Orlando Magic Shooting Month: 5 Magic 3-point shooters before their times

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Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic
Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis proved to be a perfect pair to lift the Orlando Magic to the 2009 Finals. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

5 Orlando Magic shooters before their times

Hedo Turkoglu

The revolution that was the 2009 Orlando Magic deserves a much longer post during this month celebrating shooting. They changed the league in many ways — and even forced their opponent in the NBA Finals to embrace the change that was coming to the league to beat them.

There were a lot of things the Magic did that were so far ahead of their times.

The accident that turned Rashard Lewis from a post-up small forward to a stretch-4 is a story that should be told and retold — Lewis signed specifically not to play power forward but after Dwight Howard broke Tony Battie’s collarbone, Stan Van Gundy and his staff asked Lewis to move up a spot and he accepted. That change was probably happening anyway, but it was truly revolutionary with what Van Gundy was trying to do.

That story deserves its own post. But Van Gundy was also revolutionizing things in another way.

He was going to make Hedo Turkoglu one of his main playmakers, a trust that Turkoglu never got with any other team or coach before him. There had been other 6-foot-10 point forwards before — Magic Johnson the most notable of them. But teams did not really let their big forwards handle the ball.

Not to this extent.

Add in Turkoglu’s 3-point shooting and this was something the league did not know how to handle. It could easily be argued that Orlando’s trust in Turkoglu was the matchup nightmare that helped the team reach the 2009 Finals and break other teams’ defenses.

The fact Hedo Turkoglu was adept at the pick and roll with the best roll-man center in the league in Dwight Howard, was a capable passer out of that pick and roll and could step out and hit 3-pointers, just changed everything.

Turkoglu finished his seven years in Orlando shooting 37.9-percent from beyond the arc. The 2009 season was actually his worst 3-point shooting season with his first sting in Orlando at 35.9-percent.

Turkoglu was just a weapon that was hinted at around the league at the time, but nobody really used it.

The Magic’s success in 2009 changed how the league began to think about players less as positions and more as skill sets. Turkoglu changed that perception.