BOSTON -- There’s a fine line that the Boston Celtics are always trying to balance when it comes to competing in the present while building towards the future.
Which is why they used two of their first-round picks from this summer's NBA draft to select a pair of foreign-born players that they have stashed with teams overseas.
Both players, competing in different leagues internationally, have made an impact.
Guerschon Yabusele, taken by Boston with the 16th overall pick, has played well for the undefeated Shanghai Sharks (5-0) of the Chinese Basketball Association with their average margin of victory being by 14 points.
Yabusele is averaging 16.0 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 37.0 percent from 3-point range.
The 6-foot-7, 260-ish pound big fella has shown a nice soft touch from the free throw line where he has shot 88.9 percent
Ante Zizic, selected by Boston with the 23rd overall pick, has been just as impressive.
The 6-11 forward/center plays for Kk Cibona which competes in the Adriatic Basketball Association, a league that has delivered some of the more promising young bigs from the international scene.
And Zizic has been a dominant player, leading the ABA in scoring (21.3 points) and rebounds (9.0) per game this season.
Here’s a look at him earlier this season showcasing a wide array of skills at both ends of the floor.
When the Celtics drafted them, the plan was to have them play a year overseas and re-evaluate whether to bring them over for the 2017-2018 season.
To their credit, both players are making a strong case that they are ready to at least compete for a roster spot right now.
It doesn’t do any good to get caught up in the numbers that both players are registering overseas.
More telling is how their skills that made Boston so high on them, is translating against relatively high level international competition.
Fans had a chance to see Yabusele in the preseason when the Sharks played the Houston Rockets.
Yabusele and his Sharks teammates were soundly beaten 131-94, but Yabusele had a solid performance with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds
Here’s a look at Yabusele from earlier this season against CBA competition. This includes him knocking down a couple shots over ex-NBAer Carlos Boozer, who plays for the Guangdong.