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Mehmet Murat Okur (born 26 May 1979) is a Turkish retired professional basketball player. Listed at 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m),[1] he played as a power forward and center. He was known for his three-point shooting and ability to space the floor. In his 7 seasons with the Utah Jazz, Mehmet Okur emerged as one of the premier shooting players in the NBA. From 2004-10 Okur displayed a talent for making big shots in pressure situations - earning him the nickname of "The Money Man" and "Memo is Money" amongst Jazz fans. On 13 September 2016, Okur was named a player development coach for the Phoenix Suns, becoming the first Turkish citizen to enter the coaching world in the NBA.

Mehmet Okur
Mehmo.jpg
Personal information
Born (1979-05-26) 26 May 1979 (age 40)
Yalova, Turkey
NationalityTurkish
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight249 lb (113 kg)
Career information
NBA draft2001 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37th overall
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career1997–2012
PositionCenter / Power forward
Number13
Coaching career2016–present
Career history
As player:
1997–1998Oyak Renault
1998–2000Tofaş
2000–2002Efes Pilsen
20022004Detroit Pistons
20042011Utah Jazz
2011Türk Telekom
2011–2012New Jersey Nets
As coach:
20162017Phoenix Suns (player development)
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points8,561 (13.5 ppg)
Rebounds4,436 (7.0 rpg)
Assists1,089 (1.7 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Early careerEdit

He is of Turkish, Albanian, Circassian descents. Okur notes Toni Kukoč was his favorite player while he was growing up.[2] He helped the Turkish 22-and-under national team to 6th place at the 1997 world championship.[3] He was transferred to Efes Pilsen (now known as Anadolu Efes) in 2000 and won a championship in the 2001–2002 Turkish Basketball League season.[4] He averaged 13.5 points per game during his last season in Turkey.[5][6]

Playing careerEdit

Detroit PistonsEdit

Okur was selected 38th overall in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.[7] He played two seasons for the Pistons from 2002–03 to 2003–04, helping Detroit win the NBA championship in June 2004. He became the first Turkish player to win an NBA championship. Due to salary cap limitations, the Pistons were unable to pay a top-level salary for Okur, but he was able to parlay his success into a six-year, US$50 million contract with the Utah Jazz.

Utah JazzEdit

Standing 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) and 290 lbs (132 kg),[1] Okur played the center and power forward positions for the Utah Jazz. In his first season (2004–2005) with Utah, he played in all 82 games, starting in 25 of them. Nicknamed "Memo", Okur made his presence felt during his second (2005–2006) season with Utah, increasing his scoring average from 12.9 points per game the previous season to 18.0 points per game. He started in all 82 games for the second straight season, the only Utah Jazz player to do so. In his third season, he continued to be a key player for Utah.[8][9]

He was named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. He and Ray Allen were selected as replacements for injured original members Allen Iverson and Steve Nash.[10] He was the first Turkish player to participate in this event.

On Monday, 12 January 2009, Okur established a new career high in points scored when he scored 43 points against the Indiana Pacers.

On 10 July 2009 Okur signed a two-year contract extension reportedly worth approximately $21 million.[11]

On 17 April 2010, Okur ruptured his Achilles' tendon during the first game of the post-season against the Denver Nuggets, eliminating him from the remainder of the NBA playoffs, as well as the World Basketball Championships in his native Turkey later that summer.

He returned on 17 December 2010 and scored 2 points against the New Orleans Hornets.

Türk Telekom AnkaraEdit

In September 2011, Okur signed a contract with Türk Telekom B.K. His contract had an out-clause, which allowed him to return to the NBA when the 2011 NBA lockout was resolved.[12]

New Jersey NetsEdit

On 22 December 2011, Okur was traded to the New Jersey Nets for a 2015 second round pick.[13] This reunited him with former Jazz teammate, PG Deron Williams, who was traded to the Nets the previous season.

Portland Trail BlazersEdit

On 15 March 2012, Okur was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers along with Shawne Williams and a 2012 1st round draft pick in exchange for Gerald Wallace.[14] He was waived by Portland on 21 March 2012.[15]

Later in 2012, Okur decided to retire from basketball, citing injuries.[16]

NBA career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Denotes season in which Okur won an NBA championship

