I've asked our frequent contributor on European hoops, Fabio Anderle, to provide us the rundown on the man Danny has called our 2009 First Round Pick, Semih Erden. Enjoy, and thanks Fabio. Below are his thoughts.
What can I say about Semih Erden that hasn't already been written here and there? If I had to use only a word to describe him, I would say "potential". Because Semih is potentially a good NBA center. He's definitely tall, and he is definitely... raw. When he can attack the rim that's his best suit because of his outstanding coordination, but the minute he is forced to cough up a one-on-one move, his lack of dribbling fundamentals surfaces very fast. He's been credited of a nice mid-range jumper, but I haven't seen a lot of that to date. Semih can be smooth when he quickly drifts to the basket for an explosive dunk, and for a 7-footer he runs the floor quite well.
Still, sometimes he disappears in the heat of the game, and becomes just an afterthought while everybody seems to score points, dish assists and grab rebounds...except him. Some Turkish fans are pretty sure he'll be an NBA All Star one day, the legit Mehmet Okur 2.0. I beg to differ until he'll show a more consistent effort and focus and cut down his off-moments. As soon as Semih finds himself farther than 15 feet from the basket, he looks as if he is in real trouble. Still, he can show flashes of beast-like aggressiveness, especially when he can rip defenses driving deep and dunking the basketball. His pick and roll is particularly dangerous, he cuts to the basket like a knife and his decent receiving skills enable him to pose a real threat to defenses not fast enough at blocking the path in the paint. And once he is in the hoop area, with that 7-1 and his incredible wingspan, he is quite difficult to stop.
His defensive awareness is still under the par, especially when he is forced to perform defensive rotations. Some critics expressed concern about his attitude, too laid back and sometimes sulky. At times he loses intensity, and looks frustrated. But during the last campaign he seemed to get more and more assertive, although, in spite of his height and wingspan, he wasn't able to defensively take control of games. If he showed the will to succeed of a Leon Powe or of a Kendrick Perkins I could dare to say that we have found the Celtics big man for the next decade, but until he shows more consistency and some fire, I will still look at him as... "potential".