Hedo Turkoglu: The Mr. Fourth Quarter the Phoenix Suns have been missing

Hedo Turkoglu is about as clutch as they come, which is something the Suns have been missing for a while. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Every great team needs a closer they can trust with the clock winding down and the ball in his hands.

When crunch time rolls around, championship-caliber teams turn to a player with no fear of failure, willing to risk his own reputation for a shot at glory.

The Lakers have it in Kobe Bryant, the Mavericks have it in Dirk Nowitzki, the Nuggets have it in Carmelo Anthony, and now the Suns may very well have found their Mr. Fourth Quarter in Hedo Turkoglu.

No, the 6-foot-10 playmaker isn’t nearly on the same level as Kobe, Dirk and Carmelo as a player.

But despite a forgettable year in Toronto, Turkoglu possesses the “ice water in your veins” mind-set, and has proven to be basketball’s version of Mariano Rivera at times throughout the last few seasons.

And that closer type is the exact player the Phoenix Suns have always been missing.

They thought they had that in Amare Stoudemire, but STAT’s never-ending disappearing acts in crunch time of playoff games put that notion to rest quickly.

Steve Nash has been unbelievably clutch during his time in Phoenix, but it was hard to rely on a 6-foot-3 point guard to pull up for game-winners night in and night out.

Needless to say, the Suns have been hurting for a Mr. Clutch over the years, but Turkoglu should change that the second he dons the purple and orange.

“I think he’s fearless,” said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy. “I think he’s got that short memory.”

Thanks to his height and his uncanny ability to create space, Turkoglu has been the guy with the ball in his hands late in games and more often than not he’s delivered. He carried the Orlando Magic to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2008 and the NBA Finals in 2009, nailing a slew of game-winners along the way.

He went off for 25 points and 12 assists in Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals to propel the Magic over the Celtics and eventually into the Finals. The series before that Turkoglu drilled a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in Game 4 against the Sixers to hand the Magic a three-point victory and a 3-1 series lead.

Turkoglu was also stellar in the 2008 playoffs, averaging 17.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists while playing just under 40 minutes per contest. And the “Turkish Jordan” was even more clutch during the regular season, as he proved to be cold-blooded in crunch time no matter how many bricks he threw up the first 47 minutes.

Not only does he bring that “clutch factor” to the Suns, but he can also serve as another playmaker and ball-handler next to Nash. It’s easy to make the argument that there isn’t room for Turkoglu to handle the ball, but that secondary facilitator, like a Mr. Fourth Quarter, is something the Suns have been missing since Joe Johnson bolted for Atlanta.

When Nash gets bottled up and has nowhere to go, Turkoglu can handle the ball and make plays. He creates huge mismatches and has proven he can facilitate the pick-and-roll effectively, which is highly important in the Suns offense.

So not only does he give the Suns a late-game performer, but he can also serve as that secondary ball-handler the Suns have been missing since Johnson left.

Turkoglu certain has some question marks surrounding him — age, contract, motivation, etc. — but the Suns know for sure that they are getting a player who isn’t afraid to take and make big shots when the game is on the line.

Here are just a few of his late-game heroics during his time with the Orlando Magic:

Tags: Hedo Turkoglu

  • Hedo Torkoglu


  • http://espn.com victor

    turk better do good

  • Linda

    Why not have Steve Nash help get the right players? I would love to see Raja Bell come back as a Sun. Instead I see him talking with the Lakers and Kobe. I am sorry you messed up the bench, watching the bench come in was impressive. Don't trade J Rich or Dudley, sure hope somebody knows what they are doing??? Such a fun team to watch last year, I am all about Mr. MVP Steve Nash, I think he is the best point guard in the NBA.

  • Mark D

    Ok.. so is he coming or not? I heard that the deal ended up falling through and hes not coming

  • Haipei

    Charlotte pulled out of the three-team deal. How will the deal work with only Phoenix and Toronto?

  • Woody

    he’s coming, the bobcats pulled out of the three team trade but the deal was already accepted, by the suns and raptors

  • Domnick

    Turkoglu was a disgrace with us in Toronto. Lazy, disinterested and a petulant child. I would have taken back a jug of Gatorade for him (preferably the yellow gatorade, but willing to negotiate). However, ill settle for Barbosa.

    Lets up this deal works out for both teams.

  • Anon

    OK, Turkoglu is NOT Mr. Clutch – last year in the last 5 minutes of 5 point games, Turkoglu shot .386 from the field and .292 from 3-point land all while taking more shots than normal and passing less: http://www.82games.com/0910/CSORT11.HTM

    Actually those stats are kind of fun – notice that Turkoglu did not block a single shot in the last 5 minutes of a lcose game last year. Not one.

    I keep hearing that Turkoglu can create his own shot but why does everyone keep overlooking the fact that he can’t really make a lot of those shots?

  • Bob

    I would still prefer the ball in Nash’s hands during clutch time.

  • pol

    Turkoglu will be back
    He is the best
    I wish him succsess in Suns
    now I am Suns fan

  • Anonymous

    Damn, last thing we needed was a turk on our team. I might just leave the Suns fanbase after 12 years.

  • Mike L

    Anon is a fool. You have not been watching basketball much at all. He’s CONSISTENTLY taking AND hitting those shots. The statement that he “can’t really make a lot of those shots?” is about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a while.

    As for Amare, I’ve said it a million times that if he could have put the team on his back more than once or twice he would be the max player he thinks he is. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching him, but can anyone name a single time when we had Amare highlights like those above?

