Cleveland Cavaliers Getting Strong Rookie Play From Tyler Zeller

By John Raffel
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to play improved basketball despite a 96-95 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. The fact that they should have beaten the Spurs gives more credence to the thought that this is an NBA team on the rise.

In the future, however, the Cavs can’t afford to lose games like this. Giving up a three-pointer as they did with 2.9 seconds left to Kawhi Leonard isn’t the mark of a true champion.

But, the Cavaliers continue to improve with their new players, including rookie center Tyler Zeller who keeps showing that he may be on the edge of greatness, considering he scored 16 points and had nine rebounds to lead the team on the boards.

It was impressive that he made seven field goals, which was six more than he had in his three previous games, combined.

Zeller looked very good against the powerful Spurs by calmly hitting seven of his 10 shots, and sinking both free throws. For his first season, he’s at eight points and 6.10 boards a game, along with 13 assists.

But like a lot of rookies, Zeller needs to develop consistency. Prior to the San Antonio game,  he scored zero points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He needs to start playing much more aggressively and attack the opposing team like a veteran in the league would, and quit playing like a rookie. If he can manage to avoid playing like it’s still his first day on the job, Zeller will continue to be a great first-year player.

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