The Boston Celtics may have found themselves a quartz in the rough with Turkish center, Semih Erden. While not a diamond, Erden could become a gem in the middle for the Celtics after his standout performance in last night’s rout of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Of course, it’s difficult to draw much from one exhibition game, but Erden was near-dominant (3-3 FG, 7-8 FT, 5 REB, 2 BLK) against the Elton Brand-less Sixers.
Erden was drafted by the Celtics in 2008 with the last pick in the draft (60th overall) and then proceeded to play overseas, remaining with Fenerbache Ulker in the Turkish league, winning three titles in four years, before coming to the NBA.
Semih also earned valuable experienced this summer in the FIBA World Championships, finishing second as his host country fell to the U.S. in the finals. Coming off the bench, Erden did net four-of-five shots to finish with nine points.
Now with the Celtics, Erden’s playing time will depend solely on the health of the O’Neal brothers, but it should be expected that their aging frames may only allow for 60-70 games apiece, paving the way for Erden to get some run with the second unit.
It’s also the dynamic that Erden adds with his ability to play 10 feet from the rim that may allow him to play more based on opposing matchups. Combined with his shot-blocking skills and ability to score, there should be a role for No. 86 on the roster.
Whatever Erden’s place with the Celtics, he should prove to be well-worth his draft slot and contribute in spurts, albeit unspectacular, while learning the U.S. style game on the fly in Boston.
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