Mehmet Okur is a former basketball player for the National Basketball Association who last played for the New Jersey Nets. Okur was known for his sharp-shooting skills and defensive abilities. Okur mostly played for the Utah Jazz, where he spent 7 years with them. In 2016, he became a player development coach for the Phoenix Suns, earning him to become the first Turkish coach in NBA.
Career Development in NBA
Okur joined the NBA Draft in the 2001 season, where he was selected by the Detroit Pistons. During his two-year stay with the Pistons, he helped them win the 2004 NBA Championship, making the first Turkish NBA Champion.
By the following year, he signed with the Utah Jazz to become their center and power forward. As mentioned, he spent most of his NBA Career being with the Utah Jazz, where he established a career-high average of 43 points against the Indiana Pacers. However, in 2010, Okur suffered from an Achilles’ tendon rupture when they were playing against the Denver Nuggets, which results in his elimination.
After his stint with the Utah Jazz, he moved to his country for a year to play with Türk Telekom B.K, because his contract with the NBA was not yet resolved. Upon returning to the NBA in December 2011, he was traded to play with the New Jersey Nets, where he reunited with former teammates PG Deron Williams.
First Turkish Coach in NBA
Okur successfully became the first Turkish to become a head coach for the Phoenix Suns. However, Okur got fired alongside Eric Bledsoe and Earl Watson. Okur did not take this well as he posted a sarcastic remark on his Instagram account.
Silver Medalist - 2001 FIBA European Championship