Darth Sam Hinkie, after a season that saw him force choke the general managers of the Suns and Bucks into giving up the vaunted future Lakers first round pick for Michael Carter-Williams, would be wise to take a look at Cedi "Jedi" Osman and bring him over the dark side with the Sixers' abundance of second round picks in the 2015 draft.
Despite playing overseas this season, Sixers fans may have some familiarity with Osman due to the fact that he plays on Anadolu Efes along with future Sixers Sith Lord Dario Saric. The Turkish native, having just turned 20 years old in April, spent the majority of his 19-year-old season fighting for playing time on the veteran-ladden Efes squad before hitting his stride now in the TBL playoffs, just as Saric is doing.
Osman was the hero of Tuesday's winner-take-all Game 3 against Turk Telekom in the Turkish Basketball League quarterfinals, dropping a career-high 20 point while not missing any of his six shots from the field and draining five three-pointers:
Sizin Seçiminizle Maçın Adamı | 20 Sayı, 1 Ribaund, 2 Top Çalma, 1 blok ve 5/5 3’lük isabeti ile Cedi Osman pic.twitter.com/x7Gkd2Nt4f— Anadolu Efes SK (@AnadoluEfesSK) May 27, 2015
Osman has a decent all-around game, posting 7.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.8 APG in 20.3 MPG across 59 games (24 starts) in Euroleague and TBL competition this season. His shot has fallen a little more consistently than Saric's has this season, as he's making 42.9% of his shots from the field, hitting 35.2% (145 3PAs) of his threes and making 69.3% of his free throws.
This Isn't the Form You're Looking For
Osman, standing 6'8", now finds himself in a starting role for Efes, a move paying off well in the playoffs. In four games so far, Osman is averaging 23.5 MPG, 12.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG while shooting 66.7% from the field (18/27) and 76.9% from three (10/13). Trabzonspor (try actually saying that) needs whomever is guarding Jedi to check him behind the three-point line with a fire extinguisher in hand in the TBL semifinals.
He hasn't always been this successful on his treys though, as he wasn't putting up NBA Jam-infused Stephen Curry numbers on threes earlier in the season. While he's streakily made threes before, it looks like Osman has altered his shooting form as this season has progressed, using his guide hand more in a release that appears less one-handed. Here's a a shot he (#6) makes back in November against Real Madrid that has his previous form:
I like his fiery celebration there, but his form isn't great despite the make. Here's his improved shooting stroke that was on display in his 20-point effort against Turk Teledom:
His shot is quicker with a little more fluidity. His size should allow him to get his shot off in the NBA, but a fast release is so integral to a shooter's effectiveness. Sixers lineups in a few years that have Saric grabbing a rebound, pushing the tempo in the fastbreak game and then finding Osman for the open three while surging up the wing are enticing to imagine.
Box Out. There Is No Try.
Part of Osman's positional versatility, as he's able to spend time in the backcourt and on the wing, is due to his size at 6'8". Given his frequent height advantage on the court, Osman has excelled at crashing the boards this season. With a defensive rebounding rate of 18.3%, Osman is attacking the boards with the efficiency of a player much bigger. As I've discussed previously in regards to Furkan Aldemir's role with the Sixers, rebounding in international competition tends to translate well to the NBA as well.
Only 10 players 6'8" or shorter hit that mark of 18.3% in the NBA this past season, per Basketball-Reference, a list that includes traditional frontcourt players (Kenneth Faried, 22.9%), multidimensional forwards (Draymond Green, 22.4%) and typical swingmen (Kawhi Leonard 20.6%).
Osman has illustrated nice anticipation and timing as a rebounder to put up that gaudy rate, as displayed below in that November contest against Real Madrid:
Once Osman sees that Madrid is going to hoist an ill-timed three from the wing, he immediately turns his attention to boxing out, securing the rebound and beginning to take the ball up the court. His ball-handling ability works so well in tandem with the way he crashes the glass defensively, allowing Efes to run on the break and attempt to get quick transition buckets.
Is He a Sith Villain?
He has the ability to play all three perimeter positions, he cleans the defensive glass and his shot need some refinement, but there's hope for it. Is... Is he Evan Turner?!? He can be a Turner who eschews the concept that he's the best talent in the league, becoming sort of an amalgam of the player ET was in both 2012 and 2013: a good defender who can put the ball on the floor, throw up a 20 piece once every month or two and at least shoot a league-average percentage from deep (Turner shot 36.5% on threes in 2013). Osman's DRB% of 18.3% is also the same as Turner's career rate. Put that all together and that makes for a decent NBA player, one worth trying to grab in the second round and stashing to develop.
When I tune in to watch the homie Dario play for Efes next year, hopefully his young padawan on the court will also be a future Sixer.