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Welcome Ante Zizic

BigZ94

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So we know Zizic isn't hurt since he got into yesterday's game in garbage time. I think in today's NBA Zizic ends up being a 24-28 minute player who splits his games starting and coming off the bench based on matchups. No point to playing more than that role until he is off his rookie contract. Over playing a slower 7 footer who doesn't fall into the elite category, usually just ends up in a bad overpaid contract.

At this point the front office needs to get more stretch 4s or 5s and get rid of alot of the depth at center. We don't have enough bigs that can be paired with each other right now. Love and Zizic might be our best pairing while Love can be paired with any of our other bigs. Any combination of Zizic, TT, Chriss, and/or Nance just doesn't work. If we don't move Henson in the summer, he just adds to the problem next year.
I’m guessing only 3 of those 6 will be back next year
 

MoFlo

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Fedor:

LAS VEGAS -- The alarm sounded early for Ante Zizic while the Cleveland Cavaliers were in Park City, Utah. He had a mountain to climb.

Not the figurative one, which leads to the top of the center depth chart. A different one. A once-snow-capped summit -- in the heat and draining altitude.

During an exit meeting with general manager Koby Altman following the 2018-19 season, Zizic was given a summer road map. It represented a path for him to possibly crack Cleveland’s deep big man rotation.

It’s a numbers game. Zizic can count. Tristan Thompson. John Henson. Kevin Love. Larry Nance Jr. That quartet stands in Zizic’s way. Getting to the top may look daunting. But in that sit-down with Altman came a challenge: Don’t look at the depth chart. The Cavs wanted Zizic to focus on himself, to control the things he could. They challenged him to be ready for a training camp competition. Zizic has clearly taken that to heart.

“You know what I like best? His attitude is incredible,” head coach John Beilein told cleveland.com. “The guy is coming here and climbing mountains to get himself in shape. (Strength coaches) were telling me that this is the best shape they have ever seen him in and I think that will show during the season.”

When the season ended -- an up-and-down campaign that featured career marks in numerous categories and also sporadic playing time -- Zizic went to Croatia for about six weeks. It wasn’t a vacation. It was his chance to refocus and start transforming his body. When old coach Larry Drew was asked repeatedly about Zizic being in and out of the rotation, Drew mentioned conditioning. That came up in Zizic’s after-season meeting with Altman as well.

First, Zizic wanted to add weight. He played around 250 pounds last season. He says he’s currently at 267. It’s not the bad, sloppy weight, which his body can’t support. All muscle. Zizic, 6-foot-11 and 267 lbs., is at nine percent body fat, below where he played last season when he was somewhere north of 10. The two toughest things to eliminate from his diet? Soft drinks and cake. But he’s made the sacrifice.

“We will see. I just want to come ready in training camp and see what I can do,” Zizic said. “Then I will see what coach wants from me and I will try to do everything possible to get a good chance to play and make my spot in the rotation.”

Last season, the Cavs felt the burly third-year center was one of their most productive players. But his playing time was often tied to injuries and when Cleveland’s frontcourt was at full strength, Zizic lost his role. Nance had a career year. Thompson deserved minutes, getting off to a great start before nagging injuries disrupted a double-double campaign, arguably the best of his career. Love was the Cavs’ linchpin, making the team look respectable when healthy.

None of that was Zizic’s fault. It’s just where the Cavs were -- and still are -- with their roster early in this rebuild. They have an abundance of bigs and guards while lacking depth at wing.

Trading Thompson or Henson -- both on expiring contracts -- is a possibility. The Cavs would be open to that in the right deal. Even if that doesn’t happen this off-season, if the Cavs wait until closer to the February deadline, Beilein believes there’s a spot for Zizic.

“Absolutely. I’ve watched video of him and I see a guy with great hands who can finish around the basket,” Beilein said. “Just with working on his shooting right now, I think he’s got a little mid-range shot where we can hit him in the short roll and have him put it in for us. We use our bigs a little more than others as transfer guys and he’s cleaned up his footwork a great deal.”

At this time last year, Zizic was part of Cleveland’s summer league roster. The former Kyrie Irving trade piece was entering his second NBA season and had plenty to prove. He’s a spectator this summer, coming off a year in which he averaged 7.8 points on 55.3 percent shooting to go with 5.4 rebounds in 59 games. Part of the reason Zizic joined his teammates for Salt Lake City Summer League and followed them to Las Vegas was to bond. Going to Europe as soon as the season ended made him feel distant. But being with the summer squad has also given him a chance to work with Cleveland’s new coaching staff.

Zizic said he has talked to Beilein plenty. Just not about his prospective role.

“He’s new in the NBA, but all his life is in basketball so he knows a lot and he enjoyed working out with the young guys,” Zizic said. “I think it’s a great start for the young team. I heard a lot about him when he used to coach in college. He spends most of his time teaching players. I’m still like a young player.”

The 22-yea-old is one of Cleveland’s fringe guys. He’s young enough to be part of this growing core. But he hasn’t carved out his place yet. Coaches like him. Teammates do as well. The front office speaks highly of him. The Cavs are committed to his growth, constantly asking what better they can do to continue Zizic’s development. They are hoping to find meaningful minutes for him in what could be his final season under contract. Just no guarantees.

Zizic will make $2.2 million this season, the end of his rookie deal. There’s a team option for the 2020-21 campaign. That can be picked up sometime in October, proving to Zizic how invested the organization is.

Zizic has put in the work. He’s shown his commitment. And his new coach has noticed.

“It’s everything,” Beilein said. “With Ante coming here, Collin (Sexton) has been here working really hard, you get those types of messages from the team it’s like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to coach you guys too.’ I just love the potential chemistry of this team. I just like their energy and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make them a better team.”

Even if that means climbing a mountain.

https://www.cleveland.com/cavs/2019/07/ante-zizic-in-the-best-shape-of-his-life-trying-to-beat-the-numbers-and-carve-out-role.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true
 

Pjlea28

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If he wants it......he needs to step up and take the spot. Its a big year for him and I feel this coaching staff will give him the opportunity to show that he is willing to put in the work and take a giant step forward. He needs to take the minutes away from TT and everyone who sits ahead of him on the depth chart.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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If he wants it......he needs to step up and take the spot. Its a big year for him and I feel this coaching staff will give him the opportunity to show that he is willing to put in the work and take a giant step forward. He needs to take the minutes away from TT and everyone who sits ahead of him on the depth chart.
I'm very glad that we'll have an entirely new coaching staff making those decisions now. The baggage from 2016 meant that old coaching staff was never going to bench TT regardless of how well/poorly he was playing.
 

jking948

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The Cavs are going to need to make some trades or I think it will be hard for Zizic to get minutes... unless the team does not feel like it has to move Tristan and Henson. If Koby et. al are content with letting those two guys expire and sit on the bench, then it is very possible Zizic finds rotation minutes.
 

benchplayer

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If he wants it......he needs to step up and take the spot. Its a big year for him and I feel this coaching staff will give him the opportunity to show that he is willing to put in the work and take a giant step forward. He needs to take the minutes away from TT and everyone who sits ahead of him on the depth chart.
IMO, the quickest way to do that is by developing a respectable jump shot. Antes was 70% at free throws last year, so he has the tools. If he can start hitting 3s, he'd
easily become the starter in my eyes.
 

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