Mehmet Okur: Player Profile

Name: Mehmet Okur

Position: C/PF

Date of Birth: May 26, 1979

Hometown: Yalova, Turkey

Height: 6-11

Weight: 260

Experience: 9

Drafted: 2nd round, 37th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2001

High School: Cem Sultan in Gazicilar Bursa, Turkey

Salary: $10,890,000

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  • Offense: Offensively, Okur’s game is actually pretty similar to Brook Lopez’s, with just a bit more range. Okur has a nice shot behind the arc (career 38% from there) and up around the key. Like Lopez, Okur isn’t as strong in the post as he probably could be. He prefers mid-range to outside jumpers and takes the majority of his shots from that area. If he stays healthy, Okur’s scoring numbers should go up, potentially to the point of his All-Star years. Kris Humphries simply isn’t a strong scorer and Okur will have to immediately replace Brook’s production. I think the former Jazz center will be the guy to carry that load.

    Okur is going to have to be more productive on offense for him to make an impact with this roster. This is going to require more minutes and more shooting opportunities in the paint from him. The Nets have quality three-point shooters in Anthony Morrow, Shawne Williams and DeShawn Stevenson, and they don’t need Okur’s long range game as much — they need him to be a presence down low with Humphries. The only way this happens is if Okur finds a way to stay healthy during this shortened season, and while reports say he’s 100% ready for this upcoming year, it’s his biggest question mark throughout his Nets tenure.

  • Defense: On this side of the ball, Okur is a very good rebounder and shot blocker. At 5.2 defensive rebounds a game his last full season in the league, he should pair nicely with Humphries and the two of them should be a good duo underneath the basket. Unlike with Brook Lopez (and his “laziness” last season), I think Humphries’s dominating presence on the glass will help Okur and his rebounding game. Okur spent many seasons with Utah paired with another dominating rebounder in Carlos Boozer, who like Humphries, also out-rebounded him on the defensive end. But, Okur stayed consistent with his rebounding numbers and I expect that progress to continue throughout the year.

    Like with offense, it’s difficult to judge exactly how much of an impact Okur will have this season. His appearances last season were minimal and no one has really seen Okur since coming back from a ruptured Achilles and a season’s worth of back pain. If he’s as healthy as he says he is, Okur’s a difficult player to play man-to-man on, as he’s always a threat for a big stop or block when needed.

  • 2011-2012 Outlook: Predicting Mehmet Okur’s upcoming season is a challenge. I can’t honestly say what he will bring to the Nets. He’s coming off a 2010-2011 season where he played just thirteen games with zero starts, thanks to a chronic back injury. He was entering that season with a surgically repaired Achilles tendon. These are serious injuries for a big man, especially one that the Nets are planning on using as an immediate starter, and after we see Johan Petro take the court on Monday, I’m guessing we’ll be begging to see Okur in his place very soon. The question is, will he be durable enough to do it?

    On top of all this, Okur is 32, and his better days are behind him. Granted, his last season’s drop in statistics are definitely due to injuries and the fact that he played just 13 games at 12 minutes per game. But this is the question with Okur — was last year a fluky, injury-heavy season that he will bounce back from? Or is he now an injury-prone, aging center that will be difficult to rely on?

    Okur projects as a starting center until Brook Lopez returns, and the Nets need it. But, when Lopez does return, he’ll have to become a quality guy off the bench. The Okur trade was a smart move not just as a means of replacing the starting center, but also in terms of adding more depth to a depleted power forward / center position.

    It’s also worth noting that Okur had his best years when Deron Williams was his point guard. These two guys had chemistry in the past and hopefully that will pick back up again if the Nets want to start winning now.

  • Facts of Life: Mehmet Okur was a fan-favorite in Utah because of his “affable personality that was expressed through charming broken English and friendly facial features.”

    His nicknames include “Memo” and “Money.”

  • Twitter: @MehmetOkur13

    Relevant Jay-Z Lyric:

    Now I’m Titanic, Iceberg’s the name
    Leave players on injured reserve, hurt the game
    The best way to describe me in a word, insane

    -Jigga My N***a