After the 2008-2009 season, the Magic organization must’ve been disappointed, but excited. They made it to the finals after a thrilling victory over the favored Cavaliers and LeBron James. Sure, they lost to the Lakers, but what good team hasn’t. They were young and talented, poised to become a powerhouse beyond that postseason. Then a funny thing happened, Hedo Turkoglu opted out of his contract. The Turkish enigma was at the height of his career. In the 2007-2008 season, Turkoglu won the Most Improved Player Award, and averaged a career high in points. In the 2008-2009 finals season, he averaged 17 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. Turkoglu then went to Toronto, where his numbers fell off and tensions with management built. He was seen out partying late after missing a game with a stomach virus, and was benched. Turkoglu voiced his displeasure and was traded to the Suns, where he continued to struggle. In 2010, Turkoglu was traded back to the Magic, the perfect move for the threat that had turned cold.
Now here we are, halfway through a terribly confusing season for the Magic, and Hedo is averaging just over 10 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. At his best, Turkoglu was as dangerous as they come. He’s a 6’ 10 forward who can drive to the hoop. He’s shot around 40% from the three-point line his whole career. At his worst, he’s a lazy liability, jogging up and down the court with an ambivalent glaze in his eyes, you can feel his thought process. He’s at the end of a career that fell short of his hopes. He’s under performing while still getting large amounts of minutes.
The worst part is that the old Hedo Turkoglu is just what this Magic team needs. They rank 22nd in points per game. They largely rely on their outside shooting, and true offense is hard to come by for a team that goes through a sub 50% free throw shooter (Dwight Howard). For all of the Magic, but especially Turkoglu who has wandered so aimlessly through the NBA, like a community college dropout pointlessly longing for the days of high school, things would be better if they went back to how they used to be. Who thought the Magic would be here in 2012, fighting to get back to the glory days of their 2008-2009 season, where the future seemed so bright and the past so irrelevant.