Kingsfans 2013 Scouting Report: Cody Zeller

Bricklayer

Don't Make Me Use The Bat
Staff member
#1

Cody Zeller
Position:
C
Hgt: 7'0"
Wgt: 230
Age: 20
Projected Draft Number: #7 NBADraft.net/#11 Draftexpress.com
College: Indiana
College Stats 2012-13: 29.5min 16.5pts (.562FG% .000TPt% .757FT%) 8.1reb 1.3ast 1.0stl 1.3blk 2.3TO

Capt's Review: This time last year, Zeller was the guy who essentially opted for the Blake Griffin Gambit - decline to enter the draft as a freshman despite a likely top-5 pick and look to be #1 the next time around. Well, it doesn't look like that's going to pan out, as Zeller's stock has gradually slipped this season to the point where (as of now) he looks to be towards the bottom of the top-ten. Perhaps this is because scouts were hoping to see him improve on his numbers this season but instead saw him stay basically the same - he did improve his defensive rebounding but took a small hit in shooting percentage. Still, I kind of suspect that he's simply been passed up by guys (like teammate Victor Oladipo) who weren't really on the radar a year ago. Offensively, Zeller really can do it all: he can score in the post, he can score off the dribble, he has great anticipation which leads to him getting a ton of putbacks, and he has very good shooting form. Indiana didn't want to let him out of the paint for the most part, so he didn't shoot jumpers in college, but in the NBA he'll likely move to PF where he'll have a good opportunity to show off his stroke. As a rebounder, he's a bit disappointing - he's not great at boxing out and his hands are a bit questionable, a problem which haunts him a bit on the offensive catch as well. Still, he does give a good deal of hustle out on the court and with his height he should be adequate as a rebounder at the PF though it is unlikely to be his calling card. Defensively he is not a paint-protector, another reason to move him to PF and pair him with a shotblocker. I don't want to imply that he's a poor defender - in fact he did a very good job of disrupting what his opponents wanted to do in the paint (it was remarkable how much more aggressively the Hoosier opponents would attack the lane when he was on the bench), it's just that he plays defense on the ground. He doesn't jump on D and he doesn't have a great wingspan. Speaking of jumping, one set of numbers that might help jump Zeller's stock back into the top-5 before all is said and done were his combine athletic testing numbers. Zeller basically blew away all of the other true seven-footers in his athletic combine numbers. Among the 11 participating players 6'10" and up (barefoot) he placed first in all five athletic measurements (standing jump, two-step jump, bench, lateral agility drill, and sprint), and if you extend the range to the 24 players 6'8" and up, he still finished 4th in the bench, 2nd in the two-step jump, and 1st in the other three. Shoot, in his sprint and lateral agility he actually edged out both Trey Burke and Dennis Schroeder. Just stunning athletic numbers for a seven-footer. Combine this with a high basketball IQ and solid fundamentals, and I think that unless his stock moves back into the top five there's a good chance he becomes a steal.

Gilles's Review: Sophomore. Is 7' with only 6'11" wingspan and 8'10" standing reach. Excellent all-around athlete. Played center in college but will have to transition to PF. Indiana had excellent perimeter shooting and he was able to take advantage by moving into free space. Didn't show good jumpshot but his .757 from FT line suggests it might not be that far away. Created pretty well for himself but had trouble finishing against length. Showed better effort on defense this season, but just is not a rim protector. Pretty good defending P&R.

