Believe it or not, we are about a month away from Opening Night. Orlando opened training camp on October 1 and open the preseason in Mexico City against New Orleans on Saturday. So how will we get ready? By counting down to the beginning of the season on November 2 against Denver. Let's continue:
Who leads the 2000 NBA Draftees in total win shares?
It is not Magic draft pick and Rookie of the Year Mike Miller. Or top overall pick Kenyon Martin?
Need more choices: How about All Stars like Michael Redd and Jamaal Magloire? Nope, not them. It is not Quentin Richardson, Keyon Dooling or Jamal Crawford either?
The answer is the 16th overall pick from that draft: Hedo Turkoglu. And most of those win shares came in his long career in Orlando. 40.0 of his 61.8 win shares have come in Orlando.
Turkoglu has been on some very very good teams. He was a member of the 2002 Kings team that went to the Western Conference Finals and were a breath away from making the Finals. He then broke through into the Finals with the 2009 team. He posted 1.7 win shares in 24 playoff games in 2009, hitting a few game-winning shots and creating a ton of Magic legend.
Enough legend to make everyone pine for his return just a year and a half later on a contract Otis Smith was previously unwilling to sign him to.
As good as Turkoglu was in 2008 (19.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, 52.4% eFG%, 17.8 PER) and 2009 (16.8 PPG, 4.9 APG, 47.8% eFG%, 14.8 PER), these last few years have been a major struggle. Last season, Turkoglu averaged 10.9 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting and a 50.5 percent effective field goal percentage. His PER sunk to 11.7 (it was 13.5 in his half season with Orlando in 2011).
Yes, Turkoglu's best days appear to be behind him. The hope though is that he can add something this year, at least some stability.
The reports coming from camp are that Turkoglu is in good shape (a common refrain from training camps and media days). He even told Dan Savage and Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com that he had stopped eating his famous pizza as a part of his diet.
Turkoglu has had a very successful career. He is hoping that it is not over yet. He wants to retire in Orlando. And like everyone else on the roster he has an opportunity to reclaim his career and ride off into the sunset. And maybe retire as the best player picked in the 2000 Draft.