• 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.

    Editor’s Note: You can get the Hoop Ball Premium Membership for FREE (normally $29.99) by signing up as a new user with DraftKings.  Check this page to see how the promotion works. 

    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

  • Paul Millsap
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are all candidates for "load management" next season, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

    This is pure speculation by Kosmider, but this does hold some weight after the Nuggets' playoff run last season and the league-wide popularity of resting players. Millsap would seem to be at the most significant risk to get rested due to his age and quality of depth behind him. Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee would be the biggest beneficiaries should Jokic or Millsap miss time.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Thabo Sefolosha is among the attendees at Rockets minicamp in Las Vegas with a host of other notable free agents this week.

    Sefolosha will be joined by the likes of Nick Young, Luc Mbah a Moute, Raymond Felton, Terrence Jones and Corey Brewer. The odds of someone making the Rockets' roster increased with Iman Shumpert declining an offer sheet from the team.

    Source: Kelly Iko on Twitter

  • Iman Shumpert
    SG, Free Agent

    Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Iman Shumpert has decided to decline the contract offer from the Rockets and will not attend team minicamp in Las Vegas this week.

    It'll be back to the drawing board for Shumpert. It's unsure exactly where he'll end up now, or if he and the Rockets will come to a new agreement in the future. Shump can get steals and threes, but otherwise isn't much of a fantasy asset, unless he finds himself in an ideal situation.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    After an extraordinary summer of 2019, which saw a cavalcade of stars change teams, executives around the league expect that this year’s transaction wires will be dominated by the trade market.

    “We’ve been getting calls all summer,” one general manager said. “I think if you look at the market, there is going to be a very robust trade market this winter for a few reasons.” The big driver figures to be the open, empty crater that the 2020 free-agent class has become. Teams hoping to make significant changes in their direction won’t have free agency to lean on and trades will be the only way to go. If you enjoyed the twist and turns that came with the very busy NBA free-agency period this summer, then buckle up as the trade market means more could be on the way this season.

    Source: Sean Deveney on Twitter

  • Michael Beasley
    PF, Free Agent

    The Shanxi Loongs of the Chinese Basketball Association are trying to bring Michael Beasley back to China.

    Beasley agreed to terms with the Pistons last month but he never officially signed with them as the team opted to go with Joe Johnson instead. Beasley has already played in China with Shanghai, Shandong and last year with Guangdong averaging 22.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

    Source: Sportando

  • Justin Simon
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Former St. John’s guard Justin Simon has signed an Exhibit-10 contract with the Bulls.

    Simon is 6’5” and went undrafted out of St. John’s, where he averaged 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, while also being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. The Bulls currently have 14 players on guaranteed contracts with guard Shaquille Harrison all but locked in to the 15th and final one, so that means Simon is likely headed to the Windy City Bulls of the G League.

    Source: Adam Zagora on Twitter

  • Mychal Mulder
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have announced the signing of guard Mychal Mulder.

    Mulder played last season with the Windy City Bulls of the G-League and averaged 8.8 points in Summer League this year. He has good range but is unlikely to contribute much at the NBA level in 2019-20.

    Source: Miami Heat

  • Vincent Poirier
    C, Boston Celtics

    Nicolas Batum praised the play of Celtics center Vincent Poirier at the FIBA World Cup.

    According to Batum, Poirier "is a center that can block shots and control the paint." A native of France, Poirier has performed well over six seasons in Europe. Nevertheless, he should only be a depth option for the Celtics with Enes Kanter starting.

    Source: NBC Sports Boston

  • Zach LaVine
    PG, Chicago Bulls

    Zach LaVine has been fine tuning his playmaking skills in the offseason, according to an interview with FanSided.

    LaVine enjoyed the best field goal percentage of his career for the Bulls last season. He also scored a career best 23.7 points per game. However, LaVine averaged 3.4 turnovers and his fantasy value will increase if he can take better care of the ball.

    Source: FanSided

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    According to Ira Winderman, rookie Tyler Herro is unlikely to start for the Heat at the beginning of the season.

    The Heat drafted Herro out of Kentucky with the 13th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. Dion Waiters should be the primary shooting guard at the outset. However, expect Herro to get plenty of opportunities to contribute.

    Source: Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel