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Thursday, December 10, 2009
What's up with Semih?

By Chris Forsberg

Barring the unforeseen, Celtics forward Bill Walker will not be with the team when it visits the Wizards Thursday evening in the nation's capital. But Walker will always be linked to Washington, who selected the Kansas State product in the second round (47th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft before flipping him to Boston in exchange for cash considerations.

Walker is currently on loan to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League as he works his way back from preseason arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He's averaging a team-best 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in four contests with Maine.

With Walker on the mind, we started reflecting on the Celtics' entire 2008 draft class, which included guard J.R. Giddens (1st round, 30th overall) and center Semih Erden (2nd round, 60th overall). If the NBA were like the NFL, the final pick of the draft would be (dubiously) dubbed Mr. Irrelevant, and that's largely what Erden has been in these parts. Take away a brief stop in Waltham to hold up a No. 86 jersey beside Giddens and Walker in a post-draft media session, and Erden's been a complete afterthought.

With Euroleague play in full swing, we checked in on how Erden's doing overseas with his club, Fenerbahce Ulker. According to the league's official website, Erden is averaging 4.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in seven appearances (three starts). Erden's reached double figures just once this season, connecting on 5 of 7 shots for 12 points in a win over Zalgiris on Nov. 25.

A game-by-game glance at Erden's key stats during the Euroleague season:

Oct. 21, 2009 - Regal Barcelona - 3 points, 3 rebounds
Oct. 28, 2009 - Asvel Basket - 6 point, 5 rebounds
Nov. 4, 2009 - Cibona - 2 points, 6 rebounds
Nov. 11, 2009 - Montepaschi Siena - 7 points, 2 rebounds
Nov. 25, 2009 - Zalgiris - 12 points, 6 rebounds
Dec. 3, 2009 - Regal Barcelona - 0 points, 3 rebounds
Dec. 9, 2009 - Asvel Basket - 2 points, 7 rebounds

Erden's career highs in Euroleague play are 15 points (against Panathinaikos on Nov. 29, 2007) and 11 rebounds (vs. CSKA Moscow on Jan. 29, 2009). He averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12 games last season.

Erden, who is 23, is also a member of the Turkish national team.