“With the fourth pick in the 2013 NBA draft the Charlotte Bobcats select…Cody Zeller from the University of Indiana“. When you first heard those words were you expecting the young 7-footer to make an immediate impact? Were you expecting him to be a huge part of the Cats’ rotation? Looking at Zeller 18 games into the season we realize that expectations might have been a little to high for the promising No. 4 overall pick.
Now Zeller hasn’t been horrible; in no way is he playing as putrid as rookies like Anthony Bennett and Alex Len (struggling with injuries), but the numbers truly aren’t showing what most fans thought they would be seeing. He is putting up just about five points a game and grabbing close to four rebounds a contest. Are these numbers horrible? No. Are they far worse than most NBA fans expected out of the Cats’ top pick? Yes.
Many thought that Zeller was going to instantly be eased right into the Cats starting lineup, but that is something many Bobcats fans have learned will not be the case. Josh McRoberts has started every game at the power forward position this season, and he has not disappointed in the least. McRoberts has put up the most balanced stat line for the Cats this season posting averages of 8.3 points a game, 5.3 rebounds, and a team leading 4.3 assists.
Has Zeller even started a single game? No. His minutes are a little unexpected as well because he isn’t even getting 20 a game. It seems as though all of our expectations for him this offseason have proven to be just a little much.
Not only have his numbers been a little subpar, but his consistency has lacked. In many cases we see Zeller have a solid game, producing and contributing a great amount in a small role. But what happens next game? We see either the same average game or we see a terrible shooting (average field goal percentage is 35.2), turnover filled game. Now he hasn’t been terrible from contest to contest, but you can tell there is a level of inconsistency in his game.
Will we see a better, more improved Zeller as the season progresses? You can 100 percent believe in that scenario, but we can’t conclude too much after his rather over hyped start. With more experience comes more knowledge, and that’s something a feel the former Hoosier will learn throughout this season.
The numbers and minutes aren’t there yet, but don’t expect them to be like that come season’s end. I think we see him improve; that may sound corny, but it may as well be the case. With guys like Al Jefferson and Josh McRoberts mentoring Zeller and showing him how to be productive I find it hard to believe that he will see this stat line for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
Still he will be in the Rising Stars challenge at the 2014 All-Star game and he will still be one of the top 10 rookies on the season, but will we really feel happy about Zeller’s rookie season come April? That’s a question only time will answer.