Does Hedo Turkoglu Lack Toughness?

by March 26, 2010

The Hedo Experiment has not gone over well in Toronto, leading fans and media alike to direct much of their frustration at Turkoglu. The latest complaint is about his willingness to play through pain and illness. From the Globe and Mail: “Like I said, there’s every chance that he was really, really sick. But fair or not, Turkoglu doesn’t have much credibility on the issue. This is a big problem. It may be an image problem, but it’s a real problem nonetheless. All pro athletes really want from the teammates is for them to perform. Be an ass? Fine. Pout? Fine. Whine about your contract? Fine. If you play hard and practice hard and help your teammates reach their goals? All is forgiven. Do none of those things but don’t play hard, well and consistently? The nicest guy in the world will get ostracized pretty quick. Hedo seems like a genial guy, quick with a smile, friendly, all of that. And you can make the case that he has, in some hard-to-define way made the Raptors better: Bosh is having a career season, Bargnani too. Could it be because Turkoglu has made the game easier for them with a flurry of Gretzky assists? Maybe. But it’s just as hard to make the case that the $53-million man has his teammates’ backs and will go to war with them and for them, because he hasn’t so far and it’s getting pretty late for him to prove that he will. Kind makes you feel queasy.”