• Trade deadline was fun but it’s now over and some teams will be entirely focused on player development for the rest of the year which will hopefully give us a chance to break down the game of more international prospects from around the league!

    Fred Hoiberg is not a system guy and he likes to run actions based on the strength of his personnel. That’s the main reason why relatively unknown guys like Paul Zipser are able to distinguish themselves in his environment. The German native began his professional career in his hometown with USC Heidelberg in 2010 and jumped on to the majors in 2013 when he signed a four-year deal with Bayern Munich. He strongly considered playing NCAA basketball until the extra bone he was born with in his right foot proved too troublesome and sidelined him for a stretch. He also tore a knee ligament in 2014 but recovered enough to start alongside Dirk Nowitzki at the 2015 European championships. Next season he played 40 league games for Bayern Munich, averaging 7.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 18.5 minutes per contest. Even though he was named the League’s Best German Young Player, his minutes and productivity dipped against the bigger clubs in the Euroleague and Eurocup, raising questions about his NBA readiness. In June 2016, Zipser attended the Adidas Eurocamp, a basketball camp based in Treviso, Italy for the NBA Draft prospects. The German forward impressed everybody, winning the MVP award of the event and reminding everybody all the good things that he brings to the floor. Zipser is a combo forward with good size who can shoot the ball beyond the arc, play solid defense and do all the little things that coaches (and scouts) love in a role player, covering for the fact that he is not an elite athlete and his lateral quickness is just average.

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    An Effective Tweener

    Zipser came into his rookie season with an NBA-ready body since the combination of size and athleticism for a wing is what got him selected in the draft. Standing at 6’8″ with a 6’11” wingspan and weighing in at 210 lbs, he is a high energy guy that can guard a variety of positions whether on the perimeter against wing players, small-ball or stretch fours, and can even handle power forwards in the post. Playing as a four but showing skills of a three is what makes him extremely valuable in today’s NBA as he can be the ideal three and D combo forward.

    Even though he had some injuries early in his career, Zipser has looked absolutely ready from a physical perspective, using his long arms, big hands and a strong body frame, while his maturity and craftiness make him the perfect role player. His energy, his experience and his explosiveness allow him to attack the rim when he recognizes a favorable mismatch, using his size against smaller players and his quickness against taller players. Look at him attacking rookie power forward T.J Leaf who thinks he can use his length against him — he gets tricked immediately and looks completely helpless while Zipser finishes with the effortless layup.

    A versatile player with the ability to play both forward positions and occasionally fill in as the shooting guard, he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective since he is a good slasher and can score from inside and outside by out-hustling opponents who won’t respect his game. Here’s him being aggressive and going for the offensive rebound against a smaller Jrue Holiday instead of rushing back to defend. His effort is rewarded as he’s able to salvage a lost possession for the Bulls and score easily.

    Inconsistent Shot Leading to a Lack of Confidence

    Consistency is probably the word that best described Paul Zipser’s rookie season as the young forward showed strong court awareness, closing out games with veterans Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Rajon Rondo. In his exit interview with the Bulls the coaching staff emphasized the point of how, if he really wants to become an NBA player in the future, he needs to be able to score regularly from beyond the arc, something he is not able to do just yet. Inconsistency in his playing time, inconsistency in his role and inconsistency in his performances have affected his confidence this year and the numbers validate this story. While he shot just 20 percent (in 1.9 attempts) from deep in the month of November in 13.6 minutes per contest, that jumped to 41.4 in the month of December while his minutes (14.8) and attempts (1.8) remained pretty much the same. Zipser shows the ability to knock down shots in catch and shoot as well as in spot up situations but he has a slow release on his shot and gets affected pretty badly by rapid closeouts.

    The need for a consistent shot is essential since he otherwise struggles to create his own shoot and when he drives in straight line he can’t change direction, causing unforced turnovers. Look at him having the baseline wide open but losing the ball to Rajon Rondo as he fails to dribble and capitalize on the opportunity for an uncontested bucket.

