David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Rookie center Tyler Zeller will return to the Cleveland lineup Saturday evening as the Cavs host the 2011 NBA Champion Mavericks. The "sticks and bones" rookie will be sporting a Rip Hamilton style mask to protect his precious face.
After playing without Zeller for the past four games (all losses) his return will be welcomed for a team whose bench has been criticized widely by the Fear the Sword faithful in recent days. Zeller's return will provide a boost to the woeful backup front line of Samardo Samuels and Jon Leuer as one of them (Leuer) will likely end up not getting off the bench against Dallas.
It's hard or me to comment much on what I've seen so far from Zeller but I think he's been a work in progress on defense as expected as I've seen him be a step or two late multiple times on rotations. He's also not been overly physical thus far as his lean frame doesn't really seem to fit as the type that will be a true banger in the paint all night long.
I'll spare the bench from too much venom tonight but I'm particularly intrigued by Zeller's return. I have high hopes that Zeller can end up being better than Tristan Thompson which is something that could make up for me being frustrated with the outlook of Thompson's future. It's certainly going to be beneficial to the Cavaliers if Zeller can somehow figure things out in the NBA as the team is so vastly undersized on the inside.
After playing about 19 minutes per contest in his first four games I'd like to see Zeller get 23-26 minutes per night consistently as he certainly needs to get roughed up a bit this season while developing into a force on both ends of the floor.
Particularly having Zeller play minutes each night with Anderson Varejao is something that is so underrated. Varejao simply raises the level of his front court partner each minute due to his constant effort and leadership by example.
No matter what happens though, I'm pumped to see the young kid play some ball again and for the losing streak to be over! Bring it, O.J. Mayo.