The log jam in the front court of the Celtics has been a point of concern all year with players going in and out of the rotation almost on a weekly basis. The Celtics have won 10 out of their last 13 games and their two most recent wins have involved Tyler Zeller getting big minutes off the bench. On Tuesday night against the New York Knicks, Zeller played 27 minutes and put up 16 points and 10 rebounds. Last night, Zeller logged 14 minutes and contributed 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.
While Zeller's minutes this season have been sporadic, the big man continues to work on his game to stay ready for when his number is called. Via Jay King of Masslive.com:
When he’s not playing, Zeller spends a considerable amount of time working with assistant coach Walter McCarty who has spent most of this season helping Zeller develop more of a face-up game – something teams aren’t expecting to see much of from a player whose strength thus far in the NBA from an offensive standpoint has been his ability to roll to the rim and finish.
And while things haven’t been as smooth as Zeller had hoped, he’s pleased with doing his part of late to make it tough on head coach Brad Stevens to not playing.
Sean Grande also chimed in with an interesting stat regarding the Celtics record when Zeller plays at least 10 minutes:
Yeah, that would be 10-1. https://t.co/m7XNErzGPB— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) February 4, 2016
Coach Stevens has had a difficult task managing the distribution of players minutes this season and it's hard to blame him for the changing rotation in the front court. With David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, and Tyler Zeller all on the team, it's nearly impossible to keep everyone happy in regards to playing time.
With the NBA Trade Deadline fast approaching in a couple weeks, the Celtics will most likely make a move to clear out some room in the front court. As of right now, David Lee seems like the odd-man out especially since he hasn't logged any playing time since January 10th against the Memphis Grizzlies.
For Zeller, it's a good sign that he's playing well as of late. Last year, he was a starter for most of the 2nd half of the season for the Celts and excelled in Stevens' system. Zeller also started at the beginning of this season but was quickly supplanted by Sullinger and Amir Johnson in the starting lineup. If Zeller continues his recent streak, there's no reason why he shouldn't get consistent minutes. The bench's performance has had a big impact on how well the Cs have been doing this year and it's great to see Zeller getting back into the rotation.
Image Credit: Greg M. Cooper/ USA Today
Follow Kevin Yazhari on Twitter: @KevKevYazhari Kevin Yazhari 2/04/2016 01:32:00 PM Tweet Edit