The Charlotte Bobcats are attempting to re-define their identity after serving as the laughing stock of the league over the past few seasons.
They will be changing their name back to the Hornets next season, and they finally have some legit NBA talent on their roster. In addition to signing big man Al Jefferson, the Bobcats drafted Cody Zeller with the fourth overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. With these two big men added to the core of Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, it looks like the Bobcats are finally starting to turn things around.
I’ll be honest; my first reaction to the Bobcats selecting Zeller at fourth was a negative one. Most had Zeller projected to go around 10, and with Alex Len and Nerlens Noel still on the board it seemed like the Bobcats reached for Zeller. But Zeller has done much to prove myself and others wrong in his short professional career.
He was extremely impressive during Summer League, averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in four games and being named to the All-Tournament Team.
Granted, this was only in Summer League, where results and statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, but for NBA rookies, Summer League serves as a good measure for how ready a young player is to play at the NBA level.
Zeller certainly has a lot of potential. A legit 7’0”, Zeller displayed remarkable speed and mobility during Summer League, as well as good hands and the ability to finish in transition. Zeller needs to expand his range offensively, as well as gain the necessary upper body strength to bang in the post with other NBA players.
But seven footers come at a premium in the NBA, particularly mobile ones like Zeller. While I doubt Zeller ever becomes a star in the NBA, he will likely have a long and productive career. Zeller is clearly a big part of Charlotte’s plans moving forward, and will immediately make an impact in his rookie season.