Baja's Review: Zeller surprised everyone, including me, when he opted to return to Indiana for another year. From an experience point of view, it was probably beneficial, but from a financial point of view, it was a mistake. Last year Zeller would have been a top five pick. This year, he is dangerously close to falling out of the lottery. Zeller had a great freshman season, and because of that, expectations were high this year. His problem is that he showed little or no improvement, putting up almost the same exact numbers from his freshman year. Most scouts expected him to dominate, and to be honest, there were games where he struggled, and non more obvious than in the tournament when his team needed him most. Don't get me wrong! Zeller is very skilled, and he's a very good athlete that runs well and has very good leaping ability. His biggest detriment is his extremely short wingspan. At worse, a players wingspan is at least the same length as his height. Zellers is actually a tad shorter than his height, and in my opinion it affects a lot of what he does. On just about every occasion when he was matched up with a center as tall, or taller than him, he struggled to score in the post. This is why I think his future might be at the PF position. He's athletic enough, and his ballhandling skills are more than sufficient for the position. The drawback, is that most of his game is at the basket. He has little in the way of a faceup game, unless its putting the ball on the floor and driving past his defender. For him to be successful at the next level, he needs to develop a consistent jumpshot, which I think he can do. He's a hard and dedicated worker. Defensively, he showed little in the shotblocking dept. Once again, his short arms affect him, as they also do in the rebounding dept, and area where he did improve slightly over his freshman year, but hardly dazzled anyone. There's a part of me that likes Zeller. He has a cool first name, which should count for something. I think at worse he'll be a solid rotational player (think Jason Thompson), and at best, a starter at the PF position if he puts in the work. I just don't see him as a center. Maybe he'll prove me wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.


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#2
I like to compare Zeller to Chris Bosh. They have so much in common. Both are skinny bigs who make up for it with high mobility and athleticism, great shooting touch, and deadly post footwork.
 
#3
I like the idea of a 7' PF! That's pretty rare.

I think a lot of the criticism toward's Zeller is fair, not enough statistical improvements from his freshman year. But he was a marked man this season, and to his credit, really the only Hoosier big out on the floor as they ran a lot of 4 guard, 1 big (Zeller) lineups. I would love to see what he could do paired with Cousins, actually. Defensively, Zeller wouldn't be any worse than PP/Cousins, and probably about the same as JT/Cousins. And I think he has the potential to be better than both JT and PP in the NBA.

But ultimately, he would be better off with a shot blocker on the floor with him. Still think he would be a high value pick @7 as a BAP.
 
#4
Zeller might be my 2nd favorite pick after McCollum of guys that I view as likely to be available at #7. TNot a bunch of guys with legit starting potential imo projected to be around at #7 but Zeller is definitely one of them. II like the bosh comparison.
 
#11
I agree... a more athletic Chris Bosh maybe?
Lol! Have you seen young Bosh? He was smaller than Cody now but he could run in circles around Zeller. Even current Bosh is more athletic, at least with the ball in his hands.
Look at 0:38, 1:43, for example. Don't see Zeller doing that in the future. Chris Bosh standing outside, shooting jumpers? Sure, Zeller is more athletic than that.
 
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#12
Lol! Have you seen young Bosh? He was smaller than Cody now but he could run in circles around Zeller. Even current Bosh is more athletic, at least with the ball in his hands.
Look at 0:38, 1:43, for example. Don't see Zeller doing that in the future. Chris Bosh standing outside, shooting jumpers? Sure, Zeller is more athletic than that.
Just talking prospect wise... zeller and bosh put up near identical college stat lines but zeller won in all of the athletic testing.
 
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#13
Just talking prospect wise... zeller and bosh put up near identical college stat lines but zeller won in all of the athletic testing.
I don't think NBA combine testing is very useful and really shouldn't carry much weight. The biggest reason for this is that NBA games are all about quick twitch muscle movements. Zeller tested out better but Bosh is clearly more explosive an athlete which is MUCH more important in actual games.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#14
Just talking prospect wise... zeller and bosh put up near identical college stat lines but zeller won in all of the athletic testing.
Equating players by the stats they put up in college is worthless. It's meaningless! You have to see them play. Bosh is long and more athletic in his movements. Zeller, while 7 foot in shoes, has extremely short arms and when confronted by a player like Bosh, he got squelched. Bosh has a very good 15 to 18 foot jumpshot. Bosh also was a good 3Pt shooter in college. Zeller's entire game is at the basket. He has no jumpshot, or if he has one, he seldom uses it. In other words, their games, at least coming out of college, are nothing alike. As I said, if Zeller can develop a jumpshot, he has a future at PF. But I don't see him as a starting center on any NBA team.
 
