Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
Birthdate: March 19, 1979
Experience: 10 years
Draft: 2000, 16th overall by Sacramento
Pre-NBA experience: Efes Pilsen (Istanbul) — 1996-00
2010-11 Salary: $10,215,850
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2010-11 Season Outlook: The Suns plan to use Turkoglu at power forward after the departure of Amare Stoudemire. Though he has had success off the bench, Turkoglu will likely getting the starting nod over Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye. Turkoglu’s Toronto season could be deceiving, as both he and his former agent and new Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby have described the team as a bad fit. With the Raptors, Turkoglu saw fewer opportunities to utilize his three-point shot as the team made Chris Bosh its focal point. His career 38.3 percent three-point shooting average should be a perfect fit with the Suns.
More than anything, Turkoglu brings versatility. His size and perimeter game give the Suns many options. At Turkoglu’s introductory press conference, Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of the him that “whatever you need at that particular time, you can plug him in and I think that’s what he’ll be able to get done for you.”
Known for his above-average ball handling skills, Turkoglu should take some of the load off Steve Nash. Turkoglu’s ability to shoot from deep gives the Suns another Channing Frye-like big man whose versatility give the team the option to play him at multiple positions. Playing with Nash in an up-tempo offense that doesn’t revolve around Bosh, Turkoglu should return to his playmaker form and put up big numbers, especially on a team with a heavy three-point shooting focus.
Biography: After four seasons with Efes Pilsen in Istanbul, Hidayet (Hedo) Turkoglu became the first Turkish-born player in NBA history when the Sacramento Kings made him the 16th overall pick in the 2000 NB A Draft. Turkoglu started slow, averaging just 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game his rookie season, but still made the NBA All-Rookie second team. His numbers improved in his second season as a sixth man, but his three seasons with the Kings weren’t impressive enough to make him stick and he was dealt after the 2002-2003 season to the San Antonio Spurs, for whom he played one season.
In July 2004, Turkoglu signed a free agent contract with the Orlando Magic and enjoyed his breakout year, averaging 14.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He steadily improved in Orlando, and won the 2008 Most Improved Player Award after averaging a career-best 19.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Turkoglu proved a key component to the Magic’s playoff success in his time there, including the team’s 2009 NBA Finals run. After Orlando lost the Finals, Turkoglu opted out of his contract and joined the Toronto Raptors as a free agent. Putting up his worst numbers since 2003-04 with the Spurs, Turkoglu clearly wasn’t a good fit with the Raptors and made it known publicly. In July 2010, the Suns acquired Turkoglu from Toronto in exchange for Leandro Barbosa and Dwayne Jones.
Links to ValleyoftheSuns coverage of Turkoglu: