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June 19, 2013

Cody Zeller makes his case for the Charlotte Bobcats to draft him

1qW1ys.St.138This might not endear him to ACC fans, but here’s how Indiana big man Cody Zeller makes his sales pitch to NBA teams:

“(The Big Ten) was the best league in the country this year. Every night you were going against a first-rounder,’’ said Zeller, who worked out for the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Zeller has a point; between Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and the Hoosiers, it was quite a men’s basketball conference this past season. Zeller, a 7-foot sophomore, was certainly tested. He averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds, and figures to be a lottery pick.

There was a time last fall when Zeller was talked about as perhaps the best player in the 2013 draft. Then he was overshadowed by the rise of fellow Hoosier Victor Oladipo. It’s indicative of his uncertain status in next Thursday’s draft that Zeller has already auditioned for eight teams.

“There are going to be a lot of moving parts, a lot of things that could happen on draft night,’’ Zeller said. “So I try to impress them all.’’

Zeller benefits from having two older brothers already playing in the NBA. Luke is with the Phoenix Suns and Tyler, a former star at North Carolina, plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That’s a plus, Cody said, but their advice helps only so much.

“They always go through things before me. They told me to enjoy the process because it goes fast,’’ Zeller said.

Obviously the Bobcats need help inside, particularly scoring, so Zeller would make some sense in Charlotte. Whether they could justify using the No. 4 pick on him, relative to other candidates, is debatable.

What does Zeller see as his distinctive attribute?

“More than anything my work ethic. It’s carried me to this point and it will carry me a long ways,’’ Zeller said. “Day-of-game, after the game, I’ll always come in the same way.’’

The Bobcats worked out a dozen players in two sessions Wednesday. Zeller was the only one who’d be a candidate for the fourth pick. The Bobcats have no second-round pick; it goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder to complete the Byron Mullens trade.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 19, 2013 at 06:05 PM | Permalink


I still say to trade down with Minnesota for 9 and 26. Take Len if he is there but if not, take Zeller. Zeller is 7-0. You can not teach 7-0. He will add weight and become a good PF. Sign a FA center, take the best available shooter with 26, build on that and draft the three best players in the 2014 draft. I also said to trade down last year and take Harrison Barnes. He has proven to be a good shooter and his game is developing. No more long term contracts like the wasted one on T. Thomas. Sign Henderson and McMullen with reasonable deals or let them go.

Posted by: Glenn | Jun 19, 2013 12:47:14 PM

Thing about trades is that the other team has to want to do it. If they can convince the Timberwolves to do that, I'm all for it.

Posted by: Rick | Jun 19, 2013 12:52:02 PM

minny will do it if oladipo is on the table at 4. and maybe if mclemore is. if both are gone, they're out.

highly likely both len and zeller are gone at 9 which would make that trade ROUGH and probably leave us reaching for either noguiera, karasev or gobert if we're going big. i don't think any of them are scheduled to work out for us which is the other problem with trading back on draft night. you're picking guys you haven't scouted quite as thoroughly.

I like zeller a lot. the only reason he isn't the consensus #1 is because of short arms and people trying to outthink each other. he's way better than his brothers and they are nba caliber bigs. easily the safest pick in the draft and has shown a higher ceiling than most of the other top end prospects. higher ceiling, higher floor, seems like a no brainer.

I like noel more, i'd be on the fence about mclemore and oladipo simply because I think henderson helps us equally as much as they would. Bennett doesn't seem like a great fit but he's the ultimate wild card there. would prob rather have robinson than bennett.

i have no reason to believe they would take zeller at 4. hopefully they do everything necessary to get seth curry AT THE VERY LEAST on summer league and training camp roster.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 19, 2013 1:08:39 PM

You really think Hendo will be back? I don't see it happening. He has stunk it up overall in Charlotte. He has a low basketball IQ and rarely gives his all. Let him walk, this team needs to focus on the future. Len in the only answer.