#15
I don't think NBA combine testing is very useful and really shouldn't carry much weight. The biggest reason for this is that NBA games are all about quick twitch muscle movements. Zeller tested out better but Bosh is clearly more explosive an athlete which is MUCH more important in actual games.
disagree... imo zeller is the better athlete coming out of college. I guess we'll just have to leave it at that as they're not gonna square off in a dunk contest anytime soon.
 
#16
Equating players by the stats they put up in college is worthless. It's meaningless! You have to see them play. Bosh is long and more athletic in his movements. Zeller, while 7 foot in shoes, has extremely short arms and when confronted by a player like Bosh, he got squelched. Bosh has a very good 15 to 18 foot jumpshot. Bosh also was a good 3Pt shooter in college. Zeller's entire game is at the basket. He has no jumpshot, or if he has one, he seldom uses it. In other words, their games, at least coming out of college, are nothing alike. As I said, if Zeller can develop a jumpshot, he has a future at PF. But I don't see him as a starting center on any NBA team.
I think most people are looking at zeller as a pf... of course he'll also play a ton of center when a team goes small or gets in foul trouble i'd imagine. But I think most would agree that his classical position designation in the nba will be pf.

Zeller actually was a slightly better ft shooter in college than bosh was. no reason to think he won't be able to stroke it from 18ft sooner than later. He wasn't asked to do that in college due to the obvious... less floor spacing, his being 7 ft tall was a bigger advantage around the basket than it will be in the pros. Zeller projects to be a solid jump shooter in the pros imo.
 
#17
The reports of Zeller's short wingspan are greatly exaggerated. And for the record, his lane agility, speed, and vertical from the combine are all better than Bosh's.

But my school beggins momentarily! Adios!
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#18
The reports of Zeller's short wingspan are greatly exaggerated. And for the record, his lane agility, speed, and vertical from the combine are all better than Bosh's.

But my school beggins momentarily! Adios!
Excuse me, but they actually measured Zeller's wingspan at the combine, so there's no exaggeration. His wingspan almost exactly matches his height, which for a big man is very unusual. As I pointed out in another thread, Jimmer had a faster agility drill, and 3/4 court drill speed than Michael Carter-Williams had. You tell me, do you think Jimmer is a better athlete than Williams? Pure BS, but believe it if you want to.
 
#19
Excuse me, but they actually measured Zeller's wingspan at the combine, so there's no exaggeration. His wingspan almost exactly matches his height, which for a big man is very unusual. As I pointed out in another thread, Jimmer had a faster agility drill, and 3/4 court drill speed than Michael Carter-Williams had. You tell me, do you think Jimmer is a better athlete than Williams? Pure BS, but believe it if you want to.
MCW is 4" taller than Jimmer... huge advantage for Jimmer in the agility drill. MCW's 41" vert pretty much rules out any possible argument of Jimmer being the better athlete even if one had never seen either player and only had draftexpress combine measurments to go by.

If we're sticking with the original argument of Zeller vs Bosh as athletes coming into the nba then it is a much closer comparison. Zeller was significantly better than Bosh in all of the athletic testing that was done and had lower body fat/better body comp but Bosh holds a significant advantge in one major category... his wingspan is almost 6" longer than Zeller's.

Does any of this mean Zeller will be as good a pro as Bosh? Obviously not. But if you're looking for a decent comparison prospect-wise to Zeller then Bosh works in that regard imo (skill wise/size wise/athletic wise). I guess what I mean by this is IF the Kings were to draft Zeller it would be with the idea/hope of Chris Bosh in mind. If we wouldn't want a young Chris Bosh on our team then we wouldn't draft Zeller as Bosh appears to be BEST case for Cody.