Cody Zeller selected No. 4 by Bobcats in NBA draft
The Bobcats selected Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday. Here’s a look at Zeller and how he fits with Charlotte:
Bio: Indiana | Sophomore | Power Forward/Center
Vitals: 7-0, 230 pounds
2012-13 Statistics: 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1 steal, 56.2 percent shooting in 36 games.
Strengths: As SI.com’s Luke Winn noted throughout the season, Zeller exploited his mobility to become the best big man in the country in transition. At the draft combine, he ran the fastest three-quarter-court sprint among the power forwards and centers, and also impressed with his standing vertical leap and agility. He handles the ball well for his size, enabling him to be a threat off the dribble in a face-up situation. Zeller is a 75 percent free-throw shooter and has some shooting range.
Weaknesses: Zeller struggled to finish in the post at Indiana. If that part of his game doesn’t improve — and adding strength would help in that regard — he’ll have to become better as a mid-range shooter and rely even more on transition opportunities to score.
What Scouts Say: “The best running big man in the draft. He’s a better face-up player than we were shown in college. He has to get stronger on his post-ups, but he handles the ball well for a guy his size. If he develops a jump shot, that will give him more space to drive. I think he has great upside. When you talk to him, you see he’s an elite human being. He really gets it, and physically he’s an elite athlete.”
Team Fit: With needs up and down the roster, the Bobcats select Zeller, a versatile, all-around offensive-minded athlete who joins a frontcourt that includes fellow youngsters, Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Zeller’s stock has bounced up and down, but his athletic tools should pair nicely with Kidd-Gilchrist as the Bobcats work desperately to form some sort of identity. Charlotte ranked third-worst in offensive efficiency last year and will need Zeller to score from Day 1. That Charlotte would pass on two players with significantly more upside — Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore — is genuinely surprising.