So last night the Magic lost to a team they really shouldn’t have lost to, the 76ers. While it was a team loss, I can’t help but wonder if the game would have had a entirely different outcome had one of their key players and impending free agent’s had a great game. Actually scratch that…if he had a good game period. Wait wait wait, how about just an average game?
The Magic are made up of 3 key frontcourt players. Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, and Hedo Turkoglu. Those 3 are what make the team so dominant, and put them into the elite status in the East, along with the coaching of Stan Van Gundy. But what happens when you take 1 of those players out of the equation? Well, you get last nights result. Dwight Howard gets double teamed more (or totally ignored, but I’ll get to that later), Rashard Lewis is left as the only other key scorer, and a rookie and bad shooters are left to try to pick up the slack.
So, why did I pick Hedo as an example? Well, because he is the most inconsistent of the bunch. Sure, Dwight might only get 12 points in a game, but you know for sure he is going to hit double digit boards. Shard may miss his first 8 shots, but he tends to get hot late and still chip in 14 or 15 points. But when Hedo is in a funk, he is staying in a funk. And it happens too often, and it shouldn’t for a guy wanting big money this summer.
Don’t get me wrong, when Hedo is on, he’s on. But when he’s off, close your eyes, because this trainwreck is frightening. It’s almost as if, there is Turkoglu, and then there is Hedo. They’re 2 seperate players. Hedo makes shots, distributes the ball the best he could, grabs a few boards, and atleast stays with his man 70% of the time. But when Turkoglu emerges, bad shots are thrown up, passes are chucked around to nobody, defense is not a priority, teammates are afterthoughts, and an entirely different attitude comes out.
In Game 1 against the 76ers, Hedo shot a miserable 25% from the field. He finished with 6 points, with 2 of those coming from FT’s. He couldn’t get anything going. Then, Turkoglu came out to play. Here are some highlights of his night:
-Wild pass to Rafer Alston across the court, out of bounds, turnover.
-Dwight Howard danced and threw his hands up in the air atleast 3 or 4 times, wide open in the paint. Missed opportunities to score. Who had the ball in his hands? Turkoglu. What did he do? Pretended to be a running back and rammed into his defender. Why? I have no clue.
-Got scorched by Andre Iguodola. I know AI2 shot 10-23 from the floor, but I swear I don’t remember him missing a shot besides when he got swatted by Dwight. It seemed like Turkoglu just let him shoot jumpers in his face all night? He barely threw a hand up, and when he did, it seemed like he could careless. Turkoglu isn’t know for his defense, but this was pathetic.
-Blown defensive assignment by Turkoglu? Not his fault, according to, well him. Instead, he blames his teammates. “Where were you” he mouthed to Dwight Howard numerous times. “I’m only 1 man”, I can assume Dwight replied to him with.
Those are just some of the hig…lowlights of his night. These are the inconsistencies Magic fans have been dealing with for years now. You really never know which player is going to show up, and how it will affect your team. Hedo is talked about as an important piece to this team, but the playoffs are going to be a good indication on just how vital he is to this team going forward. The Magic cannot afford to resign a player who cannot show up every night, and basically gives up when things aren’t going his way. Not for a guy his age, the position he plays, and the money he wants.
Hedo is a funny guy, a great teammate, and a great player. I like him. This isn’t a hate piece. But like any relationship, sometimes people grow apart. And if Hedo continues this trend, I think it might be best the Magic and Hedo go their seperate ways.