Tyler Zeller looking to jumpstart career, start in Boston this season

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As a fan you look at the Boston Celtics and say “they’re rebuilding.”

If you’re a young player in the NBA, you look at the Boston Celtics and say “there is an opportunity.”

Young players are going to get serious run and have a chance to establish themselves. That’s what Tyler Zeller likes about it, he got shipped to Boston from Cleveland in one of the moves the Cavaliers made to clear cap space for LeBron. He’s going to get a lot of run at the five spot this season and sees an opportunity to build on his strong finish from last season.

And he wants to start, he told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

“I hope so,” said Zeller, who is 6-foot-11. “That’s the goal anywhere you go and that’s my goal this year. But I have a lot of work to be able to earn that spot. I expect to have to earn it. It is a great opportunity and I’m going to do everything I can for that.”

The likely starting center in Boston is Kelly Olynyk — Celtics brass are very high on him — but Zeller will get his chance. Zeller got off to a slow start last season in Cleveland, an emergency appendectomy during training camp proved to be a real setback, especially with a new coach and a new system to learn. He had to work his way back into shape and wasn’t himself the first half of the season — but the second half he looked strong. That’s what he wants to build on.

Basically Zeller sounds like an optimistic guy excited about everything. Which is not exactly how I’d look at it if I got traded three days before my wedding (as he did this summer), but more power to him for seeing the good in the situation.

Zeller added, “I think we have a great opportunity to make the playoffs and make a run there, but it’s also an opportunity if you lose a couple in a row you have to make sure you stay focused, you can’t get discouraged and you have to keep working away.”

It’s a big couple seasons for Zeller, he is likely headed toward restricted free agency in the summer of 2017 and if he proves to be a solid NBA big man those guys get paid well. He knows what the stakes are and he knows in Boston he’ll get the run, he’ll get his chance. Now it’s all on him.