Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Ante Zizic admits he needs time to adjust to NBA speed

Ty Anderson
July 10, 2017 - 8:42 pm

Globetrotting big man Ante Zizic has dominated almost every league he’s joined.

But the NBA isn’t some league in the basements of Croatia, and the 20-year-old is already learning that with his first jump into the 2017 NBA Summer League. With minimal impact in his first few games of summer action, Zizic was undoubtedly at his best in the club’s 70-64 win over the Trail Blazers, with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Still, there’s more work to be done, and everybody knows it.

"Everything is much faster. But I think right now, today I played really good,” Zizic, who has been one of his harshest critics this summer, told reporters after the win. “After training camp I will be ready 100 percent for this style of game. And of course there's a lot of -- here, they prefer a game of 1-on-1. And I'll find my role."

"I think he's just getting comfortable with the game," Celtics summer league coach Walter McCarty told "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."

The Summer League is for this exact purpose, of course, but at some point, the C’s will need to figure out Zizic’s role for the 2017-18 club. Or at least acknowledge the truth of the situation and consider the fact that Zizic may not yet be ready for a major role.

The Aron Baynes signing seemed like a move to somewhat address their questions marks over Zizic’s potential impact (which has been largely overblown by many C’s fans), and it seems as if the Celtics are preparing for some hiccups along the way. But with an already smallish frontcourt headlined by Al Horford and with Jae Crowder and Marcus Morris capable of playing minutes as a power forward, the losses of both Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk will almost have to lead to Zizic finding a way to make something happen for the Celtics. 

“I expect a little bit more from myself,” Zizic said. “I need just a little bit of time to [adjust] to this style of game.”

In the meantime, expect the C’s to work Zizic as hard as they can.

And Zizic himself to do the same.

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