Scouting Report: Ante Zizic

Ante Zizic is a center from Cibona Zagreb. Zizic is 6’11 and has a wingspan of 7’3. For the year, he averaged, 25.7 minutes per game, 13.4 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game, 0.4 assists per game, 1.4 blocks per game, 0.1 steals per game, while shooting 63.9% from the field.

Pros:

  • Strong finisher
  • Loves to draw contact
  • Good free throw shooter
  • Good set of post moves
  • Runs the floor well
  • Great pick-and-roll player
  • Mid-range potential
  • Great rebounder
  • Shot blocking potential
  • On-ball defense
  • Great motor
  • Wingspan

Cons:

  • Developing post moves
  • Footwork in the paint
  • Struggles to space the floor
  • Struggles finishing through contact
  • Ball handling
  • Decision making
  • Bad passer
  • Turnover prone
  • Perimeter defense
  • Defensive awareness
  • Average athlete
  • Needs to get stronger
  • Versatility

Overall:

Ante Zizic has gained a lot of traction in the past few weeks to be a lock for the first round. He shows signs of being able to come over, and be a good offensive center, with loads of defensive potential. He is only 19, so teams will have plenty of time to shape him into the player they desire at the center position.

On offense, Zizic is a tremendous scorer in the paint. He mainly works out of the paint, where he loves to bully opponents. His go to move is a right-handed hook, which is a devastating weapon. With Zizic loving to out power his opponents, he will need to add some more strength to his body to make this effective at the next level. He struggled mightily when he played against stronger players in Europe, and that is what he will mostly be against in the NBA. This is why Zizic will need to improve his footwork in the paint, so he can use some finesse versus power to win battles in the paint. Zizic is great at drawing contact in the paint, something you do not see out of many college players his age, and he does convert his free throw attempts at a high rate. Zizic has shown good shooting mechanics when he steps out for the occasional jumper, but does not show much confidence in it. Without the ability to stretch the floor, he will have a hard time finding a place in the modern league. In the pick-and-roll, Zizic sets excellent screens, and always rolls hard to the basket. In terms of passing, Zizic has a very limited ability. He does not feel the game very well, and will force passes which lead to a lot of turnovers. With his ball handling, it is a similar fault. Lacking the true feel for offense, Zizic will over dribble, and costs him and his team’s turnovers.

On defense, Zizic has a lot of skills for future teams to look to develop. He showed to be an effective on-ball defender in the paint, where he uses his strength and length to make it nearly impossible for opponents to get around him. Zizic will not be able to guard the perimeter at the next level, as he lacks any sort of lateral quickness, and will just be in constant foul trouble trying to play catch up on his man. Zizic has shown good shot blocking instincts. He has good timing ability, mixed with his length should allow for him to alter and block a lot of shots at the next level. Rebounding is a huge plus for Zizic. He has great fundamentals, length, and a desire to rebound. If he does get called over early on, he could be an effective bench rebounder to employ for a few minutes every game, while the rest of his game develops.

Overall, Zizic is a very old school player. His offense is based on a power type attack in the paint. Without any strong mid-range attack, he will be a spacing nightmare. On defense, he is an effective European defender, but his lack of ability to guard out to the perimeter will cost him with many of the new center prospects coming out lately. Zizic has a draft range somewhere between 20-35. With many of the teams in the 20-30 range in the draft looking for as much cap space as possible, Zizic is going to be a draft-and-stash prospect. He needs about two years to fill in his body more, and to start developing a mid-range shot to be able to come over and be as effective as possible.

Pro Comparison: Nikola Pekovic

Well for all the Timberwolves fans who read this, just remember the pre-injury Pekovic, and his dominant ability to score in the paint, not the player who can barely see the floor now.

Offensively, Zizic and Pekovic love to play bully ball in the paint. Neither player has the best footwork in the paint, but they have effective post moves, which they use to convert at a high percentage. Mid-range shots are rare to see from either player. Both players show the capability of shooting from 15-18 feet out, but lack any sort of confidence in it. Pekovic and Zizic also have very limited court vision, making them both poor passers. Neither player has the ability to handle the ball, without being subject to turnovers.

On defense, both players are effective, but limited. In the paint, both players are so strong, they do not get backed down easily, and their length make it very difficult to get a shot over them. On the perimeter, neither player has very good lateral mobility, and can get beat fairly easily by faster players. They do tend to reach when beat, which leads to becoming foul prone. Zizic and Pekovic both have a good timing ability, and use their length to alter quite a few shots during games.

Much like Pekovic, once drafted he will likely spend some time over in Europe continuing his development before being brought over to see what he can contribute. Pekovic was having a solid career in the paint for the Timberwolves before injuries took over his career the past few seasons. Zizic should have similar success in the league once he puts some more weight on to continue his bully playing style.

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

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