[Bumping up this post with news that Zipser is apparently joining the Bulls (no confirmed contract details yet) -yfbb]
Let's be honest, we all though it was going to be Georges Niang.
You can imagine my own shock when Mark Tatum announced that the Bulls selected an international prospect out of Germany's Bayern Munich. It was already a busy night for foreign-born players with (by my count) seventeen going in the first forty-seven picks, so given that trend and Ivica Dukan's generally sound international scouting, it perhaps shouldn't have come as such a surprise.
But Paul Zipser is now a Chicago Bull, so let's take a look at what he brings to the squad:
Zipser's size and athleticism are what got him selected in the NBA Draft. He's stands 6'8" with a 6'11" wingspan and weighs in at 210 lbs. He's a high motor guy (7.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes) that can already guard a variety of positions whether on the perimeter against wing players, small-ball or stretch fours, and can even handle power forwards in the post. Bayern Munich runs a system that preaches the utilization of modern-NBA defense, so he comes into the association with a slightly better idea of how to position himself than one would expect from normal rookies.
He's an intelligent shot taker (56.7% eFG this past season) that plays well away from the ball and keeps the offense moving. Though heavy utilization of his three-point shot is still something he's getting accustomed to, Zipser still managed to hit nearly 38% of his shots from beyond the arc on almost four attempts per 36 minutes. Remarkably, he also only missed one freethrow in three Euroleague seasons as a career 97% shooter from the line!
Zipser played power forward at Bayern Munich, which means he had a substantial quickness advantage over other European players at that position. This explains why his highlight tape is riddled with blow-bys on closeouts that he won't be able to do against NBA-level defenders. In reality, Zipser can't create for himself off of the dribble at all, and will spend pretty much the entirety of his career as someone finishing possessions on offense.
He has a very slow release on his shot and gets affected pretty badly by rapid closeouts, although--given he's still developing his perimeter shooting--this could improve down the road. But even though the following example goes in, you can see the time it takes for him to bring the ball below his waist and hoist it up for a shot attempt:
Even though he's been healthy for the last year and a half, Zipser has a fairly concerning injury history. He had some sort of undisclosed foot injury that caused him to miss all but two games in the German second division 2012-13 season. Related to this, he was also born with an extra bone in his foot that will require a custom shoe from Adidas to compensate for the additional discomfort and soreness he experiences when he plays basketball. On top of all those foot issues, Zipser tore a ligament in his knee in 2014 that held him out of basketball activities for six months.
If the Snell struggles to put it together again on a consistent basis, Zipser will literally be waiting in the wings to scoop up his minutes off the bench. It's hard to imagine he'll eat up much of Doug McDermott's or Denzel Valentine's minutes, but his ability to also play shooting guard means he could perhaps fill in for Jimmy Butler when the latter needs a rest. He appears to have a sound understanding of his role on both ends of the court, which should translate to playing comfortably in limited stints.
As far as 2nd round players go (have you heard I hate them?), it's hard to be upset with this pick. Paul Zipser appears to be an already fairly experienced player with NBA-level athelticism, a promising perimeter stroke, and swiss-army-knife defensive ability. We should be seeing Zipser next season, though not on the Summer League squad. If Chip Schaefer can keep him healthy, Zipser projects to be a solid role player for the length of his career with the Chicago Bulls.