Raptors Reload With Specialists At Small Forward

Ulmer's Position-by-Position Analysis: Point Guard | Shooting Guard | Small Forward | Power Forward | Centre
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Mike Ulmer - raptors.com

October 1, 2009 - This is the third in our continuing scouting report on the Raptors. Today, a look at the small forwards.

One of the Raptors greatest weaknesses last season was a lack of production from the three spot. Joey Graham, Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker all tackled the position. Parker was by far the best of the three but all three are gone in favor of a new crop of recruits. Chief among them is Hedo Turkoglu, the marquee free agent landed via a series of complicated sign-and-trade agreements.

Hedo Turkoglu

2008-09 Statistics: 16.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.4 bpg, 36.6 mpg, 0.413 FG%, 0.356 3p%, 0.807 FT% in 77 Games Played (77 Starts)
Age: 30
Strengths: Turkoglu is one of the unique talents in the NBA. He is a six-foot-10 forward who can bring the ball up the court and set up an offense singlehandedly. An intuitive passer, Turkoglu can run the screen and roll and team with Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. Turkoglu's grasp of offence is so pronounced he is considered one of the rarest of NBA hybrids: the point forward. He averaged five assists a game last season. Never an overwhelming scorer, Turkoglu is strikingly consistent and wants the ball in pressure situations. Turkoglu's regular season average of 16.8 points per game dipped by only a point in the post-season as he helped lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA finals. For a player who isn't always within the shadow of the basket, Turkoglu gets to the free throw line. One quarter of his points last season were scored via the free-throw line.

Weaknesses: Word that Turkoglu was fatigued after a busy summer spent representing Turkey might be a concern to Raptor fans and management. Because of his style, Turkoglu has never been an above average rebounder. Entering his tenth NBA season, it remains to be seen how long Turkoglu can maintain his current elevated level of play.

Antoine Wright

2008-09 Statistics: 7.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.4 bpg, 23.9 mpg, 0.415 FG%, 0.302 3p%, 0.747 FT% in 65 Games Played (53 starts)
Age: 25
Strengths: The Raptors have three embryonic talents on the roster who could conceivably blossom into above average NBA players. They are DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson and Antoine Wright. Wright is a worker more than willing to tackle the jobs, defence and rebounding, eschewed by some. He is smart enough and quick enough to guard point guards, shooting guards or small forwards. Wright can be a dependable shooter. He is an ideal bench player because of his versatility, attitude and skill set.

Weaknesses: Despite filling it up for Texas A&M at the collegiate level, Wright hasn't put it together offensively in the NBA. He also averaged only 2.1 rebounds last season to go with 7.3 points, not enough for a player who started 53 games.