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2002–03 Detroit 72 9 19.0 .426 .339 .733 4.7 1.0 .3 .5 6.9
2003–04 Detroit 71 33 22.3 .463 .375 .775 5.9 1.0 .5 .9 9.6
2004–05 Utah 82 25 28.1 .468 .270 .850 7.5 2.0 .4 .8 12.9
2005–06 Utah 82 82 35.9 .460 .342 .780 9.1 2.4 .5 .9 18.0
2006–07 Utah 80 80 33.3 .462 .384 .765 7.2 2.0 .5 .5 17.6
2007–08 Utah 72 72 33.2 .445 .388 .804 7.7 2.0 .8 .4 14.5
2008–09 Utah 72 72 33.5 .485 .446 .817 7.7 1.7 .8 .7 17.0
2009–10 Utah 73 73 29.4 .458 .385 .820 7.1 1.6 .5 1.1 13.5
2010–11 Utah 13 0 12.9 .355 .313 .750 2.3 1.5 .3 .3 4.9
2011–12 New Jersey 17 14 26.7 .374 .319 .600 4.8 1.8 .5 .3 7.6
Career 634 460 29.1 .458 .375 .797 7.0 1.7 .5 .7 13.5
All-Star 1 0 15.0 1.000 .000 .000 2.0 1.0 .0 .0 4.0

[17]

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2003 Detroit 17 0 19.0 .438 .538 .531 4.1 .8 .7 .7 5.5
2004 Detroit 22 0 11.5 .470 .400 .692 2.8 .4 .2 .4 3.7
2007 Utah 17 17 34.4 .388 .316 .786 7.8 1.8 1.4 .9 11.8
2008 Utah 12 12 38.5 .423 .373 .773 11.8 1.9 .7 .7 15.4
2009 Utah 2 2 21.5 .167 .333 .750 5.0 2.0 .0 .5 4.0
2010 Utah 1 1 11.0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.0 .0 .0 .0 7.0
Career 71 32 23.6 .415 .362 .713 5.9 1.1 .7 .6 8.1

Coaching careerEdit

Before working as a coach, Okur was an ambassador for the Utah Jazz from 2014 to August 2016.[18] On 13 September 2016, Okur agreed to a deal that made him one of the newest player development coaches for the Phoenix Suns.[19] Okur would soon become the first Turkish-born coach to ever be a part of an NBA coaching staff in some capacity. With the earlier hiring of Canadian Jay Triano, it would also mark the first time that two foreign-born coaches would take part in participating in the Suns' coaching staff at the same time. He would also be reunited with his former teammate Earl Watson and former coach Tyrone Corbin, although their roles would be different with Watson being the head coach and Corbin being an assistant coach.

After seeing slight improvements in his first season as a player development coach, Okur would be fired alongside assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren and fellow player development coach Jason Fraser on 22 October 2017. The sudden firing would come after the Suns had some very poor performances to start out their 50th anniversary season, leading to a 0–3 start to their season.

Personal lifeEdit

He is married to actress and former Miss Turkey finalist Yeliz Çalışkan. They have a daughter, Melisa, born on 21 March 2007, and two sons, Yiğit Mehmet, born on 19 February 2010, and Mert Mehmet Okur, born on 19 November 2014.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b NBA Player Profile
  2. ^ NBA.com: Mehmet Okur Biography Archived 18 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 February 2007
  3. ^ World Championship fo.net/pd.asp?p=243 TBLstat.net: Mehmet Okur Retrieved 18 February 2007
  4. ^ Turkish Basketball League history Retrieved 18 February 2007
  5. ^ TBLstat.net: Mehmet Okur Retrieved 18 February 2007
  6. ^ https://www.cnnturk.com/magazin/mehmet-okur-evliligimiz-tabii-ki-mukemmel-degil
  7. ^ Draft Profile: Mehmet Okur Retrieved 18 February 2007
  8. ^ NBA.com: Mehmet Okur Archived 19 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 February 2007
  9. ^ Okur named 2007 All Star
  10. ^ Allen, Okur get call to replace injured All-Star players, Retrieved 13 February 2007
  11. ^ "Jazz Signs Mehmet Okur to Multi-Year Extension". NBA.com. 10 July 2009. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Utah Jazz: Mehmet Okur signs with Turkish team
  13. ^ "NETS Acquire Mehmet Okur". NBA.com. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Trail Blazers Acquire Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, And 2012 First Round Draft Pick From New Jersey". NBA.com. 15 March 2012. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ "Trail Blazers Claim JJ Hickson Off Waivers". NBA.com. 21 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ Mehmet Okur announces his retirement from basketball
  17. ^ NBA.com: Mehmet Okur Archived 19 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 19 May 2009
  18. ^ http://purpleandblues.com/2016/09/13/utah-jazz-mehmet-okur-joining-suns-player-coach/
  19. ^ "Suns Add Mehmet Okur, Jason Hervey to Basketball Staff". NBA.com. 13 September 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.

External linksEdit