The Cavaliers acquired Ante Zizic in their blockbuster trade of Kyrie Irving. The seven-foot 20-year0old Croatian has been regarded as one of the top European prospects since he was 16-years-old. The Boston Celtics selected him 23rd overall in the 2016 NBA Draft as a draft and stash pick. In a hilarious twist, he spent last year playing under ex-Cavs head coach David Blatt for the Turkish team Darüşşafaka Doğuş. During his time in Turkey, Blatt dubbed him “Baby Shaq” because of the athleticism he showed for his size.
This summer, Ante played for Boston’s summer league team in Vegas. Zizic looked sluggish early on, but later showed a lot of potential the more minutes he played. Boston’s summer league coach, Walter McCarty, touched on how he looked in an interview after their game against the Philadelpia 76ers.
“I think he’s just getting comfortable with the game. 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.”
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) August 24, 2017
He is still a raw prospect, but his size and athleticism will immediately translate to the NBA. His lack of experience is his biggest weakness. The Cavs now have two interesting prospects at center with Zizic and Edy Tavares. One of them, if not both, will hopefully develop into the Cavs’ big man of the future. As for next season though, I wouldn’t put too high of expectations for either to contribute a whole lot to this roster. The best case scenario would be if either him or Tavares could contribute a few minutes per game in relief for Tristan Thompson or Channing Frye.
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