The Boston Celtics draft night party on the floor at the TD Garden – an annual exclusive event for season ticket holders – was a real downer this year.
Fans let out some boos while watching on TV as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the Celtics had taken Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick and people started to file out when Guerschon Yabusele – another unpopular choice – was announced at the 16th overall pick. The crowd was pretty sparse by the time Boston was on the clock again, where they took Ante Zizic 23rd overall.
Maybe fans have come around to this draft or maybe they still think Ainge messed it all up, but it’s becoming clear that some rival teams out there are starting to agree with the moves Boston made back in June. Sporting News NBA columnist Sean Deveney recently spoke to one anonymous general manager and another anonymous international scout, learning in the process that team across the league are really coming around on Zizic.
A lot of this has to do with how well Zizic is performing overseas. He began the season with KK Cibona – a team from his native country of Croatia – and was flat out dominant. The 6’11” center averaged 18.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 24 game with Cibona while shooting an impressive 67.2% from the floor, even earing Player of the Week honors in the ABA League once.
His great play in Croatia forced a move to the Darussafaka Dogus, a Turkish based team in the much more competitive Euroleague. It was thought that Zizic would be just a role player for the Dogus, but the step up in competition would be better for him then just staying in one of Europe’s weaker league and cleaning up the competition. But through 11 appearances with his new club, Zizic has wound up starting six of the games and he’s slowly starting to play more minutes each week as he’s already becoming one of their better players.
His stock is shooting up right now because of how well he’s played in Turkey. The general manager that Deveny spoke to says if Zizic – who just turned 20-years old in January – waited one more year to enter the draft “he would almost certainly be a lottery pick in this draft, maybe top ten, even though this is a deeper draft than last year. He would be better than a draft pick, really, because you can see what you’re getting.”