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Practice Notes (11/1/10) Part II: Shaq Sits, Erden's Possible Debut, and Jermaine's Return

Erden's Debut?

Doc Rivers doubts that Shaquille O'Neal will play tomorrow against the Pistons. In fact, he wasn't sure as to whether or not he would even make the trip to Detroit.

However, Rivers said that his brother (Jermaine) had a good practice and will play tomorrow.

Another player who could see some time tomorrow is Semih Erden. Erden could make his NBA regular season debut if J.O. runs into foul or injury trouble at some point and Shaq can't go.

"It depends on what Shaq does obviously, but yea there's a good chance [Erden plays]," Rivers said. "He looks ok. Still has ways to go but he's trying his best and that's all you can ask for as a coach."

According to Rivers, Erden has picked up bits and pieces of a lot of things, but hasn't gotten down a particular thing well.

"Defensively he's ok at doing our stuff. Offensively he's a great picker, a roller, needs to learn how to finish better. I mean, he's really struggling at the basket but he'll get that."

Erden is dealing with some injuries of his own while trying to handle the physicality of the game.

"He has a bad hand, a bad shoulder, and he's playing against us every day in practice," Rivers said. "So that combination - and us refereeing which may be even the most important factor for him because I haven't seen a foul this year in practice and we don't call them very often."

While Erden may not have earned himself any playing time as of yet, he is earning the respect of his teammates, and not just any "Average Joe" NBA players either.

"He's coming along man," Paul Pierce said. "I see a big man who has great skill, great basketball IQ. It's about getting him some repetition, getting him some in-game play. Hopefully this will be an opportunity for him on this trip to Detroit because I really think he can help us out. You know, he's being asked to back up Shaq and Jermaine and he plays against these guys every day. He's getting that experience in practice it's just about getting it in the game."

"He plays against Shaq every day so he has no choice but to get better," Garnett said. "He plays against J.O. every day and all the bigs. Semih's very skillful. He has a very, very, high IQ when it comes to basketball, just him learning our plays in our system. He plays really, really, hard. We love him here. He fits right in. Even though he is a foreigner, you can't tell. The way he dances and the way he interacts. The way he associates himself with us, he fits right in with this group."

There's no doubt Erden has been picking up tons of notes matching up against his fellow teammates. Just the other week, Erden put a move on Shaq that he wouldn't soon forget.

"He gave me a move in that open scrimmage the other day," O'Neal said. "Real nice move. Pump fake move and I jumped and when I looked he was already under the basket throwing it down. So that just told me that he has the potential to go at anybody whenever he wants to."

Shaq didn't practice today but instead did some swimming. The knee feels better than it did on Friday, but there is still some pain when he puts enough pressure on it. When he can push off and feel little to no pain he will be ready to go.

Jermaine's Return

If one good thing can come out of the potential loss of Shaq for tomorrow's game, it's the fact that Jermaine should get some good run with the first team - something he has yet to have much of.

J.O. only logged 13 minutes on Opening Night, and fouled out the next game after just 12 minutes, a time in which he says is the quickest he's fouled out since he picked up a basketball. He didn't dress for Friday's game against the Knicks, so Tuesday will be a big change for the big man.

"I'm expecting to go out there and play well," O'neal said. "You guys will know right away at the end of the game in the locker room how I'm feeling. If I played well I'm going to be smiling, if I didn't play well it's going to be more angry, a focus that I need to get back to doing things the right way.

"We're going to have bumps and bruises throughout the year. Whether it's myself, Shaq, KG - we have guys who have logged a lot of minutes. We just have to do our job. Shaq was able to pick it up when I was out, now I have to try to find a way to pick it up when he's out."

O'Neal does not want to make any excuses, but admits that there is a lot of change that he is starting to adapt to. He also admits that his offense is ahead of where his defense is at this point, and that the injuries have prevented him from being in the shape he wants to be in at this time.

"First of all when you come to a new team and you're playing a in a new system, that's an extreme challenge," He said. "Coming to a team that has all these good options is another challenge. Also coming off of the bench for the first time in 13 years has been a challenge. Getting your motor going and you have to sit on the bench until basically the end of the first quarter. So that's been a little bit of a challenge.

"It's been everything, outside of the injuries, that I thought it would be. I thought that we would be able to get through some of the kinks through preseason but I missed half of the preseason so this challenge that I'm continually talking about is something that I thought I would go through, minus the injuries."

Kevin Garnett is excited to be able to spend some quality time with O'Neal on the court.

"I'm always looking to build chemistry with anybody who I haven't played a lot with," Garnett said. "J.O. has been beat up a little bit so it will obviously be good to be out there with him. Preseason we had some time together so that was a good feel but just getting him back in rhythm and him associated with us and what we do with the first team ... it's good to have him back."

Shaq has been able to fit in nicely early on with the first unit, and credits it to the fact that he's played with similar players like these Celtics throughout his career.

"It's all about just playing with the guys and getting to know each other," Shaq said. "Throughout my career I've played with similar guys at every positions. I've always had shooters on my team so I know where Ray wants the ball. I've always played with great power forwards so I know how to get it to Kevin Garnett too. I've always played with a main scorer so I know where Paul wants the ball and how he wants the ball. And I've always played with unselfish point guards. So I'm the type that I can just fit in because I know these guys.

"Jermaine is also that type of player but it's probably going to take him a couple games and a couple more practices to get in with the guys."

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