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.

Ryan Howard's miserable May continues as Tigers out-power Phillies

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Ryan Howard's miserable May continues as Tigers out-power Phillies

DETROIT — Back when they were racking up National League East titles and filling Citizens Bank Park night after night, the Phillies could slug with anyone.
 
Those days are gone.
 
So even on a night when they got some power from two young up-and-comers in their lineup, the Phillies still couldn’t get enough to match up with the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.
 
“We don’t have enough pop to go blow for blow with them,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
The Tigers belted four home runs, three against starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, in beating the Phillies, 5-4, at Comerica Park (see Instant Replay).
 
Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph both homered for the Phillies, but Ryan Howard, no longer even close to the player he was during those aforementioned title years, slipped deeper into the May quicksand. He went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts to fall to .156 on the season. He is 4 for 48 (.083) in the month of May.
 
“Man, it’s been brutal,” Howard said after the game. “I’m not going to lie. I need some breaks, man. It’s been tough. I’ve hit some balls hard, but they’re not finding any real estate out there.
 
“I have to keep grinding and swinging. Luckily, it’s still early to get it turned around.”
 
Yes, it’s early for some guys.
 
But it might not be that early for Howard. He’s 36 and in the final year of his contract. His slump has coincided with Joseph’s ascension from the minors. Joseph played first base Monday night and looked good at the position. In addition to hitting a game-tying homer in the sixth, he had a double. Half of his six hits in his first seven games in the majors have been for extra bases.
 
Joseph will continue to play first base while Howard serves as the designated hitter in the final two games of the interleague series in Detroit. After that, Joseph is expected to start against lefty Jon Lester in Chicago on Friday. If he keeps hitting — and Howard keeps struggling — the situation could be ripe for Mackanin to continue to play Joseph, even against the right-handers Howard usually sees.
 
“I'm going to look at it a week at a time,” Mackanin said. “We'll see. At some point it might come to that, but I can't say it's imminent.”
 
If Howard starts spending more time on the bench, it will be part of a downhill progression that started in the second half of last season when he became a platoon player. Will a progression to the bench ultimately lead to his being released in the coming weeks? Well, if Joseph keeps hitting and continues to earn playing time, management may have to seriously ponder the move.
 
Even with Franco and Joseph hitting home runs, the Phillies didn’t have enough to match the Tigers’ thunder.
 
Miguel Cabrera belted two home runs and in the seventh inning clubbed his 500th career double. He then came around to score the go-ahead run on a single by Victor Martinez.
 
Entering the game, the Tigers were among the top teams in the American League in batting average (.265), runs per game (4.60), homers (56) and OPS (.758).
 
Meanwhile, the Phillies couldn’t get much lower in offense. They ranked near the bottom in the National League in batting average (.233), runs per game (3.23), homers (32) and OPS (.651).
 
“You look up and down their lineup on the scoreboard and it looks like everybody is hitting .300 with eight or 10 home runs,” Mackanin said. “It can be daunting.
 
“The middle of their lineup hurt us with the long ball. We knew they were swinging the bats well lately. They weren’t earlier. Now they’re swinging well and we couldn’t contain them.
 
“We got 12 hits of our own. But they’ve got a lot of power on that team.”
 
The Phillies are at the start of a challenging trip — three in Detroit followed by three against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. The Cubs have the majors’ best record. The Phillies, a surprising four games over .500, will be tested on this trip.
 
They did not pass the first test. Velasquez had trouble commanding his pitches and for the second straight start ran a high pitch count. He took a 3-1 lead to the mound in the fifth, but it evaporated quickly under the weight of homers by J.D. Martinez and Cabrera. Reliever Colton Murray also gave up a homer in the inning. He also allowed the go-ahead run in the seventh as Mackanin held David Hernandez back in case the Phils got a lead.
 
“Velasquez didn’t have any command of his secondary pitches, pretty basic stuff, and he left some fastballs over the plate,” Mackanin said. “You have to throw quality pitches to a lineup like this. If you make mistakes against them, they don’t miss. If you don’t command your secondary pitches against good hitters, they become like sharks and smell blood and hit the fastball.”
 
