With LeBron James’ exit from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cavs will have to rebuild. But unlike last time James left, when the Cavs’ leading scorer was 34-year-old Antawn Jamison and the most exciting rookie was Christian “Skyenga” Eyenga, the team has plenty of young assets to begin the rebuild.
One asset and probably one of the biggest is Turkish sensation and Cavs Twitter’s prodigal son Cedi Osman.
When Osman first came to Cleveland, fans were just excited off highlight footage from overseas and the fact they had an actual rookie on the roster. (It’s been a while over the last four years.) But, after some strong, albeit limited, minutes when both Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas were out, #CediSZN was born and took Cavs fandom by storm.
With what Osman brought to the table in his rookie season, the hype made sense.
Unlike most of the 2017-18 Cavs, Osman played with a ton of heart and hustle and was a sparkplug on the defensive side of the ball. When he was not playing, Osman was the team’s biggest cheerleader, who was always the first up and cheering for every big play the team made.
King James himself frequently referred to Osman as, “his rookie” and appreciated that Osman was one of the first players at practice every morning. You could see how much ‘Bron loved his rook when he sought him out after hitting the game-winning shot over the Minnesota Timberwolves:
There’s even more to this relationship. One that is both founded in normal teammate bonding, but apparently expands beyond that realm.
When James packed his bags and headed to the City of Angels, Osman shared a heartwarming message:
Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best. And there are remarkably rare ones, who just bring out the most of everything that even you don't know that you have. They build you up. They make you feel alive. They make you feel strong. They make you feel indisputable. From the first moment we met, you’ve always been that rare one for me, King. I don’t believe in coincidences. I choose to believe my path crossed with you for a reason. And that reason will be uncovered as I continue to walk through. Please accept my highest gratitude for your support and appreciation for your inspiration. I’m truly blessed to have been surrounded by your charm. Bazı insanlar doğanızdaki kötü tarafları ortaya çıkarır; bazıları ise içinizdeki iyiyi katlayarak yansıtmanızı sağlar. Ama bazı özel insanlar vardır ki, onların sayısı çok azdır, sahip olduğunuzun farkında bile olmadığınız yönlerinizi parlatmanızı sağlar. Sizi geliştirir, yaşadığınızı hissettirir ve güçlü olduğunuzu hatırlatır. Kral, ilk buluşmamızdan itibaren benim için eşsiz biri oldun. Biliyorum ve inaniyorum ki seninle yolumuz özel bir nedenle kesişti. Bu özel neden, hayatım boyunca benimle olmaya devam edecek. Verdiğin tüm destek için sana kalpten teşekkür ediyorum. Seninle geçirdiğim her dakika için minnetarım. Yolun açık olsun…
Is someone cutting onions? Or is it just me?
But, with James now gone, Osman is the heavy favorite to be the team’s starting small forward next season. But with limited playing time last year, the jury is still out on Osman’s claim to the team’s starting three. Fear not, because, after a year with the Cavaliers, their player development really appears to be paying off this summer.
During Turkey’s quest for qualifying for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Osman has been the team’s best player. In his two appearances during European qualifiers, Osman averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 0.5 assists in just 22.9 minutes per game. His best game came against Sweden, where he showed a few glimmers of what to expect in Cleveland this season:
Notice that three-point motion seconds into the video? It looks freakishly similar to the stroke of Cavs sniper Kyle Korver. Osman’s stroke continues to look Korver-esque whenever he steps up to the free throw line as well. He also looks like he picked up some swagger from playing with the Cavs as Sweden looked hapless all game long trying to contain the Turkish delight.
But, despite the fact that Osman played in a high-level tournament, people will still doubt the footage as it was European talent. Well, after finishing up with the Turkish national team, Osman flew across the world to link up with the Cavs in Las Vegas in time for the annual Summer League.
In the team’s first summer game against the Washington Wizards, Osman showed no jetlag as he again looked dominant:
Defense is where Osman really made his impact in this summer scrimmage against the Wizards. To start the game out with a steal and then a crushing block moments later was a great glimpse of what practicing against a championship caliber team does for a young player.
On offense, Osman showcased again that silky-smooth stroke of his from three and made plenty of smart plays to find Ante Zizic down low. Osman was spectacular in the Cavs opening Summer League game, and only drives up the excitement for what’s to come this season.
As mentioned before, the Cavs have a huge opening at the small forward spot after James’ exit.
After not playing much last season, Osman looks primed to take the mantle and carry on the torch as the team’s starting three. Credit to the Cavs’ player development staff, as not many people expected the moppy headed Turkish sensation to be here already.
Osman, along with Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr., and Ante Zizic give the Cavs an amazing young core that will only get better with time. But, for now, Osman appears to be the best of the before-mentioned foursome, and it feels great as the team’s biggest cheerleader takes the next big step.
The summer of Cedi has officially begun, and fans could not be more excited.