Savage from the Sideline: The Turkish Trend

By Dan Savage
February 3, 2012


He’s the Orlando Magic’s international man of mystery.

He’s an enigma.

He’s the x-factor.

He’s Hedo Turkoglu.

The Magic’s starting small forward is simply one of those players who is completely unpredictable. He can struggle for three quarters and then like a magician pulling a rabbit out of hat, turn it on in the fourth.

In fact, if Forrest Gump would have ever met him, chances are his infamous line would have been, “life is like Hedo Turkoglu, you never know what you’re going to get.”

On some nights he’s aggressive, attacks out of pick-and-rolls and dissects the opposition’s defense at will, while on others he tends to play more of a passive role.

Yet, while predicting his statline is nearly impossible, gauging his impact on the Magic is a clear-cut science.

When Turk performs at a high level, the Magic win games. When he doesn’t, the team tends to struggle.

While Mr. Fourth quarter can do so much more than put the basketball in the hoop, his scoring alone can be the difference between an Orlando victory and a loss.

After Turkoglu notched 18 points in the Magic’s win over the Cavaliers on Friday, Orlando improved to 12-3 this season when he scores in double figures. The team is currently 0-5 during their 2011-12 campaign when he fails to reach the double-digit plateau.

“Turk finished the game again very, very well down the stretch,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Once they stopped fouling Dwight, Turk took over and got us three big baskets in his pick-and-rolls.”

The nights that Turk puts up points tend to be when he’s also playing aggressive and operating Orlando’s pick-and-roll offense with immense precision. In addition to lofty scoring numbers, the Magic’s small forward also notched seven rebounds and four assists.

It’s that play-making ability that All-Star center Dwight Howard would like to see on an everyday basis.

“Turk was very aggressive and that’s one thing I’ve been telling him is that he needs to be more aggressive on the offensive end,” Howard said.

That’s wise advice from Orlando’s Superman, because when Turk’s aggressive, the Magic tend to win.

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