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Turkoglu’s disaster of a playoffs traced back to Phoenix

Apr 28, 2011, 1:41 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three Getty Images

Back in 2009, Hedo Turkoglu was in his element, aggressively running the pick-and-roll. Dwight Howard was still the center of the Magic’s offensive solar system, Turkoglu was setting the table and knocking down threes. He pushed the Magic to the finals.

This season, he is pushing them out in the first round. Orlando has to win in Atlanta Thursday night or go home early and Turkoglu is a key reason their backs are against the wall.

This series Turkoglu is 32.2 percent overall and 16.7 percent from three. He is scoring 7.8 points per game (half of what he did in 2009) and basically is shooting less, making far less and dishing out fewer assists than he did two seasons ago.

What happened?

Over at, Nate Drexler looked into everything and found the answer was in Phoenix.

Turk was an impact player for the Magic before the sign-and-trade to Toronto. He ran the point, was responsible for seeing the floor, and much of the Dwight-centered offense ended up running through Turkoglu at the top of the key….

(When Turkoglu was traded to Phoenix) Alvin Gentry already had his floor general in Steve Nash, so Turk’s role shifted. At arrival, Gentry wanted to use Turk as a secondary floor general, to relieve some the pressure that Nash dealt with. That never happened, though, and very quickly Turk’s role became something entirely different.

Turk gets over 34 percent of his offense out of the pick and roll in Orlando. While in Phoenix, only about 11 percent of his game was through this design. Instead, he got over 32 percent of his points while spotting up, and over 17 percent in the isolation….

Since returning, adjectives like “indecisive,” “passive,” and “useless” have been thrown around to describe Turk. Maybe that should not be surprising given the nature of his role in Phoenix. So perhaps these habits that developed at some unknown time matured in Phoenix, and now Orlando has the corpse to deal with.

The Magic staved off elimination at home in Game 5, but Thursday night in Atlanta is the big test. And if the old Turkoglu doesn’t show up it may be an impossible one to pass.

  1. jjstrokes - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Once again, Mr. Helin proves that he knows absolutely nothing about Magic basketball… Your whole 2009 back-story is way off. The fact is that a good deal of Orlando fans were fed up with Turk throughout the whole 08-09′ season & into the playoffs (I wasn’t one of them). Coming off a near All-Star season (just ask LeBron), Turk had near-career lows in FG% & 3P% in 08′-09′. He also averaged a devastating 2.7 turnovers a game in ’09; I wouldn’t necessarily call that being in your element. Turk, as always, took over late in games during the playoffs but many Orlando fans interpreted his late starts as laziness/inconsistency. The Lakers handling us in only 5 pushed the remaining fans still on the fence to the “Trade Hedo Now” sect (the cult is growing again). So, that’s the real story…

    Why did you skip Toronto as a possible source? He didn’t get to do much w/ the ball for the Raptors between Calderon, Jack, & Bargnani. His numbers were just about as bad there. Or maybe it goes back to being unfair ousted by a city that he enjoyed very much. There are many other conspiracies we could start, but it’s probably fairly clear that he’s struggled w/ his confidence for a while now (bf PHX).

    As for this series…
    I will admit that he hurt Orlando pretty bad in game 3 (shot was awful) & he just killed us in game 4…. But he has been somewhat effective in all the other games even w/o scoring. I know that doesn’t sound right, but watch the tape. Yes, we definitely need more scoring from Turk to make a run. He knows that; we’ll see what happens tonight. GO MAGIC!

  2. thestudiokida - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Hedo is shooting 27% this playoffs, not 32%.

    • rapmusicmademedoit - Apr 28, 2011 at 7:15 PM

      why didn’t you give him some of that magic potion you have in Pheonix

      • thestudiokida - Apr 28, 2011 at 8:09 PM

        Hedo never checked in to the Phoenix Fountain of Youth Clinic, else he might have a career revival akin to Nash & Grant Hill’s. Too late for him now, he’ll just get bounced around the league as teams look to shed his awful contract.

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