Posted by: Sec107CatsFan | Jun 19, 2013 1:16:53 PM

I disagree that Henderson has stunk. I think he's made pretty great strides over the course of his rookie contract. I think we bring him back but don't overpay.

Let's get a big. Noel, Zellar, or Len in that order.

Posted by: Nick | Jun 19, 2013 1:28:58 PM

"Len is the only answer."?

That is one of the craziest things ever written.

Posted by: knhart | Jun 19, 2013 2:19:25 PM

I like Zeller if Len is gone. Bring back McRoberts and there is your rotation at the 4 position. Can even play them together. Talk about ball movement. 2 good passing big man can't hurt.

Posted by: Bobnet | Jun 19, 2013 2:49:01 PM

Using the 4th pick on Cody Zeller is probably the best move for the Bobcats in this Draft. Anthony Bennett is a really good option too, but I'd still go with Cody over him. There are too many positives about his game to ignore him.

He (as power forward) and Biz (as center) playing together would be complementary - with Biz blocking shots and being the primary rebounder, and Cody adding rebounding too, but especially doing all that Biz can't do in offense (this still leaves open the option of looking for a more talented starting center for the future).

Trading down for Derrick Williams (2nd pick overall in 2011) is a good option too. Cody shouldn't last to 9, and anyway, he and D. Williams would be redundant to each other. Even though Len is risky (with his ankle issue), he'd be a great pick at 9; but, it's practically impossible he'll last that (relatively) low. Still, there are some good options at 9 too. (I just don't want to speculate too much on what to do with a trade that may never happen).

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 19, 2013 5:10:48 PM

I think you can take zeller and williams together. williams is wayyy more redundant with MKG than he is with zeller. you can work the 3 of them 32 mpg in a 3-4 rotation, have biz clock 30 at the 5, mcroberts or mullens clock the remaining 18 or so.

then you have henderson/taylor at the 2 and walker/sessions(while he's here) at the 1.

I don't think that's an outstanding scenario, but it's doable. I prefer robinson's toughness over williams but williams has proven himself more. both have the chip on the shoulder that we should be looking for in guys the same way detroit brought in billups and hamilton and wallace.

it's possible zeller is there at 9. seems like noel/mclemore/porter/oladipo/bennett/len are pretty solidly positioned in the top 7 with a wild card spot that may be trey burke's or zeller's or maybe even carter-williams. it's actually a pretty solid shot that zeller is there. only real threat is sacramento. can't see phoenix or detroit going that direction.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 19, 2013 5:40:18 PM

I like Hendo if the contract is reasonable, he doesn't make the team better or worse. Remember Jeffrey Taylor filled in nicely in the beginning when we was 7-5 at the start of the season. I think he's a better compliment to Kemba. However that's a coin flip between Zeller and Len. Cho has his work cut out.

Posted by: Top | Jun 19, 2013 8:02:32 PM


Posted by: GUESS WHO | Jun 19, 2013 8:56:02 PM

Last night Miami did everything possible to keep Danny Green from getting the ball. This is the same Danny Green who was cut by Cleveland, cut twice by the Spurs and bounced around the D-League. The moral is that players CAN improve significantly. Hopefully we will see improvement with Ewing working with Biz and especially Mullens. Mullens at 7' and 275lb is one of the very biggest men in the NBA though he plays small. I actually like what McRoberts brings to the table. He is a rebounder and a playmaker.

Posted by: Nativetarheel | Jun 19, 2013 9:09:50 PM

In the draft I would go after a big (Zeller is versatile and would pair nicely with McRoberts). Via free agency I would target s veteran shooting guard.

I think Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Josh McRoberts are key players.

Posted by: Airbrush87 | Jun 19, 2013 9:32:07 PM

I was saying that Zeller and Derrick Williams are redundant to each other because for both of them the primary NBA position is PF (though Cody can do some C duty, while D.W. can do some SF), and in terms of skill set, they are both versatile offensive players in the first place, with defense and rebounding coming second.

