Mar 28, 2013; Washington, D.C., USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Cody Zeller (40) drives against Syracuse Orange center Baye Keita (12) during the first half of the semifinals of the East regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers Draft Target : Cody Zeller

After a season of extreme disappointment, the draft doesn’t provide much hope for the Sixers. Ultimately, the team has nothing to show for parting ways with All-Star Andre Iguodala, and emerging youngsters Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless. Regardless, nobody can be blamed for making the deal, even though it didn’t work out as planned.

Andrew Bynum is an unrestricted free agent, and there is likely a team out there willing to offer him a much bigger contract than the Sixers are after he burned them the way he did this season. Spencer Hawes is an average NBA center at best, and would be better off in a reserve role for the team. While there is no guarantee, Cody Zeller may be able to make that a realistic possibility if he is still on the board when the Sixers are on the clock.

Bio: 

  • Height: 7’0″
  • Weight: 240 lbs
  • Wingspan: 6’8″
  • College: Indiana
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Position: Center

2012-2013 Stats: 29.5 Minutes per Game, 16.5 Points per Game, 8.1 Rebounds per Game

Strengths: Zeller’s biggest strength is his capability to score with his back to the basket accompanied with his his uncanny ability to run the floor for a guy his size. For a 7-footer, he does an exceptional job at filling lanes in transition. Unlike most bigs, his face-up game is not predicated on his ability to hit mid-range jumpers, but his ability to take his man off the dribble using his mobility. Zeller’s scoring instincts are second to none when it comes to centers in this draft. He possesses the rare ability to finish equally as well with either hand around the rim. Getting to the free-throw line, finding holes in the defense, and working along the baseline without the ball are also strengths of his. Cody has great footwork and polished post skills for a player his age. He has mastered a quick spin move when he feels the defender leaning on him while also being able to go to his jump hook with either hand or short turnaround. While Zeller is no elite shot blocker thanks to his freakishly small wingspan for a guy his size, he has solid defensive instincts. His mobility and athleticism allow him to be very active in pick-and-rolls, hedge, and recover quickly. In the post, his lack of elite strength does allow opponents to get deep post position at times, but he has developed a habit of poking away the entry pass.

Weaknesses: The most criticized part of Cody Zeller’s game is his lack of strength and toughness. While it may not have hurt him too badly in college, it will be on full display in the NBA unless he adds some strength to his frame. His lack of strength and toughness are the biggest reasons for his inability to finish through contact, establish deep post position, and keep his opponents out of the low post. While mobility is a strength of his, his lateral quickness is not. More often than not, he struggled to get from one side of the lane to the other to help on defense. Given his lanky frame, Zeller needs to develop some sort of shooting range outside of the post. Versatility will help his offensive skill-set translate to the NBA. Last but not least, his 6’8″ wingspan is a weakness. It may not be his fault, but it hinders his ability to be as effective as a guy his size should on the defensive boards. For a 7-footer in college that lives in the post to average just 8 rebounds a game is very telling.

Possible Role with Sixers: The Sixers lack a low post scorer and have for some time now. Andrew Bynum was supposed to change that, but as free agency draws near, it becomes more apparent that Bynum will walk away without ever playing a game for Philadelphia. In a draft that lacks elite talent, Zeller offers the best low post scoring option in the class if he decides to come out after his sophomore season. His draft stock has fallen after being the consensus number one pick entering this season, but with the Sixers destined to pick 10th or 11th, it’s worth the risk. Right?

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Tags: 2013 NBA Draft Cody Zeller NBA Draft Philadelphia 76ers

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