BOSTON (CBS) — Ante Zizic says he’s ready for the NBA, and it’s clear that the 20-year-old is focused on the Boston Celtics this summer.
The Croatian big man has reportedly decided not to play for his country during this summer’s EuroBasket tournament, instead setting his sights on the 2017-18 NBA season. The EuroBasket tournament runs from August 31 to September 17, which would likely interfere with Zizic participating in Celtics training camp.
The hype train is going full steam on Zizic, who the Celtics drafted with the 23rd overall pick last year. He impressed overseas after being drafted, first for KK Cibona in the Adriatic League before transferring to Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul in Turkey. He averaged nine points and 6.7 rebounds over 20 Euroleague games, turning some heads in the process.
We’ll get a better look at Zizic this summer, as he’s expected to suit up for Boston in the Utah and Las Vegas Summer leagues.
One of the Celtics’ biggest weaknesses over the past few seasons has been their rebounding, and there is little doubt the 6-foot-10 Zizic could help in that department. But it’s still important to temper expectations for the 20-year-old, who has yet to see an NBA floor.
Zizic could easily find himself on the roster next October, as Boston could find themselves short on big men heading into the 2017-18 campaign. Amir Johnson is expected to depart via free agency and Tyler Zeller (whose $8 million contract for next season is not guaranteed) and Kelly Olynyk (restricted free agent) are also potential subtractions from the depth chart. All of that could open up a slot for Zizic on the Boston roster next season, but he’ll still have to earn that spot (and any future playing time) during the Summer Leagues and training camp.