About the forwards rotation you proposed ("not outstanding, but doable") which would mean treating D.W. as a combo forward (playing half-half between the two forward positions), would you really like that?
I honestly wouldn't. Either Cody or D.W. can play with MKG, and they'd be pretty complementary. But have these two (Cody and D.W.) paired, and headaches begin, for rebounding and defense.

I think we need to look for one PF who can develop as a starter; not more than one new PF, since we already have enough other players at this position (assuming they are not stupid enough not to keep a point forward like Josh McRoberts).

Between trading for D. Williams and drafting Cody, I go with Cody, if only because of his size and perspective to bulk up some; besides PF, he could give some minutes at C when needed (unlike D.W.).

As for TRob, I'd still like trading for him. But, if we get him, I don't see - as mentioned before - the need on the roster for getting another PF (even one with a different skill set). So, I was talking about this draft assuming they are not making a move for TRob (as it appears so far). If they will, I think we'll need to look at this draft differently.

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 20, 2013 1:57:12 AM

Man however says hendo ain't good don't know basketball he is a great defender lead the team in points and was the biggest post threat on the team and he is a shooting guard man learn something about basketball before you talk about players

Posted by: D Roc | Jun 20, 2013 2:16:19 AM

Zeller has a 6'10 WINGSPAN. That is TERRIBLE for someone his height.

He will struggle on the inside game in the NBA with bigger, longer forwards. He'll be another Hansbrough in the NBA. Certainly no one to spend the 4th pick on.


Posted by: D.W.G. | Jun 20, 2013 6:26:29 AM

Zeller is a massively overrated NBA prospect due to a lack of physicality. Cody doesn’t look like the explosive athlete that can finish through traffic. That being said, Zeller would be a rotation guy for many years to come in the NBA Now, if you are looking to simply add quality bodies to your roster, then you can't go wrong with Zeller.
When the opportunity presents itself to take a 7 foot banger with skills, and it doesn't happen often, you simply have to take him. Len, if he is still there at 4 and either the Cavs haven't taken him or another team hasn't jumped up to grab him, should be the obvious choice. If you are iffy about Len's injury, consult the Doctor that resides and practices in Charlotte. The backup blan in Oladipo or McLemore.
No reason to take Zeller unless Cho pulls off some kind of miracle and actually is able to trade down to 9 or 10.

Posted by: Bob goes Horny | Jun 20, 2013 7:24:48 AM

One caveat to those who believe Gerald Henderson will re-up with Charlotte, and that is IF either Ben McLemore or Victor Oladipo are drafted 4th by the "soon-to-be-Hornets." If Charlotte selects either other these Shooting Guards, Hendo sees the handwriting on the wall and will bolt. Henderson was never going to be a solid starter, anyhow, although he would be a solid contributor off the bench. Fact is, Henderson, just like many former Bobcats, think more highly of themselves than what their true measure of talent is in the NBA. DJ Augustin, Raymond Felton, Melvin Ely, Kareem Rush, and Kwame Brown, just to name a few. Fact is, when you are the best player on the worst team, you tend to believe you can do more on another team.
If a Shooting Guard is taken with the 4th pick, they WILL BE the starter. Hendo can either accept the fact and come off the bench or come off the bench for another team. Reality bites...just ask all the former Bobcats.

Posted by: Bob goes Horny | Jun 20, 2013 7:49:24 AM

he already is a solid starter. he was given 2 years to be that, and he gave you 15 ppg efficiently, with upper echelon defense. he's NOT a top 10 shooting guard in the league, but he's NO DOUBT top 30. probably top 15-20. He's the kind of guy (like his dad) that starts on a championship contender but is NOT the star player. By not keeping him and drafting oladipo or mclemore (and not trading them after) would mean we just gave away our 2009 draft pick. right after giving away our 2008 pick and our 2005 pick and our other 2008 pick and our 2006 pick. You can't build through the draft by giving away your guys. You need 9 guys in this league. You can give henderson a 3 year deal to pay him as a starter, and by year 3 he's the 6th or 7th man and the 4th pick this year starts when he's ready. i look at it like this.......which is better? zeller, henderson, and taylor or just oladipo. because that's basically the kind of decision you're making. you resign henderson, worst case scenario, he's a trade asset. but you let him walk and we have cap room that we can't even use properly without a miracle salary dump a la rudy gay/james harden situations.

