Hedo Turkoglu Must Go: Why Orlando Should Move On
I don't have a lot of time here. I have had this feeling for quite some time and I thought it best to share it. The Orlando Magic will never win an NBA title with Hedo Turkoglu. Never. It feels so good to get that off my chest! Now let me explain why:
What the Orlando Magic did this postseason is nothing less than spectacular. Otis Smith and the Magic organization have done a wonderful job at selecting players to complement Dwight Howard’s raw talent.
With that being said I must remove my hometown bias and look critically at a team that had a great playoff run, but didn't have enough to take advantage of opportunities and win ballgames on the biggest stage.
Exhibit A: NBA History
While the sun has more than likely set on Steve Nash out west, I am sure we can all remember a time when the fun-'n-gun offense made the Phoenix Suns one of the elite teams in the NBA. The combination of Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, and Joe Johnson made for great offensive basketball.
In the '04-'05 postseason the Suns averaged close to 50 percent (.493 from the field) and the same from behind the three-point line (.436). But they, just like the Magic, were unable to win the ultimate prize. Another team to consider is Magic Johnson's Showtime Lakers.
Relax, I know what you’re thinking. They won five titles, but they had the greatest scorer of all time controlling the paint. I think if you take Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out of that line up then Magic Johnson would be in the same category as his buddies Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Karl Malone. No rings.
What does all this mean? NBA teams need to dominate big men to be successful in the postseason; and where one is good, two is better. If you don't believe that then ask David Robinson how happy he was to see San Antonio draft Tim Duncan in 1997.
Exhibit B: Defense Helps
This is not a Hedo-bashing article. I think he is a great player and will be remembered for winning some big games for the Magic, but with that being said the guy plays some of the worst defense I think I have ever seen.
His effort on the court is completely one-sided; at times it seems as though he is playing defense merely to give players open lanes and good looks, just so he can score again before the game is over. Trevor Ariza really should send Hedo a postcard from Disney World.
"Hey Hedo. Thanks for letting me get hot while the Black Mamba was waiting in the wings. Have a great offseason. Word on the street is L.A.is considering keeping me over Lamar Odom. Can you believe that? All because of you man. Thanks again. T. Ariza"
There has to be a commitment to defense in order to be successful in the NBA. Hedo Turkoglu's tremendous offensive upside comes with an asterisk (you had better hope he makes the shot, because if not, you might be in trouble).
Superman needs Super friends
With all that being said, it is in the Magic's best interest to let Hedo go. Loosely pursue him and he will undoubtedly go for the money from another team eager to make it out of the first round. There are plenty of teams that can use his scoring abilities and once he is off the books, the Magic will be flying under the salary cap radar for the '09-'10 season.
So what should Orlando do? Well, adding another big man with versatile skills and commitment to winning would be the best option for Otis Smith.
Everyone is dying to see what LeBron James is going to do after next season, but the player the Magic need to position themselves to snatch up is Chris Bosh. Adding Chris Bosh to the Magic's lineup would cement them as an eastern conference powerhouse for years to come.
Mr. Bosh's presence alone would allow Dwight Howard a chance to get in some much needed work on his post game. Without having to worry about rebounding his bricks (10 RPG in 2009), he can score on the block and has a sweet jumper, and both he and Dwight have already played together for the Olympic squad.
I am not a moneyman. I don't know how the Magic would be able to pull this deal off. But, given the fact that a brand new sports facility will be opening the same season Chris Bosh becomes available, there should be enough motivation to get this deal done.
Not to mention the fact that inserting another big man in their lineup would allow Stan Van Gundy the chance to slide Rashard Lewis to his natural small forward position, where he is still a matchup nightmare for most teams, and use Pietrus and Lee at the two-spot interchangeably.
This move would give the Magic more size, and the three-point shot really wouldn't suffer because you still have plenty of shooters on the floor, and now you have another player to command double teams.
With this deal, the Magic would be more than another offensively explosive team that will run out of gas at the wrong time; they will be a balanced team with history on their side.
The Orlando Magic waited 14 years to win one more playoff game. Dealing for Bosh would surely increase that number in the future. Let Hedo Turkoglu go, Orlando needs two towers for the Magic Kingdom.
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