The Brooklyn Nets are going through a bit of a crisis. Their big man rotation is depleted by injuries. Opposing big men are having a field day against them. Amidst the chaos, Tyler Zeller may be able to carve out a role for himself on the Nets.
Against the Denver Nuggets last night, Tyler Zeller played well. Against a Denver frontline that includes defensive stud Paul Milsap, Zeller was able to put up 21 points and five rebounds.
Sure, it was one game. Zeller has largely played insignificant minutes in garbage time this season. He is buried on the depth chart behind Timofey Mozgov, Trevor Booker, Quincy Acy and even rookie Jarrett Allen.
With the latter three dealing with various ailments this season we have seen Zeller get minutes. On Tuesday, he proved that he may be able to make some positive contributions.
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Zeller wasn’t exactly a beast on the boards but he did have several timely buckets. He was able to finish in the paint off passes from D’Angelo Russell and was largely aware of where to be on the court, setting screens for the Nets guards and wings and then rolling to the basket for easy opportunities.
It is unclear what the status’s of Booker and Allen are. Booker is dealing with a back ailment that has kept him out of the past few contests. Allen has a foot injury, which is not exactly good news for a young big man.
If the two of them miss extended time, Zeller will have plenty of opportunities on the Nets. With Mozgov largely underwhelming so far, it could be Zeller’s time to show the Nets he has a place on the team.
Perhaps if he plays well enough, the team could pick up his option for next year. Let’s hope Zeller forces us to have that conversation.