    Versatile Defender

    Zipser was able to surpass Doug McDermott and Denzel Valentine in the rotation last year primarily due to his ability to defend better than most rookies. Nothing about him suggests that he can be an elite on-ball defender but the German forward possesses solid footwork, good length and instincts that allow the Bulls to switch screens when he’s in the lineup. Fred Hoiberg is a strong supporter of the modern approach of having five players on the floor that can all rotate and Zipser fits that model perfectly. He’s not only a strong physical presence defensively but he has the ability to guard multiple positions and disrupt the dribble handoff by opponents. Look at him taking on Goran Dragic on a secondary fast break opportunity, forcing him to take and miss a really tough shot while the Dragon thinks he has an open layup.

    Zipser is also a very good rebounder for a wing, especially on the offensive end, and a capable shot-blocker given his ability to be a physical defender with good lateral quickness. His numbers are not eye-popping but he is a team player who understands positioning at the defensive end and is able to provide much needed help with his excellent on court consciousness. Watch this sequence where a quicker Justin Anderson takes on Quincy Pondexter but Zipser stays close to him and successfully blocks the shot from the weak side.

    Possessing a solid first step, he attacks close outs very well but bigger and more athletic guys represent a challenge for him and at times he is too aggressive and energetic on defense, committing bad fouls.

    Second Season Regression

    There’s no disguising in the fact that the former German League star has regressed in his second season. Confidence is a big problem for him these days, as he seems to be carrying his offensive woes to the defensive side of his game. There is is still a lot to be desired as his ballhandling is average and the coaching staff doesn’t put him in pick-and-roll situations since he dribbles too high, making it easy for opponents to strip the ball away while he forces bad passes when he gets double teamed. Look at how he stops the dribble too early and makes an awful pass that gets easily deflected by the Pacers.

    After a successful trade deadline the Bulls will be giving players such as Cristiano Felicio, Bobby Portis, David Nwaba and Cameron Payne an opportunity to develop in the final three months of the season. This is their big time opportunity to impress the coaching staff and the front office. Every player wants playing time and it’s up to them to take advantage of it within the framework of team ball. Zipser will once again have to distinguish himself and with his length he has a chance to develop into a versatile spot up shooter and wing defender.

    Hope you enjoyed our trade special yesterday, thanks for reading and stay tuned for another edition of International Spotlight next week. Make sure you follow all of our breaking news and rumors on our brand new account @HoopBallFantasy .

    Stats are courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com and are accurate as of February 9th.

Fantasy News

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart averaged a career-high 13.5 points and 2.4 triples to go with 4.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.5 blocks in 53 games for the Celtics, good for 51/44 value in 8/9-cat scoring formats.

    Smart missed a few games while also testing positive for COVID-19 but he was definitely one of the good stories of the season surpassing his ADP value. His percentages remained brutal but he took advantage of the extra playing time due to the injury Kemba Walker sustained and solidified his role as a dynamic guard who contributes on both ends of the floor.

  • Romeo Langford
    SG, Boston Celtics

    First round pick Romeo Langford appeared in just 27 games in his rookie year in Boston battling an assortment of injuries and showing only glimpses of his talent while generating 449/448 value in 8/9-cat formats.

    Langford averaged just 11.0 minutes per game and while Brad Stevens was very encouraging of his young guard, he struggled to remain healthy and failed to gain any momentum during the season. The Celtics will absolutely be patient with their rookie and he is someone to buy-low in dynasty leagues after a disaster first year.

  • Javonte Green
    PF, Boston Celtics

    Undrafted forward Javonte Green played in 44 games for the Celtics in his rookie year showing flashes of his potential as a 3-and-D wing and averaging 2.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.5 steals in 9.4 minutes per game and returning just 400/387 value in 8/9-cat scoring formats

    Green was able to impress the Celtics after an outstanding Las Vegas Summer League that helped him secure their final roster spot. He didn’t have much fantasy value this year and his salary is not guaranteed beyond this season so it remains to be seen whether he has a place in the NBA.