and to the guy who said zeller isn't an explosive athlete.......ummmm dude just delivered one of the most incredible combines we've ever seen from a big. his vertical and lateral quickness more than makes up for his lack of wing span (which is short). and his ability to run the floor is better than several guards in the 1st round of this draft. including oladipo's.


I'm not disagreeing, more offering an idea/scenario that might improve your perceived lineup issue. I'm seeing it where you either have williams playing the 3, zeller playing the 4 and biz playing the 5 (can't be bad for rebounding with the 3 of them on the court) or MKG at the 3, williams at the 4, zeller at the 5 (where mkg rebounding well for his position makes up for some lost in williams and zeller) and of course there would be versions of that with either playing the 4 with biz and MKG in the lineup which would basically be like having mcroberts in the lineup. williams gave you the same kind of rebounding mcroberts does and he was doing that while playing a lot of 3 in minny. he's no rodman, but he's no brook lopez either.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 20, 2013 10:26:54 AM

The relatively short wing span (actually, closer to 6'11') is Cody's one important weakness; those of us who like this player have already mentioned it too. It becomes a problem for rebounding and shot blocking. You resolve it by pairing this player with those who compensate for this weakness (such as MKG and Biz), so the team totals don't suffer in this regard.

Once you did that, you can benefit of all the great strengths in his game, where he surpasses by far those two good rebounders, and also, any other PF we have now.
His versatility in offense (efficient scoring inside and from outside), his potential for NBA defense at 4 too (7 footer with a 8'10" vertical reach, great mobility and footwork), running the floor very well in transition, are not things you can either find easily, or deny based on ONE weakness. No player is perfect, or even close (unless you look at a few all-time greatest).
So, you look at the overall strengths/weaknesses balance, and also, at how the player fits in a team (complementarity with other players).

If we traded for Thomas Robinson for instance (and, I'd like that too, but they're not moving that way) you'd have a trade-off: more inside toughness, better rebounding, but also, less offensive skills and versatility. And Derrick Williams? He has longer wing span, but he's shorter and he has both offensive versatility and less-than-great rebounding, like Cody; he's also not much of a defender (less than Cody on this).

- - -

I think there is an issue of confidentiality of medical information (under federal law - HIPAA), when you talk about the doctor who worked with Len. So, we are left to guess, based on whatever information the player and his agent are willing to disclose.
His injury is a serious issue. Noel's torn ACL wouldn't be so bad; but, we know it's a repeat injury of the same knee, which becomes a different story. These two are on a par, as red flags.

Remember last draft, how a player with Jared Sullinger's potential slipped down to #21, because of concerns about his back? The young man kept saying "Don't worry, I'll be fine", his dad said the same, only in stronger terms. The Celtics took a chance on him (not with a high pick), and after 45 games (at just 19 mpg) he was out with his back needing surgery.

You can only hope for these kids that they'll be fine and able to fully contribute at NBA level. But, how long until that will happen (if it will)? You don't use high draft picks when such red flags show up.

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 20, 2013 11:05:48 AM

There is a partial overlap between the points Charlottean and I make on Cody Z. (which is a good thing!). Anyway, I saw his last comment only after posting mine (as a response to earlier comments on Cody and on Len).

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 20, 2013 11:13:10 AM

Why not do what the Carolina Hurricanes are doing? Go after a family!!

Three Zellers?? The bad thing is that they all play primarily the same position whereas the Staal brothers play somewhat differing position.

