Less than 24 hours after pulling off one of the biggest NBA trade moves in recent history,the defending Eastern conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers may have gotten a glimpse into the future in rookie forward, Cedi Osman.
Selected with the 31st overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by Minnesota, Osman, a 6’8 216-pound swingman, scored 16 points in his first-ever NBA start during the Cavs 123-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks. In a career-high 39 minutes of action, the 22-year old from Ohrid, Macedonia shot 6-of-9 from the field, including going 2-of-5 from three-point range to go along with grabbing six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
His first double-digit outburst, following a solid nine point, four assist game vs.the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 140-138 nail biter in 21 minutes, gives the Cavaliers franchise and fans reason to be both optimistic and hopeful for the—inevitable—post-LBJ era.
While he has been playing a lot during crunch time and on the third team before the Cavs trade deadline purge in averaging 2.7 points, 1.7 rebounds in 8.6 minutes a game, expect those numbers to spike dramatically after the All-Star break as a vital member of the newly-retooled Cavs 2.0.
Thanks to his height,length and versatility, Osman will more than likely see quality minutes at either shooting guard or small forward. If Tyrone Lue’s post-game comments about having to play him are any indication, expect to see more of the energetic Osman—particularly alongside James and Jeff Green, as per ESPN’s Cavs beat writer, Dave McMenamin—via NBA.com/stats–that the combination of all three on the floor resulted in a net rating of +10.2.
With Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert and Dwyane Wade now elsewhere,Osman will no longer have to contend wit them for minutes on the floor.
Cavalier fans may not know exactly who he first was when acquired in a draft-night swap with the aforementioned T-Wolves for point guard Tyus Jones, Rakeem Christmas and a future draft pick, but it appears that the former Turkish national basketball standout is finally beginning to pay dividends for the Wine and Gold,and will continue to do now in the present, and also in the future as a franchise building block.