates for his entire career, constantly comparing him to his prized former star, Isiah "Also a Dicknose" Thomas. Pingatore rules with an iron fist (and a flacid dick of a nose). There's no way Evan's years at St. Joe's could've possibly helped him grow as a human being. AND THAT'S SAD FOR HIM.

Sidenote: While I was reading up on Captain Dicknose, I found out that William Gates's son, William Jr. (aka Spoodie) currently plays basketball at Furman College in South Carolina. Spoodie got a late start playing hoops (he first attended basketball camp the summer before 8th grade) and enrolled in St. Joe's the following year. There, he played JV as a freshman, but struggled to adjust to the school, the team, and the expectations, and eventually decided to transfer back to public school. Eventually, the Gates family moved to Texas where Spoodie spent his senior year and became a stand-out player. The moral of this story: Pingatore is still a d-nose.

Also, they call William Gates's son, Spoodie!

I'd love to get back to Evan Turner, but one more thing about Deputy Dicknose: Is it me or does he sort of look exactly like that old dude from Up?

Maybe not!

BACK TO THE POINT OF THIS WHOLE ARTICLE: EVAN TURNER'S GIRLFRIEND.

MAMA MIA.

WHAT A WOMAN.

REALLY SMOOTH ARMS.

In college, it didn't get any easier for Ev. Even while he was taking his game to the next level, he struggled to make friends on the team. Turner's former teammate at Ohio State, Mark Titus, now a writer at Grantland, wrote a book about his college career and described Turner as “weird” and “the epitome of a guy who couldn’t take a joke.” Titus also wrote that Turner was “insecure, socially feebleminded, possibly bipolar... and actually one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet when he wanted to be.”

As a pro, Evan has been constantly judged by his draft position -- #2 overall -- right behind quite possibly the best point guard who has ever played the game. That's totally unfair to Turner. No one compares to John Wall. The Wizards' stud is the most electrifying player in basketball history who is not named Sue Bird. And yet this is what Evvy must deal with. Eight picks after the Sixers took ET, the Pacers took Paul George -- THANKS, ED STEFANSKI -- who now flaunts his chiseled naked body and improving jump shot in Evan's face every day. Not lost in all this, is the fact that there is a real live human person out there named PAUL GEORGE.

Outside of Ev's time in Philly, and his current dark period in Indy, the poor guy hasn't even been able to land a decent shoe deal. ONCE AGAIN, SAD. What's the point of being an NBA player if you don't have sweet kicks? Turner is currently sponsored by the Chinese sporting goods company, Li Ning, the same company who sponsors Hasheem Thabeet and Zheng Bo.

BLAMMO!

These are Evan's sneaks:

WHY ARE THEY IN THE GRASS?!

I dunno, man. Seems to me like the guy deserves a break. I know, I know, life is hard for everyone. And Evan at least has his health. I'm not saying you have to like Evan Turnski, but you gotta feel for him a littttttttle bit. Cheerleading from the bench. Fighting with teammates in practice. Watching his stock drop lower and lower every damn day, to the point where he'll probably end up taking a one-year deal from Milwaukee this summer for a measly $4.8 milly.

It doesn't seem like that much fun to be The Villain.

Then again...

Thanks, Stefanski.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Eagles Film Review: Carson Wentz's improvisation pays off big

Eagles Film Review: Carson Wentz's improvisation pays off big

Carson Wentz takes pride in not letting plays die easily. 

In Sunday’s 34-3 win over the Steelers, one play he didn’t let die ended up being the back-breaker in the blowout. 

We’re, of course, talking about the 73-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles at the 13:08 mark in the third quarter. Coming into the second half, the Eagles had a 10-point lead, but this touchdown pushed it to a 20-3 advantage and the rout was on. This play was a tone-setter (see story)

“That’s something that we talk about a lot,” Wentz said after the game. “We always say that a play is never dead. I like to make plays when we need to and everyone just does a great job of getting open in those situations.”

This was the first big off-schedule play Wentz has hit during his three weeks as the team’s starter, but the signs were there. In the Chicago game, there were several times where he showed his ability to extend plays. We broke them down in a film review last week (see story).

Throughout the week, Wentz had been compared to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. One of the reasons was their shared ability to extend plays and make something happen. Big Ben showed his ability in the first quarter and almost connected on a huge touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton in the back of the end zone, but the receiver couldn’t pull it in. 

When Wentz got his shot later in the game, Sproles was able to pull it in, then make something happen with his feet. 

“I saw Carson scrambling this way,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Darren was literally right in front of me and when I saw him wheel, my first reaction was to find the sideline to see if he stepped out to be quite honest.  He hadn’t, and Carson just — it was like in slow motion — floated that ball up the sideline and Darren did the rest from there. It was a tremendous play from those two individuals. I guess the last thing I did is I always look back to make sure there are no flags on the ground on those long plays.”

There were no flags. Touchdown. Game. 

Let’s take a closer look at the play: 

Wentz is in shotgun with Sproles in the backfield with him. The Eagles come out with three-wide on the far side of the field and a lot of space on the near side. 

Stephon Tuitt, who actually had a pretty good game against the Eagles, takes this route to the quarterback. When he gets to left guard Allen Barbre, Barbre either didn’t see him or didn’t react quickly enough. 

While Sproles is still running his short out, Wentz feels the pressure and is able to step up through the hole created by Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks. As soon as he makes it through, Wentz still has his eyes downfield. 

Now Wentz is through the hole and sees Sproles finishing his out-route. This is when Wentz, on the run, motions to Sproles to take off. This is something we’ve seen Wentz do a few times during his three weeks as Eagles quarterback. 

