Option #5: Festus Ezeli
Simply put, Festus Ezeli of Vanderbilt is a boy among men. In the opening round of the NCAA tournament, Harvard was simply unable to keep Ezeli off the boards, and he manhandled the smaller Harvard players as a guy who is 6’11″ 255 should.
Ezeli fills a big need for the Celtics, with his strength and NBA ready body. He has above average athleticism, but can’t jump out of the gym, nor does he always beat defenders down the court in transition. Those things may come in time.
He doesn’t have a ton of upside, and that is what makes him a late first round pick. He mostly scores on dump offs around the goal, but with Rajon Rondo that shouldn’t be a problem, as that is one of the main things players have to look forward to when playing with a great pass first point guard like Rondo. His face up game is completely absent, and opposing players that have the strength to do so will push Ezeli away from the hoop and out of his comfort zone. He has a decent right handed shot on the baseline, and the length to get it off most of the time, but it still isn’t a very high percentage shot, which isn’t good considering it is one of his go to moves.
Foul trouble will also often be a problem for Ezeli, and what is disconcerting is that there is no reason to expect rapid improvement. He already spent four years at Vanderbilt trying to stay out of foul trouble, with limited success. That leads to inconsistency, when a guy can’t stay on the court. For this reason, it’s hard to imagine Ezeli being much more than a back up in the NBA, and Fab Melo will likely go before Ezeli, barring some very impressive performances in workouts.
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