The Charlotte Bobcats came up short in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League as they lost to the Golden State Warriors in the semi-finals of tournament play in Sin City. However, they played incredibly well and a lot of their young players showed a ton of promise for their prospects moving forward.
Apparently the NBA and the guys running the show in Vegas over the past two weeks took notice of the Bobcats. During the championship game on Monday night, the All-NBA Summer League team was announced and the Bobcats’ Cody Zeller and Jeffery Taylor were among the five players selected, joining Kent Bazemore, John Henson and the MVP of Summer League, Jonas Valanciunas.
Taylor was actually one of the biggest surprises at Summer League as he really showed a ton of potential after finishing his rookie year last season. In four games Taylor averaged 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game on 47.5 percent shooting and 36.8 percent three-point shooting in 31.3 minutes per game.
Though Taylor’s role with Charlotte was inconsistent in his rookie season, he showed in Summer League that he possesses two real NBA skills in his shooting and defensive abilities. To compliment that he also has a sneaky amount of athleticism. He doesn’t really have the complete game to potentially be a star, but his potential as a role player is something for the Bobcats to look forward to.
As for Zeller, many people had criticized the Bobcats selecting Zeller with the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, especially with Nerlens Noel left on the board, and were anxious to see how he would perform in an NBA environment. In the four games that he played, he somewhat legitimized the Bobcats’ draft-night decision as he averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.8 blocks per game on 52 percent shooting.
There was a lot to like about what Zeller put on display in Vegas. One of the impressive things was that he looked a lot more comfortable defensively than many expected. He showed a good sense of awareness and was in good position the majority of the time. He still needs to add some bulk so he doesn’t get bullied in the post, but he looked more polished than expected at Summer League on that end of the floor.
Zeller’s offensive game was the most impressive thing that he showed. Not only does he have a nice array of moves and a good feel in the post, but he also showed off a much improved mid-range jump shot. More than that, his athleticism and skill for a big man offensively allows him to make plays off-the-dribble and from the mid-range that a lot of NBA big men can’t make.
The Bobcats still have a ways to go in the rebuilding process for their franchise, but Summer League showed that they have some solid pieces in place and they may not be as far away as some people might think. It’s a strange thing to say about a team that has won just 28 games over the past two seasons combined, but there is hope with this Charlotte team.