Wentz was left with a tough decision here. He could have run for 10, maybe even 15 yards. It was wide open, but he decided to try to make a play with his arm instead. 

“I always want to be a thrower first,” he said. “Even when a play breaks down, I’m always looking [to throw] because that’s where the big plays are happening. If I scramble I might get 5, 10, 15, 20 yards, but I’m not that fast. I always want to get it to the guys that can make plays. We always want to make plays when they’re there, and that’s what happened.”

With the line of scrimmage at the 27, Wentz has enough awareness to run horizontally to make sure he didn’t cross. And as soon as Pittsburgh safety Mike Mitchell takes that first step toward him, Wentz sees how much room Sproles has to work with. 

Ryan Shazier, who was covering Sproles on the play, froze and then started to step toward Wentz too. He said he thought the quarterback crossed the line of scrimmage, but Wentz was aware enough to stay behind.  

Once Sproles catches the ball in open space, he begins to do Sproles things. Defensive back Sean Davis took a bad angle on him and once he gets close, the veteran turns it inside. Davis said he was trying to buy time for the rest of his defense to get there and stop Sproles. It didn’t work. 

“Man, it’s Sproles!” receiver Nelson Agholor said. “Did you think he was going to get tackled?”

While he’s blocking downfield, Dorial Green-Beckham actually trips himself up and does a somersault. But it didn’t matter — Sproles didn’t need a great block. He pretty much did it himself. 

“Anytime that you can put it in the hands of [Sproles] something special can happen on any play, and he did the rest of it,” Wentz said. 

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Travis Konecny leaves impression with vets in Flyers' preseason win

Travis Konecny leaves impression with vets in Flyers' preseason win

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Michael Raffl had just finished playing alongside Travis Konecny, the 19-year-old kid that has Flyers fans abuzz about the now and future.

Yet for Raffl, he wasn’t thinking forward. Instead, he was looking back.

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t do that when I was 19, that’s for sure,” the 27-year-old said smiling, eyes wide open. “No, it’s impressive, he’s a really, really good hockey player.”

Konecny had that resounding affect Wednesday night at the PPL Center, recording a goal and an assist while leading the Flyers to a 2-0 preseason win over the Devils (see 10 observations).

He dazzled with speed and shiftiness.

He showed off vision and smarts.

When he touched the puck, he had everyone’s attention.

Paired with Raffl and Brayden Schenn in a game featuring mostly prospects, the 2015 first-round pick made the molding of Ron Hextall’s roster that much more difficult. With the general manager looking on, the highly touted winger started fast before making his imprint in a span of just four minutes and 34 seconds.

First, he redirected a blast by Andrew MacDonald to hand the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Not long after, the 2015 first-round pick deceived the defense to find Raffl right in front on a backdoor pass for a 2-0 advantage.

“We had a cycle play going and he had a nice fake up top there and I was just going to the net,” Raffl said. “Somehow I was all by myself and he saw me, put a perfect pass on my tape and I just went around the goalie and put it in.”

Following his first goal, Konecny nearly tacked on another less than a minute later when he appeared to hit the crossbar on a shot. He also flirted with a few more assists.

“I think I just played relaxed,” Konecny said. “I came into the game tonight trying not to do too much and just keep things simple. The main thing for me was getting pucks out of the zone, so I think I did that well tonight and hopefully I can keep building on it.”

Relieving pucks from the zone isn’t a problem when you possess the speed and skill of Konecny, who racked up 101 points last season at the junior level.

At just 19, that’s where he’ll have to return if he doesn’t crack the Flyers’ roster.

With cuts already made and more coming, that sometimes is on Konecny’s mind.

“It weighs on you a little bit. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it and it’s definitely the time I need to step up and make sure I’m playing good hockey,” Konecny said. “And just earning another day — that’s just the way I’m looking at it. Every day I wake up and just work hard and move forward from there.

“I think everyone comes into camp and tries to give them (management) a reason not to send you back and make it hard on them.”

Wednesday night didn’t hurt his chances.

“He played a good hockey game,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Had an impact offensively. He did a pretty good job. There’s some youthful mistakes in there, but overall, he had a real good night tonight playing with Raf and Schenner.”

Placing Konecny with two capable NHL forwards offered the Canadian an opportunity to prove what he could do if he was in fact on the big club.

“We played well together,” Konecny said. “I think from the start we just had a lot of communication, we talked in the room, in warmups, we all knew what we were going to do throughout the game and in certain scenarios.”

If anything, Konecny left an impression on Raffl.

“He’s a very smart player,” Raffl said. “Once he has the puck, he makes smart decisions with it. It was very easy to play with him out there. He plays a mature game and I really enjoyed it.”

Time will tell if more is in store come Oct. 14.

Loose pucks
Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon combined for the shutout. Stolarz started and made 11 saves over 29:23, while Lyon played 30:37 and stopped seven shots. “I like both of our guys tonight,” Hakstol said. “Stolie did a good job, he made a difference in this game in the first 10 minutes, those two or three really good saves there. Then Alex came in halfway through, which isn’t an easy thing to do and was ready to go and did his job.” … Schenn, MacDonald and defensive prospect Robert Hagg finished with an assist apiece. … With the roster currently standing at 49, the Flyers expect to make 15 cuts on Thursday. … Defenseman Nick Schultz is out four to seven days with a lower-body injury suffered in Tuesday night’s preseason game. ... The Flyers are off Thursday before likely practicing Friday ahead of Saturday's preseason game at 7 p.m. against the Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center.