"[Erden has] performed well, the concern is that he has struggled defensively at times and our first unit has been unbelievable defensively, so you can see they were concerned by that," said Rivers. "[Before Thursday's game], when we were going over stuff… they were pretty hard on him about defense. You don't come into our group and screw things up."
Even if he did, Erden won't get nervous because of it, which explains why a veteran like Garnett is so impressed by the frontcourt import, who isn't afraid to bark back, language barrier be damned.
"He has confidence and everything," said Garnett. "He has a lot of it, and doesn't mind telling you about it."
Nothing earns you KG's respect quite like having the sack to stand up for yourself. A lot of the veterans will push you just to see if you push back… to see if you've got what it takes when the excrement hits the spinning blades.
Clearly Semih does… which is part of why he's contributing right now. He's still got a lot of work to do… but the's a nice stopgap until the rest of the troops get better. And playing against all these guys in practice is only going to make him better. He's going to be a nice back up center as we move forward.