    The only problem I have with this is that the times when we were successful last year were when we took the ball to the whole. Either it was a drive and a slam, a pick and roll followed by a layup or slam … the times when we started taking jumpers were when we started slipping late in the game. My hope is that they will create an offense that will go through Nash and Turkoglu working the ball down low to RoLo. My gut tells me with TWO ballhandlers like Nash and Turk that will give RoLo a bit of breathing room. All he needs is that. I’m excited. :)

  • Evan

    Ok so he is clutch, but how clutch will he be when he is continuously abused in the paint by bigger players, giving up allot of points, because he now has to play power forward. Honestly this team is almost all small forwards it will be exiting and the suns will probably make a run in the playoffs but they will not get past the Lakers.

  • Chad

    I agree with Evan somewhat, while I like the addition of him he really does need to play a SF. Unfortunately that puts Grant Hill (Drinks Sprite) on the 2nd Unit, without Barbosa here, Childress will prolly be the backup SG more often than SF.

    All of this to me still creates a hole at the starting PF position unless Warrick, Clark or Lawal show promise.

    But I hope Mike L is right and Nash & Turkaglu open up the lane for Sideshow Bob to build onto his postup game.

  • joe

    Turk is very clutch and is the main reason why Orlando made it to the finals 2yrs ago. I live in Tampa fl and watch alot of Orlando games and turk was awesome at the end of the game for them. I’m a die hard suns fan being born and raised in mesa az until i moved to tampa 2yrs ago to play semi pro baseball. Toronto didn’t put the ball in turk’s hands at the end of games last year. they let Calderon run the offense and try to get the ball to Bosh while turk just hung out at the 3point line. It was pathetic to watch. They would have been a much better team had they let turk run the pick and roll with Bosh just like Orlando did with turk and howard. The suns need to run the pick and fade with nash and turk. That would be instant points everytime

  • Steve

    Nash is a far better clutch performer. Having Turkoglu in addition to Nash will only help. Anon brought up some good points, but stats in the “clutch” time of games are always going to favor defense rather than offense because refs silence their whistles in the waning minutes of games. For example, Kobe Bryant is largely considered to be the best clutch performer in the game today (Dirk would be in on that conversation as well, and possibly LeBron, simply because the ball was ALWAYS in his hands in the last few minutes of games), but Kobe Bryant shoots just 44.4% in the clutch (pretty much his career average). People don’t typically perform better in the clutch. So, last year, the year where those stats were pulled from, of course Turkoglu was going to be somewhere near 40/30 on fg%/3p% in the “clutch.” That’s what he was on the season. The fact that he maintained is fairly promising, because, if he has a better year with PHX than he had with Toronto, he is going to get back to his Orlando form, making clutch shots when we need them.

    Another problem with those is that they’re regular season. The NBA regular season is a joke. It’s 40 games too long, and none of the players care. The fact that Hedo took and made those big shots above is enough to let me know he’s capable. Anyone can hit one big shot. It takes someone a little more special to hit them like Hedo has.

  • AD

    haha he’s really gone. Raptors baby!

  • suns68

    I’m sitting here counting all the times when the Suns needed a bucket down the stretch to tie or win a game, and I said to myself, gee, I wish we had Hedo Turkoglu.
    Hm. That didn’t take long.
    Turk’s a good player and I’m glad they picked him up given the situation we were in. But I’d like to see how he performs as a Sun before annointing him as our closer.

  • HankS

    I like the Turk pick-up, as long as he’s not the Suns’ starting power forward at five rebounds a game…

    If he can play pick and roll with Robin Lopez, perhaps he could see more time with Dragic than with Nash: he’d help Goran with playmaking, while Nash could bring the best out of Warrick, particularly if Fray is stretching the floor…

    Oh well, just my fingers doing some thinking of their own… ;-)

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  • David West

    I have the Answer to our problem. David West. We trade J. Rich to New Orleans for David West and James Posey. We buy out Posey's contract and we have everyone in the right place. I would actually play Turkoglu off the bench with the second unit and have Dudley start at the 2 and Hill at the 3.


    Nash Dragic'

    Dudley Childress Reynolds

    Hill Turkoglu Clark

    West Warrick Lawall

    Lopez Frye

    That would be the deepest team in the League and a match up nightmare for any team.

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  • BK

    As a Rptors fan I was excited about Turk coming to T.O. last year. I was excited for the same reasons some suns fans are excited now. Beacause he hit alot of great shots in the play-offs 2 years ago now. After watching him last season it’s obvious that play-off run was an anomaly. He showed up in Toronto fat and horribly out of shape. At no point during the season did he get into shape. He didn’t hit one big shot all year at any point of any game. He was slow,lazy, and completly worthless. The icing on the cake was when he didn’t show up for a game because he said he was sick. Then he got caught drinking at a night club later that night. He was suspended one game by the Raps. and whined ad complained because his employer treated him like an adult and held hm accountable for his actions. This guy is a spoiled, lazy, egotistcal, bum who had one good play-off run and has been passed around the league his entire career. I’ll take Barbosa ANY DAY over Hedon’t.

  • jason

    Hedo Turkoglu defeated Dragic so bad last night at World Basketball Champion. He is the leader of Turkish team and most likely will play final against team USA (kevin durant). Hedo is a great player but he is best at 2 and 3, using him as center is not smart. I hope Suns coach realize the strength of Hedo and let him play as forward.