In recent years, Toronto has become the "Euro" team of the NBA. That transformation began in 2006 when the club hired former Benetton Treviso general manager Maurizi Gherardini as the first European to hold a senior management position in the league. With his knowledge of overseas basketball, the Raptors began to stock their roster with unfamiliar names like Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Jorge Garbajosa, Carlos Delfino and Roko Ukic. Now, Hedo Turkoglu is continuing that trend by bringing his Turkish roots to the Raptors.
After he opted out of the final year of his contract with the Magic that would have paid him about $7.3 million, everybody expected Turkoglu to join the on-the-rise Portland Trailblazers this offseason since Orlando already moved on by trading for Vince Carter. Once the free agency period began, Blazers head coach Nate McMillan wasted no time in courting the Turkish star, and a deal between the two sides seemed imminent. Instead, Turkoglu spurned an all-but-done deal with the Blazers and agreed to a 5-year, $53 million with the Raptors. This decision was reportedly made because Turkoglu and his wife preferred living in Toronto where there is a larger Turkish population.
This is a huge get for the Raptors who were desperate to land an impact wing player. Turkoglu proved to be a go-to scorer with the Magic this past season, especially during their run to the NBA Finals. His size and shooting ability make him a difficult matchup for opposing teams. Combine his versatility with Bargnani's capability to step out and knock down the three-pointer, as well as Calderon's three-point range, and Toronto should be one of the most dangerous outside teams in the league.
His signing is even more crucial with the likely departure of Chris Bosh, who is entering the final year of his contract. If the Raptors decide to trade Bosh during the season (which they are likely to do as to ensure they don't lose him to free agency and get nothing in return), Turkoglu can help fill the massive void he would leave. If somehow Bosh ends up staying in Toronto past this season, the Raptors suddenly have an effective one-two punch of Bosh and Turkoglu with productive players like Bargnani, Calderon, and first-round pick Demar DeRozan, who is loaded with potential.
The one major downside that results from this signing is how thin Toronto will be on its bench. Assuming they trot out a starting five of Bargnani, Bosh, Turkoglu, DeRozan and Calderon, their best options off the bench would consist of Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Nathan Jawai, Roko Ukic and Marcus Banks. Ish. None of those eight projected bench players averaged more than six points per game last season. And by signing Turkoglu, Toronto's cap space shrinks, making it more difficult to land any other free agents to strengthen their depth.
By the way, if you are a Blazers fan, you might as well start referring to Hedo's wife, Banu, as Yoko Ono for breaking up what could have been the missing piece in launching Portland to contender status in the Western Conference.
@Black&Gold Problem is that you see Eli and Cobi as solid backups. Truth is that Eli is number 2 and Cobi is our number 3. They aren't backups, but starters. So what you're saying is that we have no true number 2, but see no need in drafting a receiver? What D line depth are you thinking? DE or NT? Have you seen what LT Walton has done? Remember he's only in his second year.
@Steelr Fan 3:16 Coates was supposed to be plan B at number 2 with the uncertainty of Bryant. You make the case that he's a one trick pony and not a 50 catch per season wide-out, so does that scream out as a option for number 2? What gives you hope about Green? I hope he does end up staying on the field, but so far in his career he hasn't be able to do that. I like James, but if he goes down you trust Grimble? He can't block, and hasn't been reliable in the pass game. He did mess his ribs up with a nice touchdown reception a few weeks ago. That still doesn't mean he can pick up and be an impact if James would not be able to go. We have 7 picks in this draft. The first I hope goes OLB. We are good at CB with Burnes and @[email protected] will be challenged hopefully by Golson. Loser of the battle would be a good slot corner. Golson lacks length so they may throw him in the slot role anyways. LT Walton has been more than solid at DE. If Heyward or Tuitt can't go a few weeks during the season then I have faith in LT to get the job done. I like Chickillo and Moates at OLB. They have started and played solid. Williams and Dirty Red at backup ILB is good depth that any team would love. Safety we have Golden and Dangerfield. Both have started any didn't miss a beat. Offensive line? Yeah, we're good there. You say we're good at tight end and WR, so with or final 6 picks we're going what exactly? A RB would be nice with Williams age. A backup that won't see the field unless God forbid Bell gets hurt is a wasted pick anywhere in the top 4 rounds. Maybe 5th would be suffice. That's 2 picks gone and 5 to go. A backup QB of the future would be nice. Four to go. A special teamed lol? Warren, Boswell, and Berry are really good.
Mock I have been developing in various iterations. Did a trade, and was drafting based on data I've gathered via watching college games, NFL games, reading mock drafts, and my own internal evaluations. Please, feedback is always welcome.