NBA / Sep 22, 2010 / 12:00 pm

Hedo Turkoglu will rediscover his game in Phoenix

Hedo Turkoglu (photo. National Post)

After cashing in on Orlando’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals with a sizable free-agent deal in Toronto , it didn’t take Hedo Turkoglu very long to earn his second benching in nearly four years.

Having missed a game due to a supposed “stomach virus,” Turkoglu was spotted by T-Dot fans at a downtown nightclub in the Yorkville district of the city. After several fans reported the incident to the Raptors management, Turkoglu was disciplined, and later requested a trade at the end of an overall bad season with his new team. He got his wish this summer, being dealt to the Phoenix Suns in a trade that sent Leandro Barbosa to the Raptors.

Of course, with every trade comes questions about how the players will fit in with their new teams — especially Hedo, with his perimeter-oriented game — but there’s no doubt that he will be able to help Phoenix rise out West.

The Suns nearly landed Hedo when he was a free agent in 2004, coveting his size, scoring ability and passing (he averaged 4.1 assists per game last season). If Phoenix has anything to worry about now, it would be that Hedo’s stats have taken a dip in every category since the ’07-08 season. On a more positive note, Turkoglu is a versatile player who is capable of playing two-guard, small forward or power forward. At 6-foot-10, Hedo has the advantage over smaller guards on the perimeter to use his fadeaway and turnaround jump shots. Not having played off the ball much during his career will allow Hedo to create plays for others as well if he’s double-teamed.

When you have Steve Nash on your team — arguably the best point guard at making plays towards the end of a game — scorers are going to get the ball where they like it. One of Hedo’s preferred spots is beyond the three-point arc, and the Suns led the NBA in three-point shooting last season, hitting 41.2 percent from deep. Hedo is a career 38.3-percent three-point shooter.

The Suns offense runs through the pick-and-roll, and Turkoglu was the primary ball-handler in those situations last season with Toronto, which is another bonus to add in this trade. (Hedo also handled a lot of that responsibility in Orlando.) While he isn’t going to bang with many centers and power forwards out West, he does create some mismatches due to his ability to get off his own shot along with a quick first step. Hedo is one of the best spot-up shooters in the League, and playing with Robin Lopez will only make him more effective.

I love Turkoglu’s game, and playing with Phoenix is only going to make him more likable. Suns head coach Alvin Gentry believes Hedo will return to his championship level according to an Associated Press interview:

“I think you’ll see a player who will more than likely come back and play at a level he did at Orlando, right on the brink of winning a championship,” Gentry said.

Although the season hasn’t started yet, it’s certainly going to be interesting to watch Phoenix use Hedo’s versatility to their advantage and provide another playmaker on offense to take some of the eyes off of two-time MVP Steve Nash.

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  • Steve Nash

    i think Toni Kukoc could be a nice addition

  • Crew Dizzy

    I think Hedo will put up nice numbers in PHX, who doesn’t in that wide open system? But I doubt they will have the success they had last year this year, with the loss of STATS and all.

  • JAY

    Hedo wears satin panties under his strap.

    I don’t think he’ll mesh well with Nash. He complained last year about playing on the wing and not handling the ball enough. That’s exactly what he’ll be asked to do when on the court with Nash. He actually said, “Playing on the wing is not my game.” Good luck with Nash, panty-man.

    I believe Gentry will have Turkoglu run the offence when Nash is taking a breather and that’s when he’ll be most productive.

  • control

    I’m a TO fan, so I might be a lil’ biased, seeing this guy get paid big bucks then come into the season out of shape, and playing like absolute garbage…fuck him.

    I think he’s going to have another bad season w/ the Suns. He’s a guy who needs to be a playmaker, who needs to have the ball in his hands and make shit happen. That is why this guy is so valuable, he can do that from the PF position, which is extremely rare. With the best playmaker in the NBA on his team though, that completely negates his best asset. Nash vs Hedo is no discussion at all, you want Nash to have the ball in his hands making plays. That reduces Hedo to a spot up shooter, which he isn’t all that great at.

  • JA

    “a quick first step. Hedo is one of the best spot-up shooters in the League, and playing with Robin Lopez will only make him more effective.”

    1. nothing about Hedo is quick.
    2. hedo has averaged 41% shooting the past 2 years and 42.7% on his career … not exactly a great shooter
    3. you seem to be implying Robin Lopez will make hedo a better/more effective shooter, although I’m not sure how this will be. Hedo has had Bosh and Dwight before him commanding double teams his past few years, so I don’t see what Lopez can do more than those two could.

  • JAY

    @ JA: “nothing about Hedo is quick.”

    Yes there is. His answers are quick.


  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso
  • JA
  • 100k

    Nash is gonna play off ball


    Hedo gets way too much hate, i think hell do fine this year, Nash can make ANYONE better and Hedo has all the tools to fit in the system.

  • K Dizzle

    Should be interesting when Phoenix goes to T-Dot this season. Steve Nash will get the standing o while Hedo gets it like Vince, maybe worse. Then he’ll proceed to play the game of his life as all former Raptors do against Toronto….before reverting back to the scrub he was for 75 games last season.
    Yeah, “it’s Toronto’s fault I played like a slug last season”

  • Joe’s Momma

    He might put up better #’s, but there is an underlying issue with Turk, he got lazy after he got paid. Lots of players go through it. Partied harder at the clubs than he worked on the court.

