ESPN’s Zach Lowe stopped by the Rose City earlier in the week to watch the Portland Trail Blazers dismantle Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The next day he sat down with Blazers point forward Evan Turner for a podcast, talking about the high-riding Blazers, while also touching on the bench leader’s eight-year journey through the NBA.
Before discussing the highs and lows of his stints in Philadelphia, Indiana and Boston, Turner talks about the way the team picks itself up after the devastating first-round sweep to the New Orleans Pelicans last season.
At the 3.36-minute mark, Turner talks about being able to block out the “outside noise”.
“I think sometimes you really have to stick with what you got and believe in what you have.”
“We follow our leader (Damian Lillard), even then we still thought we could still come back - discussing the team’s mind frame at halftime during Game 3.”
When asked if he thought coach Terry Stotts was going to be fired after the series, he replied “I didn’t know what was going to happen ... nothing shocks me”.
At the 8-minute and 13-minute marks they discuss the positive culture that Lillard has created.
“He’s real, he’s genuine, he actually cares ... but when i first got here, just how he was, he really set the tone for everything.”
“If he thinks it’s team mandated, he’s the first one to do it, no complaints, no lying, no nothing.”
“He holds himself to a standard he holds himself to a level of respect... if you don’t fall in you stick out like a sore thumb.”
In response to Lillard’s reputation of not allowing teammates to whisper negatively about each other, Turner said “if there’s an issue we say it out loud”.
Interestingly, at the 17.30-minute mark, Turner talks about a heckler he experienced during the 2017-18 season who he has since made peace with.
“He actually wears my jersey now ... I get mad for like a split second ... we actually talk now, I felt bad for what I said to him because at the end of the day, I said some stuff to him that shouldn’t be said in front of people.”
Turner also discusses how he called ex-teammate and current Warrior Andre Iguodala as soon as Portland offered him his current 4-year $70 million contract.
He sets the record straight on his confrontation with Lance Stephenson while playing in Indiana, being mentored by Lou Williams in Philadelphia and his close relationship with Isaiah Thomas while playing with the Celtics.