Name: Mehmet Okur
Date of Birth: May 26, 1979
Hometown: Yalova, Turkey
Drafted: 2nd round, 37th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2001
High School: Cem Sultan in Gazicilar Bursa, Turkey
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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.
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.
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.
His nicknames include “Memo” and “Money.”
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