Lately, there are rumors about the Laker team in regards to trades. The latest player in the rumor mill is the acquisition of Hedo Turkoglu through free agency, assuming he’s waived by the Orlando Magic. On Christmas Eve, the rumor was to trade Jodie Meeks for Jerryd Bayless.
The Lakers have been an injury-plagued team for the past two seasons. The team’s most skilled players are also the nearest to retirement. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol, even if healthy, would have a two-year window left together at most. It’s unfortunate to see how little playing time they share on the floor together.
Still, the team is in the hunt for the playoffs. Jerryd Bayless doesn’t make much sense, since he’s not a natural playmaker. But, his salary at the end of the year gives the Lakers a bit more caproom. That makes the trade appealing. While fans have grown to love Jodie Meeks as an ascending player, one who plays both ends of the floor with heightened intensity, no name is above the Laker franchise. If the trade gives the team more upside long-term, pull the trigger.
Hedo Turkoglu has triple threat talent that fits the Laker scheme as well. We know what our players do on the floor when they’re pushing tempo. Half-court sets are more of a struggle, especially without Gasol on the floor to help create plays. Nick Young likes to break into an isolation mode. Xavier Henry doesn’t see defenses, he sees the rim. Jodie Meeks isn’t as comfortable creating plays for others. Jordan Farmar is still getting back into game shape from a previous hamstring injury. He can’t play all 48 minutes on the floor.
Turkoglu, on the other hand, isn’t reliant on athleticism or transition play to create offense. He’s excellent at running pick and roll situations. He can hit the roll-man with a crafty pass or take a pull-up jumpshot behind the screen. More importantly, he can help ensure ball-distribution between the Laker wing players. He can keep the offensive rhythm moving, and isn’t ball-dominant by any means. Defense may be a problem, but at a listed 6’10” in height, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mike D’Antoni run Hedo Turkoglu at power forward. There, mismatches can be found. With Turkoglu running the offense at the top of the key, power forwards are drawn out of the paint. That’s one less shotblocker and rebounder to worry about.
The Orlando Magic loved to run the pick and roll with Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard during their Finals run. This pet play took the two slowest defenders the power forward and center, away from the paint. Hedo had the basketball IQ to exploit this, often driving by power forwards to set up Dwight Howard for lob dunks. While Dwight Howard is no longer on the team, Chris Kaman and Robert Sacre can set hard screens and have good touch up to 7′ in the paint. That’s all that is needed from a playmaking forward.
Still, the Lakers aren’t looking for a lottery pick. It looks like they want to make the playoffs. Big moves and small moves alike, the bottom line is, they want to win. This is what has us as Laker fans in the first place.