Erden Squares Off With Team USA

Turkey squared off with the United States exhibition-style this morning, and I was able to get my first in-game look at Semih Erden, who the Celtics selected 60th overall in last month’s NBA Draft.

Our brand new seven-foot draftee was up and down.

Early in the first quarter, Erden put promising physicality on display against the man-child, Dwight Howard. Deep down, everybody was well-aware that Howard was the most physically dominant big man on the floor, but Erden didn’t let the 6′11" specimen get into his head. He put a body on him, disrupted him inside, and showed some toughness.

An international center with a physical spirit? I like.

Offensively, he showed terrific fundamentals and a little versatility, as he worked inside as well as stepped out as far as three-point territory (though he missed the shot). Granted, he shot just 1-8 from the floor and scored just five points, but it was nice to see some polish from the 22-year-old.

Physically, he’s no Dwight Howard or even a Carlos Boozer, but he showed some mobility and willingness to run the floor.

From my point of view, his biggest flaw is his fluidity. He has good hands, some toughness, and seems to know how to get position and box out. The problem is that he doesn’t always gain position, on account of his shaky footwork. In addition, he didn’t look like he knew exactly where to be on a few possessions, which is expected from a 22-year-old big.

He did some good things, he did some questionable things, and he looks like a bit of a project. But with the 60th pick, what do you expect? With proper tutelage from our man Clifford Ray in areas such as footwork and timing, Erden may have a chance to make the Celtics’ roster at some point.

For more on the game in general, you can check out my full USA/Turkey game recap here.

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