Over the next few weeks Orlando Magic Daily will be taking a look at the things that went right and wrong this season as Orlando ended its season with its first Lottery season in six years.
Hedo Turkoglu has had an incredible 13-year run in the NBA. Much of that has been with the Orlando Magic. He won Most Improved Player of the Year in Orlando. He raised his family in Orlando. He helped guide the Magic to the NBA Finals with strong performances and a legendary postseason.
All that seems so long ago. Turkoglu has largely disappointed — whether he was in Toronto, Phoenix or back in Orlando — following that Finals run in 2009. No season probably disappointed as much as this past one and it likely spelled the end for Turkoglu's career in the NBA. His second chance in Orlando might very well prove to be his last.
The pain for Turkoglu started on opening night when he broke his hand in the third quarter. Turkoglu was 3 for 4 from the floor with six points and two steals in 16 minutes. He came into camp in the best shape in a while and seemed poised to bounce back from his rough seasons and be a leader for a young Magic squad.
Orlando hoped he would so he could increaes his trade value at the very least and help the team get some value in return for him. The organization wanted him to contribute to the team in some tangible way for sure.
The early season injury completely tore away that dream. Though Turkoglu came back, he was never quite right. The conditioning he had from the begininng of the season and in training camp was gone and it was tough for him to get back into shape.
Then the bad news really came. Things got worse for Turkoglu and for the Magic.
In mid-February, Hedo Turkoglu was suspended for 20 games for violating the league's anti-doping policy. Turkoglu said he must have accidentally taken a banned substance from a trainer in Turkey during the offseason. He was lax in checking what he put in his body. It put a cloud over Turkoglu and the Magic franchise — especially considering his 2009 teammate Rashard Lewis was also caught taking a banned substance and suspended the first 10 games of the 2010 season.
The suspension seemed to add insult to injury for a rough season for Turkoglu. When Turkoglu was finally eligible to return, the Magic were completely devoted to playing their young players. Turkoglu could have played in any of the final 10 games for the Magic, but his season was done after his suspension ended.
Likely, a 17-point loss in Philadelphia on Feb. 4 in which Turkoglu missed all three of his field goal attempts will be Turkoglu's final game in a Magic uniform and quite likely for his NBA career.
It should be a sad ending for what has been a fantastic career. However, the realities of his ability and his contract (the final year of his contract is only guarnteed for $6 million and is likely to be bought out) point toward Turkoglu no longer being a member of the Magic.
He was unable to find that spark that he used in the best years of his career. A fan favorite will simply disappear from the NBA spotlight in the seemingly most tragic way possible.