Velasquez said he should have gotten the loss, not Murray.
 
“You can’t shy away from hitters and I did that,” he said. “You’ve got to pitch inside. I pitched around them.
 
“I’ve got to do something about this. I’ve got to challenge hitters.”

With game on the line, Pete Mackanin benches his best player for lack of hustle

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With game on the line, Pete Mackanin benches his best player for lack of hustle

BOX SCORE

DETROIT — Phillies manager Pete Mackanin made a strong statement Monday night when he benched his best hitter in the seventh inning of a tie game.
 
With Odubel Herrera on the bench for the final innings, the Phillies went on to lose, 5-4, to the Detroit Tigers (see Instant Replay).
 
Mackanin did not regret his decision to yank Herrera and his team-high .335 batting average from the game.
 
“It’s important to me to set that tone,” Mackanin said. “When you don’t hustle, I’ve got a problem.”
 
Herrera had singled in each of his first three at-bats. He drove in the Phillies’ first run with a hit in the third inning.
 
But when he bounced back to the pitcher and took his time getting to first base in the seventh, Mackanin abruptly pulled him. Even Ryan Howard said something to Herrera in the dugout.
 
“He didn’t run,” Mackanin said. “One of the ingredients to our success to this point is the fact that guys play with energy and they play hard. We’re training them to play the game the right way and not running is not the right way.”
 
Herrera said he did not run because he was “frustrated” and “angry” with the at-bat. He said Tigers reliever Justin Wilson “got in his head” by varying his delivery times. Herrera even mentioned that Wilson quick-pitched him.
 
“The pitcher was playing with me,” he said. “I have to learn from it. I didn’t think [Mackanin] was going to bench me, but I understand why. I can’t argue. I was frustrated. I respect the decision. I know that I did wrong. I have to learn from my mistakes and it won’t happen again.”
 
Mackanin is a huge fan of Herrera. He has predicted the 24-year-old Venezuelan will someday win a batting title.
 
But Mackanin indicated after Monday night’s game that Herrera might be developing some bad habits — at least when it comes to the hustle that Mackanin values. The front office values it, too. Playing with “energy” is something the front office frequently says it wants to see, and the ability to get his players to play with energy is one of Mackanin’s strengths.
 
“I’ve seen it in the past and it’s been trickling in,” Mackanin said of Herrera’s occasional lapses in hustle. “I didn’t like it and I made the decision. He knows he should have run.”
 
Jonathan Papelbon put a chokehold on Bryce Harper’s neck last year in Washington for a similar transgression.
 
In the Phillies’ dugout Monday night, Herrera got a little talking-to from Howard.
 
“That was great to see,” Mackanin said.
 
Said Howard: “Doobie's got a lot of promise. He’s going to be around this game for a long time. He makes things happen. He brings energy to the game.
 
“The pitcher lost the grip and had to double-pump. If you’re running hard, maybe he makes a bad throw and you’re on base.
 
“I just told him, ‘You’ve got to keep going. I know it’s not the at-bat you wanted, but look at me, bro, I’m still out there grinding.’ If he’s running there, the pitcher could throw it away and he could be on second and we could squeeze a run out.”
 
Howard went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts to fall to .156 on the season. He is 4 for 48 (.083) in the month of May (see story).
 
Mackanin said his message to Herrera was complete. Herrera will be back in the starting lineup on Tuesday night.

NBA Playoffs: Raptors hold off Cavs to even East Finals 2-2

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NBA Playoffs: Raptors hold off Cavs to even East Finals 2-2

BOX SCORE

TORONTO -- A series that once looked lopsided is now even.

Kyle Lowry scored 35 points, including a driving layup in the final minute, and DeMar DeRozan had 32 as the Toronto Raptors evened the Eastern Conference Finals by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-99 in Game 4 on Monday night.

DeMarre Carroll scored 11 points and Bismack Biyombo had 14 rebounds as Toronto improved to 8-2 at home this postseason and got back on level terms after big losses in Games 1 and 2.

