Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Erden's list of fierce competitors has grown since the start of Celtics training camp. Only this time, it is his teammates, not his opponents, who have pushed him to improve.
"The other day, Semih was leaning on me and I spun off him," Shaquille O'Neal explained. "I told him, 'Listen, there are four guys in the league that you can't lean on like that.' You lean on Dwight [Howard] on the side, you gonna get the lob. You lean on me, I'm gonna spin. You lean on [Kevin] Garnett, he's gonna spin. You lean on [Tim] Duncan, he's gonna spin. I just give him little stuff that he needs to have when he goes up against other guys."
Semih did a decent job in the World Championships… so he's giving all of us a glimmer of hope that he can develop into a solid NBA player.
However, he didn't look great in the summer league. Part of that is because he's very familiar with his Turkish teamates and he wasn't familiar at all with his Celtics summer league teammates… and those guys were also trying to put on their own shows. He was also learning a new system in summer league whereas he knew how to run Turkey's sets.
But he's not quite good enough to overcome those things yet. A good player will be able to get past some of that stuff and still be fairly productive. And… honestly… even with all that familiarity and ideal circumstances… he still only put up 9 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.
Meanwhile, Shaq is being the good teammate and teaching the young guys how to play the game. I'm sure this is something he's done for a while, but it's still nice to hear him embracing that role and teaching someone like Semih how it's done. Let's face it… Shaq's one of the best ever, and Semih may never see a meaningful minute in the NBA. Shaq could cop an attitude and say "why waste my time on a dude who'll never play?"
It's just a nice thing to do… and it's just another little piece to the puzzle that shows what Shaq is going to be on this team… regardless of what he was on past teams.
On Page 2: Another West might make things tough on Von Wafer
"[Mario West] just plays hard, he's a great energy guy, and he could be a defensive stopper," said Rivers. "He needs to improve his offense, but the guys love him because of the way he plays. He plays the right way every single time and he plays for his teammates. He's a great example of a guy that didn't have great offensive skills, but is still in the league because he does everything else right. And he's a low-maintenance guy.
"It's hard to cut guys like that. We lost a guy like that in [Brian Scalabrine]. Those guys make a difference on your team.
"You want a guy who can come in and play hard each day, compete in practice, make your starters better. That's part of the role. A guy who never complains and, if called upon, can come in and help you."
So essentially Boston's decision may come down to whether it's better to take a skilled offensive player, or a guy who might be a little more willing to put in the work but lacks the ability to offer much more than scrappy play off the bench. Then again, an end-of-the-bench player doesn't see much game action anyway, so it might be more beneficial to carry a guy who can push players in practice.
Wafer is a shooter who, in Doc's words, hasn't made a shot yet in camp. And the Celtics have said before they want shooters at that 2/3 position.
So a guy like Mario West… despite his ability to push players in practice… probably won't make the final roster because he doesn't fill the team's stated needs. Remember… Wafer might just be Marquis Daniels insurance. At 6'5", he's a little small to be a 3. But the Celtics should approach this year like Quisy's gonna miss some time.
Like Chris Forsberg says… if this is truly the battle for the 15th spot, then neither guy will get much burn. So to me, that means you take the guy who could contribute in case you need to "break glass in case of emergency."
The rest of the links:
Globe: 2 sport athletes are rare, but Robinson was one | CSNNE: Gaffney taking talents to Turkey | Herald: Support role for Celtics truly Jermaine O'Neal | ProBasketballTalk: Boozer out 8 weeks with broken hand | Noah gets 5 years, $60 million