Tyler Zeller can fill the void of Jared Sullinger
I’ve always liked Tyler Zeller, even when he played for North Carolina. Having him back on the Celtics roster is a good thing for Boston moving forward and while retaining him wasn't the sexy, blockbuster move we had all envisioned, it makes perfect sense.
His two-year deal, as reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, is worth $16 million with a team-option on the second year.
That's Yi Jianlian money right there.
Celtics bringing back Tyler Zeller on a 2-year deal, with the second season at team option.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 23, 2016
The loss of Jared Sullinger, as frustrating of a player as he was in green, is a substantial loss on the boards. Sure, the addition of Al Horford will pick up some slack but what comes after that?
Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and Jonas Jerebko are the other bigs on the roster. They don’t exactly scream confidence on the glass.
But Zeller on the other hand, might be the punch Brad Stevens needs coming off the bench. He has proven that he can score and provide a boost when given minutes, and who could forget #godzeller a couple years back?
Zeller is not a star, not is he a starter at this point of his career. But at 26 years old, he still has room to improve.
One thing to love about Zeller is that he’s low-maintenance; you never need to worry about Zeller taking a terrible shot, he knows his role and never really steps outside of it.
Not only does Zeller provide flexibility on the bench, but he also offers trade flexibility for the Celtics. Like I said earlier, he’s not a very attractive target for teams to go after, but he is good enough to include in a package deal that would convince another team to make a trade.
The team option on the second year of his contract makes a Zeller trade even friendlier; if another team doesn't want to keep Zeller, all they have to do is wait for the offseason and they can take him off their books.
Zeller's contract, in others words, is similar to Jerebko’s and Johnson's deals.
I never fully understood why Zeller didn't get much time on the floor last season after a surprisingly good campaign the season before. I think that he's more consistent than Sullinger is, he's taller and more athletic and he arguably has the softest hands out of any center in the league around the rim.
Let's give him one more chance to prove his worth this season. After all, he can't be traded until December so we might as well let things play out.