Here's how Bleacher Report NBA Draft Lead Writer Jonathan Wasserman breaks down Zeller's physical attributes:
Zeller made all sorts of noise at the combine, testing as the top athlete among the bigs and measuring in at a legit 7'0''. He does lack strength, but his mobility and high basketball IQ allow him to navigate through stronger defenders and finish around them.
His foot speed and grace are a big reason why he's capable of face-up basketball, which is what should allow him to play the 4 at the next level. He's agile enough to elude defenders on his path to the hole while moving at full speed.
Zeller's mobility is also a huge plus. He gets himself at least one or two easy baskets a game just beating his man down the floor for an uncontested layup in transition. Teams that play up-tempo will love what Zeller can offer in the full-court game.
Getting to Know Cody Zeller
Zeller has two brothers with NBA experience, so he has a unique mental and preparation advantage compared to the rest of the bigs in this draft. He'll approach his rookie campaign with an eagerness to expand his game and work as an unselfish teammate.
NBA Player Comparison
If Zeller continues to upgrade his already promising jump shot, he could have an inside-out impact similar to Portland Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge.
His basement comparison would be a more agile, versatile version of his brother Tyler.
Zeller's game is already quite polished, and he has ample athleticism to compete as a rookie, so he will be an immediate contributor in the lineup.
I would be surprised if he didn't get a few starting opportunities in his first year, but he doesn't project to be an upper-echelon star right away.
If he can add a little more bulk to his 7'0" frame and extend his jump shot out to 18-20 feet, there's no reason he wouldn't be able to earn multiple All-Star appearances. A combination of assertiveness, power and finesse would make him a tough matchup for any post player in the league.
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