One would it think it’d be hard for a seven-foot tall, 250-pound man who is often seen wearing the colors green and white to go missing.
Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller is trying to make fans think otherwise.
Zeller, in his second-year with the Celtics, has been a non-factor in Boston’s first three games. He is averaging 5.3 points per game. Zeller has two rebounds. Total. And he played only six minutes in last Sunday’s loss to the Spurs. All of this as the starting center for a professional basketball team.
The NBA season is only a week old and those numbers are only through three games so rushing to judgment shall be done with an iota of restraint.
Though if he continues down this path, his numbers are going to resemble those of the famous Manute Bol. At least Bol could play defense and block a few shots. At this point, a life-size standee of Zeller might have been a better option on the court than Zeller himself.
After last season, it appeared Zeller was a player on the rise. He averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Though not overwhelming, those numbers were in just over 21 minutes of playing time.
Zeller even scored a career-high 26 points last March in a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Entering his fourth-year in the league, Zeller was expected to be a valuable asset on this year’s edition of the Celtics.
Needless to say, he has failed in the first three games. Zeller will be a free agent after the season, having not been offered an extension by the team. If these first three games are any indication, fans may not want to see him back anyhow.
Of course, Zeller is not the only culprit of underwhelming play for the Celtics. David Lee is struggling as well, not at all playing like the All-Star caliber player many fans were expecting. Both Zeller and Lee have started all three games and one wonders if a lineup change is on the horizon.
It’s never too early to shake things up, especially when Head Coach Brad Stevens has options. Perhaps by coming off of the bench, Zeller and Lee can tap into some of that energy that Isaiah Thomas brings to the game.
Fans should keep their hands off of the panic button for the time being. The calendar, after all, flipped to November only a few days ago. There is still plenty of time for Zeller to recapture the momentum he’d picked up last year.
Wednesday night, the Celtics play their first road game of the year, facing off against the Indiana Pacers. Boston went 3-1 against Indiana last year, with Zeller averaging 12.5 points and 4 rebounds a game against them, including games of 18 points and 19 points in late-season victories.
Those are numbers that he has a chance to replicate against a smaller Indiana lineup.
If he continues to struggle, the Celtics will gladly wave good-bye to him after the season. If the season follows the first-week trend, Zeller will also be leaving millions of dollars on the table in what is expected to be a “striking it rich” sort of summer. Time to step it up now, Mr. Zeller. If not for the team, then at least to fatten your pocketbook.