Power forward Cody Zeller‘s rookie season has been an extreme disappointment to NBA fans everywhere, but the once-struggling 7-footer is slowly showing signs of improvement in recent games. There wasn’t much excitement for Charlotte Bobcats fans when they heard their team selected the former Indiana Hoosier with the fourth pick, and Zeller’s first half of the season performance gives those fans a chance to feel upset. Zeller has noticeably had problems translating his successful college game to professional competition.
Steve Clifford isn’t rushing the former NCAA star to be something he isn’t, rather the Cats’ head coach is taking it slow and steady with the undersized big man to build for a brighter future. Lately Clifford’s smart coaching strategies seem to have shined well on the 21-year-old center. Zeller has scored double-digit point totals in four of his last five games (averaging about 10 over last five) and compiled 26 rebounds in just under 20 minutes in each contest.
Hearing that slightly bright fact may make Cats fans feel a little more comfortable watching the once lost young athlete run the floor in recent games. The biggest thing to take from Zeller’s hot streak over the past five games is he simply looks comfortable. Comfortable? Why should fans be happy about a player simply being comfortable? For Zeller, it’s a whole different story.
Whether it has been forcing up low-quality shots, breaking up the spacing of the offense or just looking plain afraid to be himself at times, it’s clear that Zeller has looked uncomfortable on the court throughout the entity of his rookie season.
Making small steps to improvement with more consistent scoring, limited turnovers and, most importantly, a hint of confidence will help the fourth overall pick live up to some of the draft day comments he was given. Zeller is still a piece of work, but any signs of becoming a better player will give Charlotte just a little relief! Hopefully he can be an extremely more efficient bench option for the remainder of the season.