Indiana big man Cody Zeller worked out for the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena. He’s been viewed as a consensus lottery pick for most of the draft process, having averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks for the Hoosiers last season.
Tuesday, ESPN’s NBA Draft insider Chad Ford wrote that Zeller is viewed as a darkhorse for the Bobcats with the fourth pick. Maryland center Alex Len and UNLV forward Anthony Bennett are believed to be the top choices.
One of the questions surrounding his game is perimeter shooting. Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony writes that Zeller only attempted 24 jump shots in 36 games at Indiana as a sophomore. In today’s workout with the Bobcats, Zeller shot the ball exceptionally well. He even showed range out to the three-point line.
Zeller shot 8/15 in a midrange shooting drill, not terrific. He did better from 3, hitting 16/25. Keep in mind, nobody was guarding him.
— Lewis Woodard (@LewWoodard) June 19, 2013
Zeller weighed in at 230 lbs at the NBA’s Draft Combine and teams are believed to be looking at him as a stretch power forward. Zeller has been trying to sell teams on his improved jump shot, which would make the transition into a stretch forward a lot easier.
Cody Zeller shooting free throws at the Bobcats workout. He’s shot the ball really well today, even from three. pic.twitter.com/SNqpci483Y
— DeAntae Prince (@DeAntae) June 19, 2013
In transition, Zeller was terrific at Indiana. He runs the floor extremely well for a big man and is a good finisher. When the pace slows, Zeller proved to be a valuable contributor in the low post. He has good footwork and body control and is able to finish in a variety of ways. He got to the free throw line 7.2 times in just over 29 minutes, which is a proficient rate.
Defensively is where plenty of concerns for Zeller arise. He measured out with a 6-10 wingspan and isn’t a strong shotblocker. He improved his rebounding from his freshmen season, but his length and average explosiveness provide skepticism in his ability. If Zeller makes the transition to power forward or stays as a center, he’ll have to guard much quicker, stronger and athletic players than he did at the college level.
Zeller noticeably struggled when playing against more physical matchups offensively and defensively. If the Bobcats are going to improve their defensive identity under new coach Steve Clifford, this could be a key factor in the draft choice.
The Bobcats are considering every option in the frontcourt for next week’s draft. Zeller isn’t as talented as Len or Bennett, which would make the selection of him difficult to justify. But he’s a smart, skilled player, with a high motor and strong work ethic. Clifford is looking for players who he can rely on to compete game-to-game and Zeller fits that attitude.
What Do You See Cody Zeller Becoming In The NBA?
- Superstar (2%, 6 Votes)
- Solid Starter (63%, 248 Votes)
- Decent Bench Player (26%, 101 Votes)
- Bust (2%, 8 Votes)
- All-Star (7%, 36 Votes)
Total Voters: 394