Skip to content

Cody Zeller looks comfortable, drops 23 in Summer League

Jul 14, 2013, 9:31 PM EDT

LAS VEGAS — When the Bobcats have the ball next season, Al Jefferson is going to set up his own personal KOA Campground on the low block. When he is out of the camp and resting on the bench Bismack Biyombo will be in that same spot.

Which means rookie No. 4 pick Cody Zeller is going to be out on the perimeter more, not exactly what he did in Indiana last season. Scouts would tell you Zeller showed off a jumper in Indiana practices, but last season he averaged 0.7 jump shots a game for the Hoosiers and hit just 37.5 percent on them (stats via DraftExpress).

Summer League in Vegas was going to be about adjusting to that new role for Zeller — and so far so good.

That adjustment is pretty far along if his second Summer League game is any indication — 23 points and 13 rebounds in the Bobcats 86-80 win over Dallas. He was 2-of-5 shooting outside the paint but he showed skill and took advantage when opportunities presented themselves. It was a smart game.

“He did everything — he moved the ball, he made great decisions, his rebounding was great. He had 13, he had 11 defensive, but he went and got it,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. “He played well.”

“I just let the game come to me, I was more comfortable,” Zeller said. “Just more patient, didn’t try to force anything, was glad at the outcome.”

Rather than establish himself on the block Zeller was playing almost like a three — he doesn’t have the range to be a true stretch four but he seemed fairly comfortable out in the thin air away from the basket. He also did a good job of attacking and still getting shots in the paint off cuts and moving without the ball.

“It’s not a huge adjustment for me I was doing it even some in practice in college, and in high school,” Zeller said of playing out on the perimeter and taking more jumpers. “It’s not a huge adjustment for me but it’s just a little bit different.”

The Bobcats strategy for teaching Zeller what they want is a different than most teams would take.

“I’ll be honest with you, what we’re doing with him is a little different than the other (rookies on the Bobcats’ Summer League roster). We’re just kind of letting him feel his way, because he is so smart and the roles are different and all that,” Clifford said. “So it’s not like we’re being as specific with him because: 1) you don’t want to limit him and; 2) he’s so bright, you can see every time at practice he figured something else out.”

Zeller is clearly still learning nuances of the NBA, such as consistently setting good picks (he doesn’t get squared up, although the guy with the ball was in part to blame for being impatient going early). But he also showed a deft passing touch on a couple plays and just a good sense of where the ball should be moved.

A lot of heads snapped when Bobcats GM Rich Cho took Zeller No. 4 — that was higher than Zeller was expected to go and people wondered if that was a Michael Jordan pick. It wasn’t, that was all Cho. We’ll see how it pans out, but so far he’s looked like a smart player quickly learning a new role. It’s a good sign.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Jimmy Butler postpones meetings with other teams after max qualifying offer from Bulls

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:44 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers

    There is a clear compromise of three years at the max, but will the Bulls and Butler get there

  2. PBT Podcast: The top guys to watch as NBA free agency tips off

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Lamarcus Aldridge Wesley Matthews Getty Images

    Big men like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan will shape the free agency landscape.

  3. Scottie Pippen: “I was LeBron James before LeBron James”

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Chicago Fire - Season 3 Getty Images

    Sorry Scottie, LeBron is just the better player.

  4. Report: DeAndre Jordan ’50-50′ in choosing between Mavericks and Clippers

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:03 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five Getty Images

    He’s reportedly seeking a shorter deal, too, which negates L.A.’s inherent advantage.

  5. Report: Lakers among four teams interested in Iman Shumpert

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:20 PM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Shumpert is a restricted free agent, so Cavaliers can match any offer he might receive.

  6. Luke Ridnour traded for the fourth time this summer

    Jun 30, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Orlando Magic v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    And he could be traded again before his contract becomes guaranteed on July 11.

  7. Report: Hawks ‘in the mix’ for Monta Ellis

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Monta Ellis AP

    Hawks are facing a lot of uncertainty with their roster.

  8. Report: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker part of Spurs pitch to LaMarcus Aldridge (and they may be favorites)

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:01 AM EDT

    duncan-parker Getty Images

    The Spurs are right at the front of the line with the Lakers to win Aldridge over.

  9. Kyle Korver to have elbow surgery, no timetable for return

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:45 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two Getty Images

    We knew Korver would need ankle surgery, but this is a bit of a surprise.

  10. Report: LaMarcus Aldridge ‘leaning toward’ signing with Lakers

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three Getty Images

    Aldridge is expected to leave Portland, and the most recent report has the Lakers as the frontrunners to retain his services.

  11. Report: Kobe Bryant called DeAndre Jordan to recruit him to Lakers

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    kobe

    Clippers remain frontrunners to retain Jordan’s services; Lakers, Mavericks also in the mix.

  12. Report: Pero Antic leaving NBA to play overseas

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:45 PM EDT

    Pero Antic AP

    Antic was with the Hawks the last two seasons.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Wade (4064)
  2. L. Aldridge (4011)
  3. J. Embiid (3652)
  4. L. James (3554)
  5. D. Cousins (3411)
  1. K. Love (3300)
  2. K. Bryant (2940)
  3. K. Durant (2441)
  4. N. Batum (2420)
  5. T. Harris (2409)