CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Rookie Cedi Osman may not be long for the Cleveland Cavaliers rotation, but while he is there, the Turk is making the most of his opportunity.
The 22-year-old had a career night on Saturday, playing a career-high 23 minutes, notching a career-high 10 points. Pair that with his patented brand of energy and hounding defense, and the Cavs have found themselves a nice diamond in the rough.
Entering the game averaging just under seven minutes per night, Osman played the final 15 minutes because of a Utah Jazz small-ball lineup. Channing Frye’s size was neutralized by the Jazz’s speed, but paving the way for the former 31st overall pick to run with them.
“He’s always active,” Head Coach Tyronn Lue said. “He has great hands, plays hard, and sometimes he gets overanxious, sometimes he fouls jump-shooters because he wants to contest every shot. But he plays hard every single night, and that’s all you can ask. I mean, you’re not going to be able to stop these guys in the NBA every single night, especially one-on-one, but if you compete and give effort every night, that’s more than you can ask for, and that’s what Cedi does.”
Osman is already one of the final bodies off of the bench, and with Isaiah Thomas’s return on the horizon, he will eventually be relegated back to a reserve. In the meantime, consistent minutes are priming the rookie for big minutes if needed.
LeBron James said he sees Osman’s mental growth on the floor and a mutual confidence growing between them.
“I said it this morning when you guys asked about Donovan Mitchell, I said ‘the one thing about this league is that when you get an opportunity, you start gaining confidence,’” James said. “Obviously that is what has been happening with Cedi. The coaches have confidence, we trust him on the floor.”
Though he is still just 22, Osman had been playing professionally in Europe since 2011, getting double-digit minutes in the top Turkish division at 16. His knowledge of the game is evident, as well as his finishing at the rim, all honed in his already lengthy pro career.
“He’s a sponge, he plays extremely hard and he knows how to play,” James added. “One thing about European guys is, when they come over, they know exactly how to play. What to do, when to cut, when to shoot, how to pass, they know the fundamentals. We definitely got a good one in Cedi.”
Osman said he was surprised to still be on the floor at time where he would normally be subbed off, but that it was a product of just trying to be at his best. Still caught off-guard when he sees the likes of James, Kyle Korver and Kevin Love flanking him, the rookie remained gracious and humble.
“For me, it’s really amazing being on this team,” Osman said. “We have great players, great coaches. This is a championship team. From the first day when we came as new players, we understood we have to leave as champions. From the first day.”