"We've been counted out, and we like that challenge," DeRozan said.

The next challenge for Toronto? Game 5 on Wednesday night in Cleveland, where the Raptors are 0-3 this season, losing by a combined 72 points.

"We have to continue to make sure that when they punch, we punch back," Lowry said. "And if they punch three times, we punch four times."

The Raptors are 2-6 on the road in the playoffs.

After a 10-0 start to these playoffs, the Cavaliers are counting on home court advantage to help them reach their second straight Finals.

"Going back home we have to play a lot better and I think we will," LeBron James said.

Cleveland lost consecutive playoff games to an Eastern Conference opponent for the first time since dropping the final three games of the conference semifinals to Boston in 2010.

"We had a few defensive breakdowns that you can't have down the stretch of a game, especially in the playoffs," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. "They executed every time we made a mistake."

James scored 29 points and Kyrie Irving had 26 for the Cavaliers, who trailed by as many as 18 points. Channing Frye scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter.

Lowry scored nine in the fourth and DeRozan had 12, connecting on five of six shots.

"It's a cakewalk for me when (Lowry) gets going," DeRozan said. "It opens up everything."

The Raptors led 78-69 to begin the fourth but Frye made consecutive 3-pointers as Cleveland opened the final quarter with an 8-0 run, cutting it to 78-77. The Cavaliers made their first 11 shots of the fourth quarter.

"It wasn't enough because we got off to a horrible first half once again in this building and you're playing catch up the whole game," James said.

Frye's errant 3-point attempt at 4:12 was Cleveland's first miss of the fourth. DeRozan made two free throws at the other end and, after another miss by Frye, Carroll made one of two to put Toronto up 99-96 with 3:23 to go.

A long 3 by Irving made it 101-99 with 2:00 left, but DeRozan answered with a driving bank shot at 1:33. Toronto got the ball back after Biyombo blocked J.R. Smith's 3, and Biyombo kept the offensive possession alive by rebounding Lowry's missed shot. After a timeout, Lowry let the shot clock wind down before driving for the decisive layup, making it 105-99 with 22 seconds to go.

Toronto jumped out to a 13-5 lead as Cleveland missed eight of its first 10 shots. Following a timeout, the Cavs made five of their next six to cut the deficit but the Raptors led 27-24 after one quarter.

Lowry scored 15 points in the second, making three of Toronto's four 3-pointers, as the Raptors opened a 57-41 halftime lead despite not shooting a single free throw in the first two quarters. It marked the first time a team led by 15 or more at halftime in a conference finals game without shooting a free throw since Game 2 of the 2001 East Finals between Milwaukee and Philadelphia. The Bucks made two of six from the line, the fewest ever made in an NBA playoff game at the time.

DeRozan shot Toronto's first free throws at 6:13 of the third after being tackled by Smith on a drive. The foul drought came after Raptors coach Dwane Casey was fined $25,000 for criticizing the officials following Toronto's Game 3 win.

Fans cheered derisively when Matthew Dellavedova was called for Cleveland's first foul of the game at 8:56 of the second.

Not much to Love
After shooting 3 for 19 in Game 3, Kevin Love shot 4 for 14 in Game 4. He finished with 10 points. Love did not play in the fourth after appearing to injure his left ankle when he stepped on referee David Guthrie late in the third. "It didn't feel too great," Love said. Lue said Love's health was "no concern."

Fair and foul
Cleveland didn't shoot any free throws in the third quarter and had just two in the fourth. Twelve of Toronto's 19 free throws came in the fourth.

Tip-ins
Cavaliers: James and Irving each had six assists. ... Cleveland shot 3 for 23 from 3-point range in the first half. The finished 13 for 41. . Cleveland's Dahntay Jones served a one-game suspension for hitting Biyombo in the groin in Game 3.

Raptors: Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas was active but did not play. He's been out since spraining his right ankle in the third quarter of Game 3 against Miami on May 7. ... Toronto is 10-1 in the playoffs when holding opponents below 100 points.