2016 NBA draft profile: Cibona Zagreb C Ante Zizic


Ante Zizic

Position: Center

Height: 7-0

Weight: 249

Team: Cibona Zagreb

In Tuesday's draft profile on Zhou Qi, I wrote about the NBA's fascination with 7-footers who stretch the defense with their jump shot. But even in a league trending small with shooters all over the floor, there will always be a home for bruisers such as Ante Zizic.

Despite the wave of perimeter-based big men, particularly from overseas, Zizic is a throwback center in every sense. He used those old-school skills to average 13.4 points (63.9 percent shooting), 8.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 25.7 minutes a night in the Adriatic League this past season.

As NBA scouts search high and low for the next great shooting big, Zizic is content to make a name for himself in the paint like so many centers before him.

With a hulking frame, you might be inclined to think Zizic is the stereotypical slow-footed European. Quite the opposite. In fact, the Croatian moves very well for his size. Zizic can get up and down the floor, runs an effective pick-and-roll and can shuffle around on defense.

Zizic also really attacks the glass. He doesn't just rely on his size, either. He is actually fond of the lost art of boxing out. That's a major reason why he finished second in the entire Adriatic League in rebounding average and what caused NBADraft.net's Stefanos Makris to call Zizic "maybe the best rebounder of his generation in Europe."

Anything Zizic does on the court starts with his supreme motor. The 19-year-old plays with high energy on both ends and doesn't let up, which can discourage opposing centers throughout the course of a game.

There are certainly some that will point to Zizic's skill set as a negative in today's NBA. He rarely ventures outside of the paint for mid-range jumpers and has a couple of staple post moves he is limited to at the moment. Plus, he tended to get by a lot on sheer physical strength and effort, which won't be the case in the NBA.

Zizic is also a terrible passer. Not just for a big man but for any type of player. He committed 2.4 turnovers compared to 0.4 assists per game last season. 

How he'd fit with Sixers
Terribly. With two big men in Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel already tied to the paint and Joel Embiid being added to the mix, Zizic would be an awful fit.

NBA comparison
I was leaning toward Marcin Gortat here, but "The Polish Hammer" has developed a reliable jumper over the years. Let's go with a more paint-bound big in Nikola Pekovic. Zizic and Pekovic are both hard workers that relish contact down on the low block.

Draft projection
Late-teens to late-20s.

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