Tyler Zeller began last season as the starting center for the Celtics. Within three games he fell out of the rotation, soon to become a rarely used option off the bench. Due to his frustrating year and restricted free-agency status, the 26-year-old big man went weeks without hearing any serious offers from other teams around the league. It seemed that his once promising free-agent stock had clearly taken a serious blow with his performance, and any hope of landing a big deal had vanished.
Luckily for the ex-Tar Heel, he and Boston were able to work out a two-year deal worth $16 million, a fair offer given the market of today's NBA. It is unclear at the moment what his role will be going forward, though Zeller did recently express some optimism. Via Jay King of Mass Live, Zeller said:
You never know what's going to happen. I could play really well. Somebody could get hurt. All those things go into it. And at the same time it could be exactly like last year, so you kind of have to just go into it with an open mind and try to come into the season as prepared as possible to try to compete for one of those spots.
Throughout next season there will certainly be moments where Zeller can prove himself and win some minutes in the Celtics rotation, similar to what we saw when he first arrived in Boston. With training camp right around the corner, Zeller has a chance to try and turn a few heads while Kelly Olynyk is out recovering from his offseason surgery. These next two seasons will be considered "prime" years for Zeller given his age, because of this it is important that he solidifies a consistent spot early.
Also, lets not forget that head coach Brad Stevens is a mastermind when it comes to utilizing his players to their full potential, Zeller being no exception to the rule. In fact, after he was shifted to his bench role, the Celtics were 8-1 when Zeller scored in double figures. Anyone who can come into a game and succeed, while not knowing if they will see action beforehand, is a valuable trait in the NBA.
Will C's fans fall in love with Zeller again? Possibly, but only if the opportunity presents itself.
Highlights of a personal favorite performance from last season during a hard fought win versus the Knicks:
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas USA TODAY Sports
Follow: @SWTawes Spencer Tawes 9/24/2016 03:00:00 PM Tweet Edit