'Shot Doctor' Magee working with Sixers' Turner


'Shot Doctor' Magee working with Sixers' Turner

The NBA work stoppage is not keeping the Sixers Evan Turner from putting in the work to improve his rookie field goal percentage of 42 percent, the lowest at any level of his career.

My whole college career and high school career I shot 50 percent, Turner said after his hour-and-a-half shooting session with the soon-to-be inducted Hall of Famer, Herb Magee. This was the first real bad year where I ever shot below 50 percent. I dont know how hard it is to shoot 50 percent in the NBA, but I felt there were a lot of shots I took that I didnt make that could have gone in with little tweaks.

I just want to shoot a great percentage and have confidence from my teammates and my coaches that I can make shots.

There were 35 players this past NBA season that shot 50 percent or better from the floor who attempted at least 500 shots. Magee, who in addition to winning 922 games coaching at the now Philadelphia University the past 44 years, runs shooting clinics for kids and believes he can help Turner achieve his goal.

He is a good shooter, actually a very good shooter, Magee stressed. We go 15 feet, we go off the dribble, we go foul line and he is very effective. His problem is when he steps back to the three-point line his guide hand is in the way, so we have been working on it from the vantage point of shooting the 15-, 16-footer the same way we shoot the 22.9 shot.

He is easy to work with because he is patient, Turner said of Magees approach. I think that is the most important thing when you are teaching somebody who is not good at a certain skill to be patient and he has been very patient with me, shown me a lot of stuff and he has a lot of confidence in his shot, too.

Turner likes Magee and Magee likes his newest pupil.

Everybody had told me what a terrific fellow he was, Magee said. He may be an even better guy than people told me. This does not work unless he is into it and if he wasnt into it we wouldnt have made it past the first day, but he is into it. Hes a smart guy, he asks good questions and he wants to get better. It is going to be successful.

Turner tested his teachers patience a little bit by showing up late Tuesday morning. Fortunately for the 22-year-old, his excuse was acceptable this time.

I dont particularly care for that, the 70-year-old Magee said of Turners tardiness. But he said he went over to Penn Charter, which is across the street, and he said to the guy Where is Herb Magee and he said, You are on the wrong street. He came over and I said from now on are you going to be on time and he said, I am always on time so that means we are going to hit it off.

I believe he will be fine, Magee continued. I also believe it will be good for him. And I think he will leave knowing exactly how he should practice when he goes to shoot.

Magee has worked with numerous NBA players from the area in the past like Jameer Nelson, who played his college ball at Saint Josephs University, and Malik Rose, who starred at Drexel University. His reputation of successfully changing a players shot is part of the reason Turner chose to work with him. His own head coach is the other reason. Doug Collins was the person who got this ball rolling.

Coach Collins brought it up and then he called my agent, Turner explained. He said I dont know if Evan has met with anybody but I kind of would like him to meet with someone. My agent (David Falk) said I think it would be great to go see Herb because he is a shooting coach, as opposed to going to someone who is a good shooter. He actually knows how to build a form.

Technically speaking the problem is really in his guide hand. We are trying to get him to shoot through the guide hand, rather than use the guide hand to shoot the ball, Magee said. When he shot the ball with one hand, we have a one-handed step back drill and he got all the way back to the three-point line and made every single shot with one hand. So it is clear that his problem is in his other hand.

Identify the problem and work on fixing it. It all sounds so simple. Part of that fixing process is building confidence. Magee thinks one way to build confidence is through repetition. For instance, he instructed the former No. 2 overall pick to shoot 10 shots from five different spots. Coach has the player chart his makes and then the where of his misses. For instance, did Turner miss right, left, short or long.

As it turns out, from mid-range Turner is far more accurate than from behind the arc.

When he did the 15-, 16-footers his percentage was fair like 37-38 out of 50, Magee explained. He said, Coach that is like 74 percent and I said we have to get it up to 90 percent. The other thing is all your shots were dead straight but two.

When he stepped back to the three-point line and shot 50 shots, he had 12-13 balls that were off target, so what we need to do is work on making his ball go straight, Magee emphasized. Thats the key. Larry Bird said years ago he loved Peja Stojakovics shot because if he happens to miss his ball goes straight. So if Larry Bird says it I am going to listen to him.

The advice of two Hall of Famers should soon have Turner living up to his desired playing position of being the Sixers shooting guard and a good one at that.

