Following a terrific freshman season, the bar was raised for Cody Zeller. Unfortunately, he did not make the significant leap many experts believed he had to after forgoing last year’s NBA Draft.
Statistically speaking, Zeller made no significant improvements to his scoring average and shooting percentages. Per 40 minutes, Zeller scored 21.8 points this year compared to 21.7 points his freshman season. His field goal percentage dipped in his sophomore season, going from 62.3 percent his freshman year to 56.2 percent this year.
The 20-year-old big man told media at the draft combine that he has no regrets about staying an extra season. He cited reasons beyond basketball for his decision to stay.
I feel like this was the best time from me. I’m 35 credits from graduating from the Kelly School of Business, which is known around the world. And we had a lot of people leaving this year, so I don’t have any regrets.
At 6’10, 230 lbs., Zeller is projected to make the move to power forward at the next level. Though he made little improvements to his game, he’s still fairly talented offensively and could be an asset to a team looking for scoring out of the four spot. One of Zeller’s greatest strengths is his ability to run the floor in transition. That should be no surprise considering tests revealed him to be the most athletic big man in attendance of this year’s draft combine.
Would Zeller work for the Kings? Sacramento could use some additional size at power forward and center. But if DeMarcus Cousins is part of Vivek Ranadivé’s plans, a big man who can block shots and be a defensive presence would probably be a better fit.
Mike Schmitz, an assistant video coordinator for the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam and former contributor to TrueHoop Network affiliate Valley of the Suns, has been putting together video scouting reports of prospects for Draft Express the last two years. Get to know more about Zeller in Schmitz’s breakdown below.