Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Semih Automatic

The Celtics are off to a terrific 17-4 start and have established themselves as an early favorite to win the NBA championship. With a roster full of stars and future Hall of Famers, the Celtics wear down their opponents and often look like they are playing against the Washington Generals when their offense is clicking. One of the most surprising contributors in the early going has been Semih Erden, the team's 7-foot rookie center from Turkey. The 24-year-old was Boston's second round pick in 2008 and spent the lasy two years playing and developing in Turkey. He was brought to Boston this summer as Danny Ainge was trying to add desperately needed height to his roster but when Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal signed with the Celtics, Erden became an afterthought. Erden has provided Doc Rivers with a valuable interior presence off the bench, giving Rivers the ability to shorten the minutes of veteran big men Kevin Garnett and Shaq while Jermaine O'Neal and Kendrick Perkins are working to come back from injuries. His numbers - 3.4 pp and 2.2 rpg - do not begin to tell the whole story of his contributions. Erden has a solid offensive game and has surprised me with his ability to rebound and defend. Working with Garnett, the O'Neals, and Glen Davis on a daily basis has made a positive impact on Erden's game. This Celtics team is built to win the championship this year but I can't help but look into the future when Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen have retired. Rajon Rondo will assume control of the team at that point but young players such as Semih Erden give the Celtics hope that they will continue their recent run of success for years to come.

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