The Celtics‘ Evan Turner is finally getting past the burden of being the second player taken in the 2010 draft, and it’s showing in his performance, writes Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly. The sixth-year swingman, who is rumored to be an offseason target for the Knicks, has become a valuable contributor in Boston, averaging 10 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 70 games this season. Turner never became the star the Sixers hoped he would be when they selected him, and he seemed out of place during a brief stay in Indiana in 2014. However, Turner has put together two solid seasons with the Celtics and seems well-positioned headed into free agency. “I just feel like the freedom to come in and play in a system that doesn’t demand and expect, ‘Hey, you’re the second player chosen.’ He took some hits in that early path,” said Sixers coach Brett Brown. “I see, like in a lot of young guys, they find their stride at a little bit later date. I’m proud of him.”
There’s more news out of Boston and the rest of the division:
- Celtics coach Brad Stevens says Jae Crowder should be back on the court in about two weeks, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. Crowder suffered a high ankle sprain in a March 11th game, and a report last week said he could be sidelined through the first round of the playoffs. But Stevens is more optimistic today, saying Crowder is making progress.
- Sean Kilpatrick‘s 6’4″ size cast him as a tweener and helped him slip through the cracks up until recently, but his scoring versatility makes him a promising addition for the Nets, NetsDaily concludes in a video analysis. Kilpatrick signed a multiyear deal with Brooklyn this weekend following a pair of 10-day contracts.
- Coach Dwane Casey’s tough-minded approach has helped the Raptors become a serious challenger for the Eastern Conference title, according to Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Entering tonight, Toronto was 48-21, just a game behind the Cavaliers for the No. 1 seed. It was widely expected that Masai Ujiri would make a coaching change when he took over as GM in 2013, but he stuck with Casey and later retained free agent point guard Kyle Lowry and the pair have become the emotional leaders of the franchise.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.