Over the last two NBA seasons, the Charlotte Bobcats have compiled a record of 28-120, which is just plain miserable no matter how you try to spin it. Michael Jordan‘s team has been through six coaches in the last six seasons, and coming into the draft, they needed help at pretty much every position. While they aren’t going to be title contenders anytime soon, they made a great move by picking up former Indiana Hoosiers center Cody Zeller with the fourth pick.
Right now, there’s really only one established player on the Bobcats roster: point guard Kemba Walker, who was the only player to start all 82 games in the 2012-13 season on his way to averaging just under 35 minutes per game. Zeller likely comes into the Bobcats roster penciled in at the power forward slot, beside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the small forward position. He may even spend some time at center since Brendan Haywood is the only other big man currently under contract.
Charlotte found themselves in a great position at the fourth slot, with both Zeller and Nerlens Noel still available. Their decision to take Zeller, whose down-low defense has been criticized this year, shows that they’re taking a nice, conservative route to the future. Zeller is a player who could have come out after his freshman year and probably been the first or second pick overall, and while his production diminished in his sophomore season, what’s forgotten in the news is his work ethic and desire.
Zeller was being recruited by Indiana when they were at their lowest point, with no obvious path to the success they enjoyed the last two years. When he decided to play for the crimson and cream, he knew that there was no easy day ahead of him, and he took it on anyway. When he came back for his sophomore season, it was with one goal in mind: to help take the team to the national championship. While that goal wasn’t achieved, it shows that Zeller has the heart to grind it out and make everybody on the team better.
So will Zeller make the Bobcats an instant playoff contender? Probably not. But if you’re looking for a cornerstone to come in and stay willing to work on a project team, the guy they call “the big handsome” is your man.