Boston Celtics Fans Should Be Patient With Big Man Ante Zizic As He Adjusts To NBA Play
One of the biggest issues the Boston Celtics faced last year was their lack of rebounding. In fact they were the worst rebounding team in the playoffs last season.
One of the goals this offseason was to find someone who could help them out in that department. Many hope it could be Ante Zizic who has been stashed overseas by the Celtics.
Ahead of NBA Summer League Zizic said his main role with the team would be rebounding which makes sense. But everything isn’t going according to plan right now.
In Summer League he has had his fair share of struggles, and the reason is the learning curve from Europe to the United States. The 20-year-old big man had by far his best game on Sunday night against the Portland Trail Blazers with 9 points and 11 rebounds. But even with that, there is a ton of work to be done with his game.
“Everything is much faster. But I think right now, today I played really good,” Zizic, who has been one of his harshest critics this summer, told reporters after the win. “After training camp I will be ready 100 percent for this style of game. And of course there’s a lot of — here, they prefer a game of 1-on-1. And I’ll find my role.”
The Boston Celtics coaching staff is also aware of Zizic’s need to adjust to the differences in play.
“I think he’s just getting comfortable with the game,” Celtics summer league coach Walter McCarty told MassLive.com. “A lot of times he goes to the rim, he’s sealing for such a long time that by the time the play happens so fast and gets downcourt, he’s a step behind. So I think he’s finding the medium of sealing, it’s not there, don’t get the offensive rebound, I don’t have it, recognize it, and get out down the court.”
Of course the best play for Zizic to work on his game is in NBA summer league. The fact that he has shown improvement already is great news for the Boston Celtics. But with the team signing center Aron Baynes to a one-year deal it looks like the C’s have made other plans to replace the minutes of Amir Johnson.
There are still those that view Zizic as the starting center option for Boston including CSNNE NBA insider A. Sherrod Blakeley who has the Croatian center penciled in as the starter at the moment.
Ultimately it looks like the move for Baynes signals that the Celtics do not view Zizic as their starting center. Of course that can all change as Summer League and the off-season progresses. But for now it is important to give Ante Zizic some time to adjust.
“I expect a little bit more from myself,” Zizic said. “I need just a little bit of time to [adjust] to this style of game.”
If Zizic or Baynes isn’t the answer, it could be Guerschon Yabusele who was the 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft. And according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, a player that the Celtics plan to have on their roster in the fall.