    If he plays the 4, everyone in PHX will say Amare was Rodman-lite in rebounding compared to Turk. Everyone who bashed Stoudemire for not rebounding will see how ill-conceived their hate was.

    PHX is loaded with wings and pseudo-4 men. They had trouble rebounding last year, it will only get worse with the guys they have now. Frye, Warrick, Turk will all see mins at the 4, none are good rebounders. Lopez with a bad back will have to do his best Dwight Howard impersonation in the glass every night.

    With the coaching and Nash in PHX, they will be decent, but I don’t expect them to be considered a true contender.

  • JBaller

    #10 got it right

  • http://www.dimemag.com heino skovgaard, denmark

    i won a prize from dimemag a looong time ago,but where is it and when will i get it???

  • silky

    second control

    he aint a good spot up shooter. sure he needs the ball in his hands but what good came of that last year? i like dragic with the ball running the second team over him all day. he cant play the pick part of the P&R. he will be left as the 2nd swing rotation guy; shooting open 3’s and the occasional pump and go to the cup. he aint gonna be out on the break cuz he is lazy. he aint rebounding or playing d. it aint the national team so he aint bringing any emotion

    disagree with this article

  • downtown_brownclown

    warrick will flourish in phoenix system, he ain’t a complete package… but if it’s pick & roll… dude can finish…
    as for the main topic, turk would flourish if he accepts his role of scorer… not as a playmaker, from time to time, he could. but not as a primary, everybody knows that nash runs the system, and as the ’10 playoffs showed, dragic is next in line… :) turk would get his 3’s… he’ll be able to show his offensive prowess when he gets to phoenix… i think everbody does. :P

  • the cynic

    Hedo was lazy before he got paid, its the reason orlando only offered him 7 mil. a year and opted for the 13 mil. they paid Carter. Hedo has always relied on his talent, never his work ethic

  • the cynic

    Childress will be the second best player on this team

  • goattree

    A couple people have already said it, but the nightclub incident in TO was more or less the icing on the cake that is the Hedo Hate in Toronto. It started when he showed up to camp outta shape and injured, sat out the entire camp (it was ok, cuz CB4 was doing it too), then expected to be some superstar that he was in the Finals the year before with Orlando. Life doesn’t work like that tho. So, he clashed with the team, jacked ill advised shot after shot, and fell out of favour of the fans (especially knowing what he was getting paid).

    I’m happy to see him go.

    Will Steve Nash make him a better player? Of course. And when you combine that with his new dedication to offseason training, and what he did for his country on home soil this summer? He could be great….hopefully they have Pizza Pizza down in Arizona.

    Who do you think could eat a large Pepperoni pizza quicker? Hedont Turkoglu or Boris Diaw?

  • Stunnaboy09

    Hedo is quick for PFs, that is what he meant.

    Hedo is a funny one, on the right system and team? He could be an All-Star. A 6’10 Forward with a sweet 3 point stroke, great handles and is as clutch as they come. He’s like LO in that he has all the skills but just not the heart.

    He should have gone to a team like the Pistons, (Have NO play makers cept Bynum)or the Grizzlies (Move OJ and Gay to the 1 and 2)

    I don’t see him flourishing in PHX unless

    a) Nash gets hurt or plays off the ball more


    b) Lopez or Warrick become Amare’ light.

  • RC

    Hedo is not a pf he is a 6’10 sf, there is no power in hedo’s game period.

    I think it was Toronto’s mistake to have signed this lazy ass. They should have known better.

    I am a suns fan but I am from Toronto. I’m not sure how this guy would fit in. But right now the Suns are in a tough situation without STAT(my favorite player btw).

    Hedo = Garbage

  • Seven Duece

    I lived in Orlando when he played there and his game is absolutely infuriating. Three point shots with 14 seconds left (or before Dwight has even touched the ball), paltry rebounding, over dribbling galore and some of THE worst defense ever. Really, some of the worst defense ever. He can’t stop a car with an emergency brake. When he goes extended time without the ball, he sulks and trots back on D. How he’s going to flourish in PHX is a mystery to me. If they even sniff the playoffs, Steve Nash gets MVP.

  • JAY

    1/2 of the into the season, Hedo will start to sulk.

    Reason… Jared Dudley, who plays with a lot more effort and rebound the ball and shoots just as well as Hedo, will outplay him and be awarded with more minutes.

    Dude thinks he’s entitled to shit when his teammates around him simply work harder. Last year it was Sonny Weems. This year it will be Dudley. Watch it play out.

    @stunnyboy… good post. I agree 100%

  • jzsmoove

    hedo is on the long road down, he got his last big contract whoop de doo dah day good for him. this lazy fuckface does not care for basketball though. its sad he is in this just and only just for the money. he just happened to play basketball. there is no passion in him. dont get me started about Toronto. he was alright before that, but things damn got fugly in the T-Dot.

  • Jon