Ok, ok. I was joking, but I think THIS Zeller would be good to have IF YOU TRADE DOWN! He is not worth the 4th Pick...

Posted by: Britt | Jun 20, 2013 11:41:16 AM

Would be nice to get Cousins (even though he's known as a trouble maker). I don't think we have a realistic chance at that, even for our 4th pick. We'll see.

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 20, 2013 12:05:33 PM

As much as I hate cousins because of the attitude, I think we have the right guys in biz, kemba, MKG, henderson, taylor, that it might work.

MKG has a way with his teammates. and being a fellow callipari/kentucky guy....can't hurt.

the big problem with cousins is that he's got the red flags and he's up for an extension. you don't have the wait and see chance that a rookie gives you. You know what he brings talent wise but are you really ready to commit big money to a guy that might be a constant pain? we saw how that went with stephen jackson.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 20, 2013 12:17:06 PM

I don't think Cousins is what you would call a "bad guy" (like, e.g. Sean Williams from Boston College was). I think he's more on the immature side - like Andre Blatche was in Washington.

That's where it helps to have a "players' coach". I think Steve Clifford wouldn't worry too much about working with Cousins and helping him grow up.
If Dunlap hadn't been fired, bringing Cousins here would've been out of the question; these two would've been on a collision course.

Having said that, I'll believe it when I'll see it; so far, I don't see a realistic chance for such a trade.

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 20, 2013 12:54:39 PM

i think blatche is the perfect comparison. but i think blatche IS a bad guy. everybit as much as williams.

i still think being around MKG and kemba would be a positive for him but he's an absolute wild card.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 20, 2013 1:34:33 PM

also worth noting.....noel claims he weighed in yesterday at 218.

also had no idea rodman noel at NCSU was his brother. 2 brothers playing ACC football and he goes and plays SEC basketball. weird.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 20, 2013 1:56:29 PM

Draft a center for Kemba. Len would fit well. I wouldn't be mad if it was Zeller. Look how far the combination of Parker and Duncan has gotten the Spurs. Once you've got those positions covered you can add and subtract the pieces in between and maintain close to the same results. We must finally draft a legit center. BPA now would only logjam the roster with identical skill sets.

Posted by: Ripp | Jun 20, 2013 2:44:09 PM

Regardless of who they draft, and I believe it will be a center or power forward, I also believe Biyombo is going to be a much better player in year 3 with Ewing coaching him and play alot. Price is definitely going to help MKG, and all the 1's, 2's, and 3's especially, in shooting skills. The staff is the best in team history I believe and we are finally headed in the right direction as a franchise. Go HORNcats!

Posted by: Hugo Panther | Jun 21, 2013 1:54:47 AM

who is BPA?

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 21, 2013 3:35:12 PM

Zeller is NOT explosive, is NOT a NBA Starter, and you have serious issues about evaluating college talent. Just because the college players are BMOC at the unpaid level, that doesn't mean jack on the Pro level. My words were QUOTES from other scouts around the NBA, so nice try to dispute my comments.

Sheez, if we could only keep track of these comments, I would love to have known what else you were pushing last year, besides having the Bobcats draft Power Forward Thomas Robinson. Cody Zeller is not strong enough yet to go against the big bangers in the NBA. He will need to get stronger, develop his box out game BIG TIME, and work on his footwork. Zeller does NOT have great foot speed, nor does he possess dynamic lateral quickness. Zeller is NOT known for shot blocking. In college, he could get out on the break, but his college speed will be neutralized in the pro game.
Overall, with development of strength, superior coaching, and patience, Zeller should develop into a rotation big man.

Charlottean, you obviously wear your emotions on your sleeve and let your opinions cloud your objectivity. Zeller is NOT a pick for the Bobcats UNLESS the team was to somehow drop back to 9th in the Draft. Just know that this player doesn't offer a great deal more than what you already have on the Bobcats roster.

Posted by: Bob goes Horny | Jun 22, 2013 9:39:41 PM

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