Erden could get bigger role

The Sports Xchange
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There are changes afoot on the Cavaliers' rotation.

Center Semih Erden has returned from a broken right thumb and will be given every opportunity to win the Cavs' backup center job.

The 7-foot, 240-pound Erden played 17 minutes in the Cavs' 113-105 loss at Utah on Tuesday. He was the first big man off the bench for the Cavs (4-5, 1-3 on their seven-game road trip).

The Cavs are intrigued by Erden's skill set and length. He'll likely take forward-center Samardo Samuels' minutes on the second unit. The 25-year-old Erden has been injured with one ailment after the other since coming to the Cavs in a trade with Boston on Feb. 24, 2011.

Limited to just four games and 64 minutes last season with the Cavs, Erden continued his recent trend by showing up for training camp with a broken thumb. The injury occurred while he was playing in Turkey during the lockout.

In the short period of time he's been on the practice court or in games, Cavs coach Byron Scott likes what he's seen.

"He makes basketball plays when he's out there," Scott said. "Just has a good basketball sense, a good basketball IQ.

"He needs repetition, especially on the offensive end. He needs as much 5-on-5 as he can get right now."

In practice, Erden has shown he has a good post-up game, something that's lacking on the Cavs.

He's getting the bulk of the minutes behind starter Anderson Varejao, who continues to put up good numbers. He's averaging 9.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.88 steals.

Scott also seems to be increasingly tired of the mistakes and lack of production by Samuels. He committed five turnovers in 13 minutes in the loss to Portland. He never got off the bench against the Jazz.

Scott said he's sticking with struggling F Omri Casspi. He's being pushed by F Alonzo Gee, but Scott said he's not ready to make a move with his starting lineup.

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