Cleveland Cavaliers 2010-11 Season Review: Semih Erden, "Cowboys & Aliens"

Benjamin FlackSenior Analyst IMay 30, 2011

Writer's Note: This is Part 2 of a 15-part series where I review the 2010-11 season of each of the Cavaliers players. Each player will be titled with one of this summer's movies for a little added fun. I couldn't think of any better order to do this so I'm going alphabetically. Today: Semih Erden; up next: Christian Eyenga

Semih Erden only started one game for the Cavaliers after coming over in a trade from the Boston Celtics. On April 11, in Detroit, Erden played 19 minutes at center and grabbed zero rebounds.

I'll repeat 19 minutes at center, he had zero rebounds.

I have no idea how this is even possible. There is no excuse to play center in the NBA and be completely unable to grab a rebound.

(Now, Semih didn't play in the next, and final, game of the season because of "right heel soreness" maybe that's his excuse.)

I feel a little bad starting off this article by ragging on the guy, but the facts are the facts. So we're going to keep piling it on.

According to, Erden averages only 8.2 rebounds per 48 minutes (the league average for centers is 14.2). Also, according to their advanced metrics of plus/minus and such, Erden was the worst player on the whole team.

In his defense, he only played in four games, so it's a very small sample size.

But then the question has to be asked, "Why was he only able to play in four games in a month-and-a-half?"

Erden was injured when he came over from Boston in the trade on February 24. The Turkish product had trouble getting on the court in Cleveland, playing 11 minutes against the Hornets on March 6, but not playing again until April 8.

After the trade deadline, Jackie MacMullan (covered the Celtics for several years for the Boston Globe and now writes for was on the B.S. Report podcast and said that one of the main reasons for parting with Erden, other than to dump salary, was that he hadn't been working hard to rehab from his injury.

It's always a good idea to check out a player's previous team's fans to find out what exactly you're getting.

Both Bill Simmons and MacMullan said that Erden is a fantastic talent and has very real potential to be a solid player in the NBA. But his lack of effort and hard work plagued him in his rookie season.

That is one key to keep in mind: This is just his first season in the NBA after playing professionally overseas since he was 17 years old.

But from his time spent with the Cavs, he unfortunately strikes me as a seven-foot tall Sasha Pavlovic. He shows fantastic skills and athleticism for his size on the offensive end, but a complete and total lack of desire on the defensive.

I was sitting courtside by the Cavs bench for their game in Milwaukee late in the year and had several observations of Erden—a game he was suited up for and played 23 minutes, scoring six points with three rebounds and two blocks.

He played very little defense, if any. He spent a lot of time just gazing around the arena and looking at the fans. During timeouts he didn't appear to be paying any attention to Byron Scott (he might not speak English yet, but still).

But the one that takes the cake was that before the opening tip, when the whole team was huddled and getting a final pep talk, Semih was standing just outside the circle blatantly staring at the Bucks' dancers as they cheered in front of the scorer's table. He wasn't even trying to hide it, head completely turned and staring at them.

On a good note, though, he looked great, and I mean great, with the ball down on the low block. This is a guy who could be a solid scorer off the bench as a backup center.

I chose "Cowboys & Aliens" for Erden's title for multiple reasons.

First, I'm trying to figure out what the heck director Jon Favreau was thinking making this movie? Or what Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford were thinking signing up for this movie?

In the same way, I'm left to wonder, "What in the heck is Semih thinking about out there?" When not in the midst of the action, he looks like a man who is on another planet, or from another planet, making observations of life on alien as it were.

Second, the movie looks like a complete and total waste of its estimated $100 million budget.

And right now, Erden looks like a complete and total waste of God-given basketball talent.

Third, all is not lost with either of these yet. All we've seen of the movie so far is the trailer (underwhelming at best), and all we've seen of Erden in Cleveland is four games. Small sample sizes for both.

I hold out more hope for Semih being successful than I do for "Cowboys & Aliens" to be a film worth watching.

At least we only gave up a second-round pick for him. Jim Paxson gave up a first-round pick for Jiri it could be worse.

You can follow me on Twitter @ClevelandFlack