Hedo Turkoglu's performance for the Orlando Magic over the last month-plus has raised serious concerns about his viability as the team's starting shooting guard. The 12-year veteran is averaging just 10 points per game on 37.6 percent shooting from the field since February 1st and has seldom, if ever, looked less lethal offensively than he has during that span. His prolonged slump is particularly puzzling given his strong start; in his first 19 games, his scoring average stood at 12.1 points per game, and he connected on 43.4 percent of his field-goal tries and 43.3 percent of his three-pointers.
Regardless of the cause, Turkoglu's cratering productivity has Magic fans--on the comments section of this site and, I'm sure, others--wondering if coach Stan Van Gundy ought to shift him to the bench. Would a change in role benefit Orlando in the long term?
But Van Gundy has given no sign he intends to bench the struggling forward, telling Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel before Monday's 85-59 shellacking at the hands of the Chicago Bulls that he hadn't considered benching Turkoglu.
To be sure, shuffling the lineup this late in the season, with less than 20 games remaining, could be risky. Coming off the bench isn't something to which Turkoglu is accustomed, for one, having played a reserve role just 14 times in 430 overall appearances over the last five-plus seasons. Further, Turkoglu always seems to play at his best when he's engaged and handling the ball; would forcing him to enter a game cold, so to speak, have an averse effect on his intensity level?
There could be benefits, though: playing Turkoglu with the second unit would free backup point guard Chris Duhon to play off the ball more often. Given his three-point accuracy and sky-high turnover rate, and it's easy to understand why he might benefit from such a change.
So, should Van Gundy at least consider a lineup change to energize Turkoglu and his team? Or would it make more sense to stay the course with the present starting five? Vote below.
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