By: Evan Singleton
Ante Zizic was drafted 23rd overall in the2016 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. For the past year or so, he has been rumored to be the savior of their center issues. Now he is over here playing in the NBA Summer League and I am questioning what his impact will truly be this season.
At 6'11" and 280 pounds, he is certainly physically big enough to be the answer to the Celtics big man issues. He has a 7'0" wingspan as well.
In his 2016-17 Euroleague play, Zizic averaged 9.0 points, and 6 rebounds per game in just about 22 minutes a game. Per 36 min, that comes out to right around 15 points and 11 rebounds a game. So, you can see why the Celtics were, and still are, so high on this kid.
That all being said, Zizic has underwhelmed me in his brief summer league play thus far. So the question arises in my mind, is he ready? He has averaged about 5 points and 5 rebounds a game in 19 minutes of play this summer. That is far from exhilarating or exciting.
Let's start with whether or not he will even make the team. Plenty have said they don't see it happening. However, every source I have talked to has indicated that to be false. Zizic will be on the team. So if he is on the team, is he ready to make any impact? That is the million dollar question.
I will say it, Ante Zizic is not NBA ready just yet. I believe he will be on the team, but I think he is far from giving the Celtics true value at the center position. They just signed Aron Baynes as well. That is a guy that is fairly similar, but more skilled. I expect him to be ahead of Zizic in any rotation makeup.
He does show some potential though...Some of his offensive post moves look great. He is very methodical. He uses his body appropriately.
The highlights are all well and good, but in the video you do not see the sluggishness that has seemed to follow Zizic around this summer. There have been many times Zizic just gets beat down the court, by a mile. There seems to be times when he is just stuck in cement.
So, it is not necessarily his skill that is lacking. In the video above, it is clear he has some valuable fundamentals. It is more of the sluggish play that will hurt Zizic. Which is good news for him. If he can fix that, maybe get into better - more NBA ready - shape, he has a real chance of making it in this league. If he does everything correctly, with his skill set and size, he could be dominant in the near future. However, that is still a ways away.
For the sake of the Celtics, I hope Zizic is able to figure out how to hang with these athletic NBA players. This ain't Euroleague ball anymore, time for the big show.