Turner and Magee plan on working together throughout the lockout, which could lend to this being a long relationship. Currently the stalemate between the NBA owners and Players Association is 19 days old.

In addition to his workout sessions, Turner is confident he can take what the shooting guru gives him and work on his own, which is instructor believes is huge. As far as the formal instruction, Magee believes less can show more results.

I asked him if he had economics in college and have you ever heard of the Law of Diminishing Returns, Magee said. He said, I didnt do so good in that class. So I said here is what it means. If we workout for three, four hours we are not going to get anywhere, so anytime we do this we will go an hour-and-a-half and we will go two, three sessions a week, tops.

Turner seemed genuinely excited about the prospects of seeing results after working with a specialist, something he has never done in the past.

There are tons of little things that you dont even think about, he said. You know how they say the fundamentals have been taken out of the game, the little things like holding your follow through and how to hold the ball right. Stuff like that is great.

No longer a rookie, Turner seems to have arrived at an easy feeling. His enthusiasm to learn this summer is not restricted to the hardwood. Like a number of NBA players, he has gone back to school. He needs 40 more credits before graduating from Ohio State University. He is currently enrolled in online classes that will give him eight credits by summers end.

I dont miss school, but I have to get it done, he said. And if the lockout is still on in the fall I am going back to school. Right now I am up late at night working on that.

No one can deny that Turner is making the most of the time the lockout has afforded him.

E-mail Dei Lynam at dlynam@comcastsportsnet.com

Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts


Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

As the Western Conference Finals are taking place in Oakland, the Sixers are looking for new talent of their own in California.

This week, members of the Sixers' front office are attending pre-draft workouts organized through multiple agencies, including BDA Sports Management, CAA Sports, Landmark Sports Agency, Octagon and Wasserman Media Group.

While the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, these workouts are opportunities for them to evaluate players that could be fits for their 24th and 26th selections.

On Thursday, the list of workout participants included projected first-rounders Deyonta Davis (Michigan State) and Cheik Diallo (Kansas), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

The scouting process takes NBA teams coast to coast. Earlier this week, the Sixers reportedly attended a private workout with Excel Sports Management in New York City, in which Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray participated.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own practice facility, bringing in a total of 12 prospects thus far.

As the draft nears, 57 early-entry candidates withdrew their names from the 2016 draft.

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination


NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination


OAKLAND, Calif. -- "We ain't going home! We're not going home!" Stephen Curry screamed at the top of his lungs.

No, his Golden State Warriors are going back to Oklahoma City, after keeping their title reign and the winningest season in NBA history alive for at least one more game.

Curry scored 31 points, raising his arms in the early moments to fire up Golden State's raucous crowd, and the defending champions staved off elimination with a 120-111 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

"We just did what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to win at home," Curry said. "We know what we still have to do going forward. ... We knew if we didn't win we were going home. There's no other motivation you need."

For all the speculation about the current state of Curry's beat-up body -- that troublesome ankle, sore knee or tender elbow -- he did it all.

"I thought he looked like 91 percent," coach Steve Kerr cracked. "He came out and played a really good game. That's all I can tell you. He's going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done."

Led by Curry, the Warriors looked like their old winning selves again.

The MVP made a snazzy layup late and dished out six assists, while Klay Thompson added 27 points as Golden State sent the best the best-of-seven series back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday night. The Warriors trail 3-2 and are trying to become just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

"None of us want to go home," Thompson said. "We're having too much fun out there."

Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Thunder, trying for the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and first championship since moving from Seattle.

The record-setting, 73-win Warriors, coming off their first back-to-back defeats all season, had been blown out in two losses at Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points.

"We have to take that game and travel," Curry said of keeping momentum.

Durant's 3-pointer with 4:34 left got the Thunder within 103-98, then Curry answered with a three-point play.

Curry scored seven points in a 58-second stretch of the second quarter and hit more big shots late, but the Thunder didn't go away easily.

"I liked our will, I liked our fight," Kerr said. "We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games."

Trailing 58-50 at halftime, Oklahoma City came out of the break with a 9-2 run. Westbrook's 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the third put Oklahoma City ahead 68-67 for its first lead of the night. But Golden State led 81-77 going into the fourth and began the final period with an 8-0 burst.

"We didn't shoot a particularly good percentage when we got into the lane and got into the deep paint," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We had our opportunities."