  • Tremont Waters
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Rookie Tremont Waters played in just 10 games with the Celtics failing to make much difference, but he was impressive in the G League where he was named the Rookie of the Year for the 2019-20 season.

    Waters averaged 18.0 points, 7.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 2.5 triples and 1.9 steals per game in 36 games with the Maine Red Claws. The Celtics had to sign him to a two-way contract due to roster limitations last year but the rookie has made his case for a more prominent role and he is a name to keep an eye on in dynasty formats.

  • Vincent Poirier
    C, Boston Celtics

    Vincent Poirier appeared in just 20 games for the Celtics in his first year in the NBA, averaging only 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game, good for 434/431 value in 8/9-cat scoring formats

    The French big missed six weeks due to a fractured right pinkie but even when he was healthy he couldn’t secure any playing time and remained deep in the depth chart behind Robert Williams and Grant Williams. The Celtics signed him as insurance last year and it’s obvious that they didn’t have much expectations out of him in his first year playing away from home.

  • Meyers Leonard
    C, Miami Heat

    Talking to the Miami Herald, Meyers Leonard said that his ankle has healed correctly and he is ready to play in Orlando and make a case for his next contract in the NBA.

    Leonard, who started the first 49 games of the season before the injury, averaged 6.1 points while shooting 52 percent from the field and 42.9 from the 3-point line. He is an impending free agent, and even though he wants to remain in Miami, he is expected to have plenty of suitors after a productive year with the Heat.

    Source: Miami Herald

  • Gordon Hayward
    SF, Boston Celtics

    After two years in which he struggled to return to his old form, Gordon Hayward looked fresh and healthy averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.6 triples and 0. 8 steals while shooting .502/.392/.847 splits and returning 51/44 value in 8/9-cat scoring formats.

    The versatile forward had a tremendous start to the season before missing a few games with a left foot injury that is reportedly still bothering him. Regardless, he still managed to play 33.4 minutes in 45 games and he should continue to be the wild card for a Celtics team that is looking to make some noise in Orlando next month. Hayward can opt out of the max contract that he signed with the Celtics a few years ago and it will be interesting to see if he feels like testing the open market.

  • Brad Wanamaker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Brad Wanamaker averaged 6.6 points, 1.4 triples, 2.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 19.3 minutes off the bench, returning 241/245 value in 8/9-cat scoring formats.

    With Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart missing time due to various injuries, the Celtics had to turn to Wanamaker for some much-needed help at the point guard position and the veteran delivered. His percentages though were ugly and he doesn’t really have a diverse fantasy game but Wanamaker proved to be a nice option in deeper formats. He is a free agent at the end of the season and he should be able to generate some interest around the league as a scoring guard who can hit the triple.

  • Enes Kanter
    C, Boston Celtics

    After signing with the Celtics as a free agent last year, Enes Kanter lost the starting job to Daniel Theis and played just 17.5 minutes in 51 games, good for 187/181 in 8/9-cat scoring formats.

    Kanter failed to score in double-digits for the first time since 2013, but he collected 7.7 rebounds and blocked a career-high 0.7 shots per game. His lack of defensive efficiency was what forced Brad Stevens to move him to the bench and it looks likely that he continues to battle Robert Williams for the backup center minutes in Boston. He has a player option for next year and it will be interesting to see if he chooses to look for a better deal in the open market.

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker’s numbers fell slightly in his first year in Boston, but he still managed to return top-50 value in just 50 games, ending up ranked as 43/42 in 8/9-cat scoring formats.

    Playing with a much more talented group, the charismatic guard ended up averaging 21.2 points, 3.3 triples, 4.9 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 0.9 steals while shooting .421 from the field, .377 from behind the 3-point arc and .867 from the charity line. Health was the main issue for Walker who had to miss some time due to knee soreness but the recent break probably worked in his favor and he should be ready for the Orlando bubble.