Image courtesy Cuzoogle.

Next up we take a look at Hedo Turkoglu, the Raptors’ prized summer signing.

Vitals:

Height: 6′ 10″.

Weight: 220 lbs.

Age: 30, born March 19, 1979.

Position: Small/Point Forward

College: 10th year, Gaziosmanpasa, Turkey.

ESPN :: BR :: HoopData

Strengths:

  • Penetrating using high screens to score or find cutters. Excellent recognition of who’s open, strength to make pin-point cross-court passes against shading defenses.
  • Size advantage at the SF, ability to get off shots against most starting SFs. Good body-control on drives to the lane, uses glass and floaters well. Can finish high off the glass against shot-blockers.
  • Exploits mismatches well; punishes small defenders after switching. Good mid-range game, uses pull-up effectively against usually smaller defenders.
  • Not scared to take a clutch shot, reads defenses well in tense situations but still needs a proper framework to work under.
  • Excellent passer with the live dribble, can make bounce passes to bigs, pick out open shooters on the weak side and can play point-forward for an extended stretch.
  • 40% three-point shooter with great range, can knock it down with consistency when trailing a play or spotting up.
  • 80% FT shooter but his FTAs have decreased from 5.1 to 3.7 this year.
  • High basketball IQ, fundamentally sound and patient.

Weaknesses:

  • Questionable shot-selection, tends to take too many contested long-range jumpers. His skill alone should result in him shooting better than just 42.8% for his career. Lacks explosiveness.
  • Not in great shape and not a good one-on-one defender. More evidence of this in Toronto than in Orlando where the team defense was strong.
  • Drifts in and out of games, goes quarters at a time without being heard from; assertiveness is an issue.
  • Terrible rotational defender. Bad on perimeter rotations, brutal on interior rotations. Cannot jump to save his life.
  • Perimeter oriented game and lack of bulk makes him a suspect rebounder and not very good at boxing out.
  • Slow for his position, relies too much on help defense which doesn’t work well for an already handicapped defensive team like the Raptors.
  • If not harnessed, will go one-on-one in fourth quarter situations with bad results as defense knows what to expect.

Inconsistencies and improvements:

  • Not always assertive, for a player counted on for so much (see contract), he has been too anonymous.
  • Needs to stay within the confines of the team offense, going rogue isn’t an option like it was in Orlando where Dwight Howard could freely rebound misses.
  • Needs to increase intensity and not appear so lackadaisical. The Raptors are expecting some leadership from him and he needs to play with more emotion and less nonchalance.

Value to the team:

Potentially a valuable player if the offense is run with a plan. His skill has too often been wasted this season as his touches, shot attempts and usage rate have all decreased to their lowest levels since 2003-04. There is redundancy at the playmaker position as Jose Calderon possesses/is counted on to provide a lot of the same things Turkoglu has proven to bring. In a team with a lot of offense, no offensive one-dimensional player is invaluable.

Contract:

Gross overpayment at $53M/5yrs. It’s like buying an Accord for the price of a Lexus. Back-loaded contract could wreak havoc if the salary cap declines as expected and his play worsens with age. He’ll be 35 in the final year of his contract and if the defense gets progressively worse, he could be a staple at the end of the bench. His offensive game isn’t quickness dependent so it is possible that he maintains productivity, but very few players perform at a high level at that age, Steve Nash and Ray Allen are good examples. The difference is that Nash and Allen have maintained conditioning and fitness levels, Turkoglu has not. The length of the deal is a major issue and unless Turkoglu turns around and comes close to his 2008-09 form, the signing gets a C. It should be mentioned that Colangelo had to top Portland’s offer to acquire Turkoglu.