Curry shot 9 for 20 and also had five steals, while Thompson had his 11th 20-point game for the second straight postseason despite shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range. After struggling the past two games, Draymond Green had 11 points and 13 rebounds a day after receiving some encouraging words from Kobe Bryant on the phone.

"We really relied on the entire team tonight, which is when we're at our best," Curry said.

Kerr figured his Warriors might have an edge against the percentages of teams having trailed 3-1 because they're the defending champs and were playing at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable.

He wasn't surprised to see this team respond so well.

"We played with great desperation," Kerr said. "I knew how we would play. This is a championship team."

Kerr called for center Andrew Bogut to do more and the 7-footer delivered with a playoff career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double this postseason and seventh of his career.

Marreese Speights had a pair of three-point plays on follow shots and a 3 in the second quarter to give Golden State a nice lift off the bench. He had nine points in four minutes during that stretch and 14 points overall for his fifth double-digit scoring game this postseason.

"Their bench came in and made shots, made plays for them," Durant said. "We know we're going home. We can't relax."

Golden State made 31 of 34 free throws.

With his 1,248th career postseason point in the third, Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain (1,246) for second place on the franchise's playoff scoring list.

"That's who he is, that's what he's done, and that's what's made him a very good player," Donovan said.

Thunder: The franchise lost in the finals in 1977-78, 1995-96 to Kerr and the Chicago Bulls and in `12. ... Steven Adams sat down with his second foul at the 9:34 mark of the first quarter. The Thunder had seven fouls to Golden State's one after the first. ... Oklahoma City took Game 1 at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost only three times all season. ... The Thunder started the game 3 for 14.

Warriors: Green picked up his fifth technical of the postseason. He also has at least one steal in 16 straight playoff games. ... Golden State missed six of its first seven 3s. ... The Warriors supported Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager with "Sager Strong" T-shirts for sale to support awareness and research for leukemia and lymphoma, both blood cancers.

57 early-entry candidates withdraw from 2016 NBA draft


57 early-entry candidates withdraw from 2016 NBA draft

NBA prospects have been testing the waters and putting out feelers to the gauge interest levels of organizations during the pre-draft process. As a result, 57 early entry-candidates have withdrawn from 2016 draft eligibility. 

Among those are Villanova’s Josh Hart, who worked out for the Sixers and made his decision close to the deadline (see story), and Kris Jenkins. Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame also worked out for the Sixers and will return for his senior year. 

Below is a complete list of entry entry candidates that have withdrawn:

Abdul-Malik Abu, North Carolina State 
BeeJay Anya, North Carolina State 
Ian Baker, New Mexico State 
V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame 
James Blackmon Jr., Indiana 
Antonio Blakeney, LSU 
Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson 
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier 
Amida Brimah, Connecticut 
Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky 
Dillon Brooks, Oregon 
Elijah Brown, New Mexico 
Deonte Burton, Iowa State 
Antonio Campbell, Ohio 
Conor Clifford, Washington State 
Charles Cooke III, Dayton 
Bakari Copeland, Maryland-Eastern Shore 
Moustapha Diagne, Northwest Florida State 
Tyler Dorsey, Oregon 
D’Andre Downey, Stillman College (AL) 
Vince Edwards, Purdue 
Jimmy Hall, Kent State 
Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Hawkinson, Washington State 
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin 
Ike Iroegbu, Washington State 
Justin Jackson, North Carolina 
Kris Jenkins, Villanova 
Que Johnson, Washington State 
Peter Jok, Iowa 
Moses Kingsley, Arkansas
Travion Kirkendoll, Centenary College (LA) 
Dedric Lawson, Memphis 
Marcus Lee, Kentucky 
Makai Mason, Yale 
Jahmal McMurray, South Florida 
Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina 
Dallas Moore, North Florida 
Jalen Moore, Utah State 
Tyrell Nelson, Gardner-Webb 
Malik Newman, Mississippi State 
Marc-Eddy Norelia, Florida Gulf Coast 
Cameron Oliver, Nevada 
Alec Peters, Valparaiso 
QJ Peterson,VMI 
Malik Pope, San Diego State 
Rodney Purvis, Connecticut 
Corey Sanders Jr., Rutgers 
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue 
Rakish Taylor, Anderson University (SC) 
Ethan Telfair, Idaho State 
Trevor Thompson, Ohio State 
Melo Trimble, Maryland 
Maurice Watson Jr., Creighton 
Andrew White III, Nebraska 
Alec Wintering, Portland 
Zeek Woodley, Northwestern State