The first two preseason games for the Chicago Bulls has shown some promise, but also showed a whole lot of bad with some good mixed in. One of the “good” things could be the development of Paul Zipser.
There weren’t many expectations for the second round pick when he arrived from Germany last year. Yet, he quickly showed that he could be a useful bench player, averaging 5.5 points and 2.8 rebounds. Zipser also showed his potential as a low-end starter in the playoffs against Boston. He played well within his limitations as a player and didn’t force anything. He played his role, which was to help out defensively and on the glass with a bit of scoring added on.
Zipser displayed flashes of being a decent two-way player, something that Chicago desperately needs. Last year he was ok defensively, registering an -0.1 defensive box plus minus, and showed the ability to at least stay in front of his man. Offensively he’s more of a work in progress with his shooting ability being the biggest question. While he can get to the hoop and does a good job scoring there, he needs a more solid jumper to keep defenders off balance. Zipser shot less than 40% from three and shots that that came 10 to 16 feet away from the rim. He needs to get a lot better shooting the ball.
It seems that Zipser has been working on his game this summer, as evidenced in the first two games of this preseason. Zipser scored double digits in both games, 10 and 12 respectively, knocking five three-pointers.
While it may be only two games and it’s pre-season, the sudden uptick in shooting efficiency is nice to see. The increase in shooting will help open up lanes for his teammates and it will allow him opportunities off the catch to blow past defenders who are running to contest a potential jumpshot.
His defense has been decent but like YFBB pointed out in a previous post, let’s not really judge (or have expectations for) the Bulls defense at this current moment. It’s a positive to see Zipser be more assertive and playing better when given a larger role.
With the lineups that Chicago will be rolling out, there will be times where Zipser is going to be the best, and only, option offensively. He didn’t need to be one last year but now Zipser is going to have be a leader for Chicago. That same sentiment was told by KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
But, really, that's Zipser's game — poised and polished. It's a big reason why coach Fred Hoiberg remains so comfortable using the second-year forward, who emerged last season as a dependable rotation player and spot starter.
Hoiberg routinely cites consistency in what he seeks from players, and that's what Zipser mostly delivers. He can hit the open 3-pointer, display agility and physicality defensively and rebound in traffic.
About a year ago, it was crazy to think that Paul Zipser was going to be a big part of the Chicago Bulls moving forward. But times have changed. Jimmy Butler isn’t here anymore and Fred Hoiberg is handing the keys to the offense to the young guys. One of them is Zipser. He’s shown that he can be a part of Chicago’s core moving forward and hopefully this season, can establish himself as more refined two-way player.