Bulls Player Rewind: Paul Zipser

Paul Zipser 2016-17 Season Averages: 5.5 PPG, 2.8 REB, 0.8 AST

Small forward Paul Zipser came out of seemingly nowhere for the Bulls in 2016-17 to become a reliable, consistent young piece to the Bulls. The rookie out of Germany, drafted in the second round by the Bulls last summer, came over from Europe with low expectations of seeing the floor and developed his game enough that the team was trusting him on the floor in some of the team’s biggest games – including all six playoff games against Boston. Zipser saw immediate improvement throughout the season, and went from playing 28 minutes total in the team’s first 25 games to become a key piece to the club. Let’s take a look at some of Zipser’s brightest moments:

vs Detroit Pistons, March 22 - Coming into this March matchup with Detroit, the Bulls found themselves tied with the Pistons in record, with both teams looking up at the playoff picture. This was a huge game in the playoff race, and the Bulls showed up in a major way, outclassing the Pistons 117-95 in a wire-to-wire victory that sent Detroit spiraling the wrong direction while the Bulls made their way to the playoffs. Getting the start in place of Dwyane Wade, Zipser was all over the floor, supporting a monster game from Nikola Mirotic with the solid effort and consistency of his own. He poured in 15 points on 9 shots and was part of an all around team effort that came up big come the end of the season.

Zipser stat line: 15 points (6-9 FG), 1-2 3PT, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block

vs Brooklyn Nets, April 12 - On the last game of the season, the Bulls found themselves in a situation where a win assured them a playoff spot and a loss would see them miss out. Playing against a depleted Nets team, the Bulls put in one of the most impressive performances of the season, seeing multiple players go off as they took care of business and then some in an emphatic 112-73 blowout win. This was perhaps most embodied by the play of Zipser, who scored a career-high 21 points off the bench and nailed five of his seven 3-point shots.

Zipser stat line: 21 points (8-13 FG), 5-7 3PT, 6 rebounds, 2 assists

at Boston Celtics, April 18 (Game 2) - This was the game where Bulls fans really saw what Zipser could one day bring to the team, and where his un-rookie-like poise showed on the team’s biggest stage. After the Bulls had opened the playoffs by stealing Game 1 on the road in Boston, they doubled down with a shocking 111-97 Game 2 win in which they outplayed the East’s top seed all over the floor. Zipser was the difference in this one, leading all scorers off the bench with 16 points on a blistering 75% shooting percentage and knocking down a couple of timely threes. Few Bulls fans would have thought this unheralded second-round pick would be playing and producing like this in a huge playoff game, but Zipser looked like he belonged out there. Though the Bulls would go on to lose the series after point guard Rajon Rondo broke his hand, Zipser’s play here is among the things Bulls fans have to look forward to in the future.

Zipser stat line: 16 points (6-8 FG), 2-3 3PT, 1 rebound, 1 assist