Today in Celtics history: Bowen signed, Erden born
Today, July 28th, marks the twentieth anniversary of the Boston Celtics signing wing Bruce Bowen.
Bowen, who nearly didn't make it in the league early on after going undrafted in the 1993 NBA Draft, ended up heading overseas early in his career for a few years, then playing his way onto the Miami Heat off a 10-day deal in 1997. That summer, the Celtics picked him up as a free agent for his first real NBA deal, a two-year contract worth just under a cool million.
Bowen guarding his Airness
Bruce was far from the player who'd later become a key part of the San Antonio Spurs' rotation in the 2000s, however, only logging 4.5 points, 2.5 boards and 1.2 assists per game without having developed the fearsome defensive skills he'd later be known for. As a result, he bounced around the league a bit more after his deal with Boston was up, spending time with the Philadelphia 76ers and a return to the Heat before settling into his role (and defense) under coach Greg Popovich in San Antonio.
Test your Celtics knowledge. What was Rick Pitino's famous and wrong quote years ago about Bruce Bowen?
Today is also the birthday of Boston's "first" Semi, if you can call Semih Erden that. Erden, who played for Turkish club Darüşşafaka long before the current Semi's teammate Ante Zizic in 2003-04, after which he played with a few other European teams before being selected by the Celts with the final pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.
He completed his contract with Turkish club Fenerbahçe before joining the team in the 2010-11 season, and while behind three centers (Shaquille O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins and Jermaine O'Neal) in the rotation, still managed to earn a fair amount of playing time due to injuries. He put up 4.1 points, 2.9 boards and .06 rebounds during his stay with the club, which ended when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers with Luke Harongody for a second-round pick.