By Cory Bernstein
Why we want him: Turiaf meets the "eye test" unlike few players in the NBA. If you lined up every player in the Association and told someone who couldn't recognize anybody in the league "Name the five best basketball players of this group", LeBron would be first. Dwight would be second. Turiaf would be third. Troy Murphy would be last.
Unlike LeBron and Dwight, who are just physical freaks, Turiaf is the definition of a badass. With his menacing stare and massive biceps, I would not want to cross this guy. Turiaf can play some defense to back up his scare persona. On a team with a garbage coach that needs the perfect point guard (Steve Nash or Derrick Rose) for his system, Turiaf was the best post defender. It's actually surprising that Turiaf 17.8 minutes per game this season, because reports have surfaced that Mike D'Antoni benches players who attempt to play defense.
When on the court, the Knicks gave up a putrid 107 points per game. But, when he was off the court this season, the Knicks gave up 113.1 points per game. 113.1! He also averaged over a block per game, a solid number considering the lack of playing time he had this year for the Knicks. Turiaf can defend both the 4 and 5 positions, something that cannot be said about Brook Lopez. He has facial hair, giving him an obvious advantage over his peers. And there’s this video. Mike's edit: And I think he looks a bit like a black Peter DeLuise (from his 21 Jump Street days). Can't go wrong with that!
Why we don't: Turiaf brings nothing to the table on offense at all. He averaged an abysmal 4.2 points per game this year in his nearly 18 minutes of play. 82games.com reveals that his defensive strength is handicapped by his offensive deficiencies. The Knicks scored 107 points per game while he was on the court, and 114 points per game when he was off the court. This is especially pathetic considering that Jared Jeffries was coming in for him at center for a decent portion of the year. He did not show great range this year, getting the few points he would score a game off of tip-ins and dunks. This is odd, as he was known before this year as a decent mid-range shooter. For a guy so big and scary, Turiaf is not a good rebounder.
Of the sixty qualifying centers, Turiaf had a rebounding rate of 10.4, good for fifty-fifth. This is worse than guys like Johan Petrol and Kwame Brown. It would be hard for Turiaf, like Big Baby Davis, to play with Lopez because they are such bad rebounders. This is a major issue for Ronny and how he would fit with the Nets.
Final Verdict: If Ronny Turiaf is starting for the Nets next season, something went wrong this summer. He has an awful offensive skillet and is not a good rebounder. But, off the bench, Ronny could make a great back up big man. As the Bulls, Mavericks, and Thunder are showing, having a good backup big like Turiaf is a huge part of being a contender. Turiaf is a great defender who is the opposite of a "D'Antoni player", which is code for a player who sucks a defense. He could fill in Lopez or Humphries in a pinch, and is a lot more intimidating that a guy like Johan Petro. If Humphries is resigned by the Nets, Turiaf would be a nice backup to bring in for an affordable price. He could only help the Nets, despite his poor rebounding numbers.
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