Hedo Turkoglu had an impressive NBA career coming from overseas. He took advantage of the opportunity that so many players dream of, and he made the most of it. Turkoglu was the first Turkish-born player in the NBA.
At 6-foot-10, Turkoglu showcased his versatility during his time in the league. He could shoot, handle the ball, and guard multiple positions. Turkoglu adapted to the NBA game well and would play on some dominant NBA teams during his career.
Hedo Turkoglu’s NBA career
Turkoglu began his NBA career in 2000 when the Sacramento Kings selected him with the 16th pick in the NBA draft. Coming to the NBA as a rookie, he already had experience playing professionally overseas in Turkey. In his first year with the Kings, he saw action in 74 games during the regular season. He averaged 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. His performance allowed him to be named to the All-Rookie Second Team.
Turkoglu would continue to come off the bench for the Kings, who had a deep lineup. In his second season, he saw his minutes per game increase as well as his points per game. He averaged 10.1 points in year two. After three seasons in Sacramento, Turkoglu was traded to the San Antonio Spurs. He only spent one season with the Spurs and averaged 9.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.
In 2004, Turkoglu joined the Orlando Magic, and that was the turning point in his career. In his first season in Orlando, he averaged the most points in his career at the time with 14 a game. He would continue to improve his game in Orlando, and he would end up becoming a starter during the 2006-2007 season.
Hedo Turkoglu’s big year
The 2007-08 season was a big season for Turkoglu. He started in all 82 regular-season games and averaged 19.5 points per game. Turkoglu won the Most Improved Player award that season as he averaged a career-high in points, rebounds (5.7), and assists (5.0). He played an essential role in Orlando.
The next season Turkoglu helped lead the Magic to the NBA finals. That season he averaged 16.8 points per game. In the 2009 NBA finals, he led the Magic in scoring with 18 points per game. The Magic lost in the finals to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
After five seasons in Orlando, Turkoglu was traded to the Toronto Raptors. He would only spend one season in Toronto, and then he spent one season with the Phoenix Suns. Turkoglu joined the Magic for the second time in his career, and he ended his NBA career playing for the L.A. Clippers.
A look back at Hedo Turkoglu’s career
Turkoglu spent 16 seasons in the NBA playing for multiple teams. To be the first player from Turkey to play in the league opened doors for many players not only from Turkey but from overseas in general.
Coming from overseas can be difficult for some players because they aren’t used to the pace and play of the NBA, and they’re in a country they have never been before, so everything is new to them. But, Turkoglu was able to adjust, and he became a top player on some of the teams he played for throughout his career.