- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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THERE WAS a time (read: 2000 to '03) when Hedo Turkoglu was little more than that other foreign guy on the Kings with Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. But after last season it's fair to say that the Turkish small forward is no longer an afterthought. While quarterbacking the Magic's run to the Finals last season, Turkoglu, 30, established himself as an all-around threat (averages of 15.8 points, 4.8 assists and 4.5 boards in the postseason) who was particularly cold-blooded in the clutch. This was why Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo made him the prize of an aggressive off-season that put Supermarket Sweep to shame, acquiring Turkoglu in a four-way trade and then signing him to a five-year, $53 million deal. In all, the Raptors come into the season with 10 new faces.
"Standing pat was not an option," Colangelo says of his 10 newcomers. "And yes, this is an important year for many reasons." The biggest: Chris Bosh, who is among those famously eligible for free agency in 2010. Colangelo consulted closely with the 25-year-old power forward as the roster was remade. "Me and B.C. have a pretty good relationship," Bosh says. "He ran things by me, whether I was comfortable with them. This year there were a lot of good ideas." Besides Turkoglu, the Raptors signed Bosh's old point guard at Georgia Tech, Jarrett Jack, to a four-year, $20 million deal; re-signed center Andrea Bargnani to a five-year, $50 million contract; and traded for power forward Reggie Evans to add much-needed toughness.
Toronto's restocked cupboard hasn't taken the suspense out of what Bosh will do in the next off-season—he says that he "can't put all my eggs in one basket"—but he duly appreciates the effort. So does Evans, who was a Sixer last season when Turkoglu drilled a last-second three to win Game 5 of Philly's opening-round series with Orlando. Now, says Evans, "when Hedo does that again, it's going to feel real good."
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE with 2008--09 statistics
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
KEY BENCH PLAYERS: G Jarrett Jack, 13.1 PPG; G-F Marco Belinelli, 8.9 PPG; G-F Antoine Wright, 7.3 PPG; F Amir Johnson, 0.97 BPG • New acquisition • (R) Rookie, college stats
COACH: Jay Triano (second season with Raptors) • 2008--09 RECORD: 33--49 (fourth in Atlantic)
POINTS SCORED: 99.0 (16th in NBA) • POINTS ALLOWED: 101.9 (20th in NBA)