Hedo Turkoglu—You're an IDIOT
I liked Hedo Turkoglu. I really did.
It's been awhile since I've written a "real" column. Thanks to Mr. Turkoglu, I decided to write one again.
At his expense.
You see, Turkoglu had a great NBA season in 2008-09. He averaged nearly 17 points and five assists per game, while being paid significantly less than Orlando's then-new (and overpaid, $18 million per year) acquisition Rashard Lewis. Give credit where credit is due. Turkoglu was a big part of the Magic's improbable run to the NBA Finals.
However, the Los Angeles Lakers stomped Orlando in the NBA Finals in five games.
Once the Finals concluded, Turkoglu was a free agent. The Magic decided to acquire former Toronto Raptor and New Jersey Net Vince Carter in Turkoglu's place, who while possessing all the talent in the world, has been accused of blatantly mailing it in. And no, not "mailing it in" like Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone. Carter had and still has a bad reputation for not attacking the basket, milking injuries, and just not having the competitive spirit to match his incredible, God-given talent.
So when the Magic fell to the Boston Celtics in this postseason's Eastern Conference Finals in six games (the Celtics were up 3-0 at one point), it was very easy for uninformed critics to blast the organization for not retaining Turkoglu's services. That is until, they looked at his stats for 2009-10 with his new team, the Toronto Raptors.
You know, that team that pays him $9 million a year to average 11 points, (barely) five rebounds, and four assists per game.
An image that may haunt Raptors fans for years.
Turkoglu proved this past season that he was not worth what he wanted to be paid by Orlando. Not by a long shot. Sure, he had incredible chemistry with the Stan Van Gundy-led squad, but the Turkish star is fool's gold, much like Andre Iguodala or Luol Deng aka guys that are good, but "fake" All-Stars. In other words, they are very good players at certain times, but not guys you can build your team around or expect to draw fans with.
Turkoglu was never that guy as a sixth man in Sacramento. He was certainly starter material in Orlando, but having a great defensive presence like Dwight Howard, in conjunction with an All-Star point guard in Jameer Nelson only helped mask his deficiencies.
Fast forward to the end of the regular season in 2009-10. Turkoglu comes off a disappointing season in which his new team, the Raptors, missed the playoffs in the
LeastEastern Conference, despite boasting their new acquisition and potential max player Chris Bosh. Now the Raptors are not exactly the Lakers, but with the talent level they had, them not making the playoffs is head scratching.
Perhaps, the team didn't have any real chemistry, especially when their big, new addition Turkoglu channeled his inner-Vince Carter and just didn't care after he got paid. At least Vince had the decency to put up gaudy, misleading stats during his time with Toronto. It's not all Turkoglu's fault that Toronto didn't make the playoffs, but he did have a huge hand in that. Too bad Turkoglu simply didn't care.
Don't believe me?
Hedo Turkoglu should write a book called "How to Alienate Yourself from a New Team" (foreword by Terrell Owens). In that book, you'll learn how to kill your new team's chemistry by:
-Claiming to have stomach ailments and sit out games, only to party at clubs the same night.
-Getting paid what you're (allegedly) worth and having your worst season in years.
-Not leading your team to the playoffs, despite being a savvy veteran.