Hedo Turkoglu, NBA Free Agent, has met today with head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers Nate McMillan today and will be taking a tour of the city of Portland in the upcoming days.
While nothing is official and the talks may be far off from a done deal, I thought it would fun to imagine what bringing in Turkey’s finest player to a roster already good enough to qualify for the Western Conference playoffs would be like.
First of all the Trail Blazers roster would become very Orlando Magicesque. They’d have two bonafide scorers on their team. Turkoglu would be joining the already in place alpha dog Brandon Roy. These two would be surrounded by a hulking, athletic 7 footer, Greg Oden.
Oden could now become the primary “screener” in their screen and roll game. For those of you watching the NBA Finals you saw how effective Hedo can be when involved in the pick and roll. Oden would simply just need to screen hard and roll to the hoop with his hands up and he should be the beneficiary of many catch and dunks, the same way Dwight Howard was. The presence of Turkoglu the shooter is going to acquire more perimeter attention, which in turn will give Oden more space down low to operate.
As already mentioned Brandon Roy is in place as the Blazers primary offensive player, their number one option. Roy has proven himself in this role and the Blazers are comfortable with Roy in this role as they should be. That being said, I feel as though Roy was being leaned on just a little too much. Defenses could key in entirely on Roy and without the help of another ‘creator’ on the floor Roy was responsible for too much of the offensive load. He needed to score and create opportunities for his teammates.
Turkoglu relieves a lot of this pressure and then some. He’s proven to be a master in pick and roll situations and he also can use his size/length to create shots for himself in the half court. If nothing else was learned about the man this post season you should have learned this: Turkoglu is also a reliable crunch time scorer. He hit numerous clutch shots and did so on the world’s biggest stage throughout the playoffs.
Turkoglu also will have a profound effect on LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge who is athletic and has the ability to hit the outside shot can play the Rashard Lewis role. Also I think it does wonders for Aldridge’s psyche. He now goes from being a number two option who wasn’t quite there yet, to a suddenly very good number three option. While his points and rebounds will still be as necessary as they were, if LaMarcus Aldridge is your third best player, your team is in good shape.
In the same way it helps Aldridge by bumping him down a spot, the addition of Turkoglu strengthens their bench by bumping Nicolas Batum down a spot. You now have one more long athlete that you’re bringing off the bench playing against the opposing team’s second unit. With Batum, Rudy Fernandez and possibly Jerryd Bayless off their bench, the Blazers would have one of the leagues most dyanmic second units.
The Blazers could still use an upgrade at point guard, but if the price is right for Turkoglu I say they have to take that gamble. A lineup of Steve Blake, Roy, Turk, Aldridge, Oden with Bayless, Batum, and Fernandez off the bench is a pretty potent lineup and I think it moves them up a class in the western conference.
Now again I must reiterate that this is nothing more than speculation and that nothing regarding Turkoglu and the Blazers has been formalized.