Triano still has faith in Turkoglu

MIKE GANTER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:00 PM ET

He leads the team in three pointers made and attempted. He’s averaging just shy of 14 points and four assists a night.

Decent numbers by most accounts but not so much when you arrive with the reputation, recent successes, and heightened expectations.

In short, Hedo Turkoglu hasn’t been the Turkoglu that Raptors fans had hoped for or expected.

Head coach Jay Triano believes he has a pretty good feel for his nine-year veteran and what makes him tick but like everyone else still is waiting to see the complete package.

“He’s a guy who wants the basketball in the pressure situations,” Triano said. “He wants to contribute. But yeah, he’s probably a guy who has to be challenged. Hopefully, we are starting to do that more and putting him in the situations where we’re relying on him at critical points in the game.”

To date, Triano feels the team has got the ball in his hands when they needed to, but admits there is room for improvement.

“I’d probably like to see him have it a little bit more, but again, did he have it at the end of the game in Phoenix? Yes,” Triano said. “Did he have it at the end of regulation in Washington?

Yes. In overtime (in the same game)? Yes.”

Turkoglu delivered in the overtime in Washington but came up short both at the end of regulation in that game and at the end of the Phoenix game.

Triano though remains convinced that the Raptors’ best chance in those situations involve putting the ball in Turkoglu’s hands.

There also have been questions about Turkoglu’s conditioning since the beginning of training camp when a fatigued Turkoglu was excused from on-court work to rest up.

Triano says that is no longer a question in his mind.

“ I think we have played him enough and got him enough minutes early to get him into shape,” Triano said. “His average minutes (just over 33 minutes) is either right where it should be or just a bit shy.”

Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons, Turkoglu had 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Again, it was not a bad night but still waiting for the bust-out game.

One area where Turkoglu is getting some flak and Triano believes is totally unwarranted is for his happy-go-lucky demeanour. Turkoglu is quick to laugh whether it’s during a game or after one, win or lose. The easy smile and laughter, particularly after losses, has not gone unnoticed.

“He’s loose and maybe that’s why those pressure games or pressure situations don’t effect him at all,” Triano said.

“He’s pretty laid back and brings some levity to it.”

Triano was made aware of a situation in Milwaukee where his players, in the midst of a poor game, were caught on camera yukking it up.

“I saw something that was funny that happened in Milwaukee and we were all kind of laughing about it but it was nothing (related to) basketball. Sometimes things happen over the course of two hours that are funny. There was also something in the Minnesota game before that too.”


Videos

Photos