Hedo Turkoglu: Changing the Point

GeneContributor IAugust 23, 2009

Normally I prefer my point guards to be of the pass-first variety, since they generally improve the performance of the entire team. But, the addition of Hedo Turkoglu to the Toronto Raptors changes everything.

Turkoglu’s ability to play point-forward makes it such that shoot-first point guards appear to be a better fit whenever he’s on the floor. Turkoglu can be the primary playmaker at small forward, while the backcourt can be loaded up with scorers.


A Change of Perspective

If Turkoglu wasn't on the Raptors' roster, I would have viewed Jarrett Jack's addition differently. Overall, I would have seen that move as a positive, but I would have taken Jack’s history of being a better scorer than a passer as a negative.

But, because of Turkoglu's playmaking abilities, Jack's addition looks to have no significant negatives.

I believe that in time Jack could develop into an excellent playmaker.  But, because of Turkoglu’s presence on the Raptor’s roster, Jack doesn’t even have to be a good passer in order to be an excellent fit with his new club.

Similarly, Quincy Douby turned some heads with his scoring prowess in this year's summer league.

Like Jack, Douby's current skill set looks to be a better fit at shooting guard, rather than at point guard. But, Douby's size (6'3", 175 lbs) may create some matchup problems if he plays significant minutes at shooting guard.

Once again, however, Turkoglu's ability to play point-forward makes Douby look to be a good fit, assuming of course that his summer league play translates well into real NBA games.


Having Your Cake and Eating it Too

Of course, if I didn't have to choose between a pass-first and a shoot-first point guard, I would want a player who can do both really well. Enter Jose Calderon, also known as "a coach's dream."

Calderon can both pass and shoot extremely well, so I believe that he’s an even better fit with Turkoglu than strictly shoot-first point guards would be.

Both Calderon and Turkoglu can play the role of primary playmaker or sharp-shooter. So, when they're both on the floor together, the opposition should expect the unexpected.

If an opposing team wants to pressure the primary playmaker, who would they pressure? Double-teaming either Calderon or Turkoglu, when they're both on the floor together, could badly backfire because of their exceptionally versatile skill sets.

In fact, because of the numerous things that both Turkoglu and Calderon can do extremely well, an entire playbook could probably be written just for those two.


The Game Changer

Of course, Turkoglu brings a lot more positives to the Toronto Raptors than just his playmaking abilities, as discussed on page three of my Bryan Colangelo article.

Bryan Colangelo acquiring Turkoglu appears to be a game-changer.

Turkoglu's addition to the Toronto Raptors made me change the way that I look at point guards. Now just imagine how much chaos he can cause for opposing teams, who are trying to devise plans to guard against him.