averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds in 36 games at Indiana last season. (Porter Binks/SI)
The Bobcats selected Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday. Here's a look at Zeller and how he fits with Charlotte:
Bio: Indiana | Sophomore | Power Forward/Center
Vitals: 7-0, 230 pounds
2012-13 Statistics: 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1 steal, 56.2 percent shooting in 36 games.
Strengths: As SI.com's Luke Winn noted throughout the season, Zeller exploited his mobility to become the best big man in the country in transition. At the draft combine, he ran the fastest three-quarter-court sprint among the power forwards and centers, and also impressed with his standing vertical leap and agility. He handles the ball well for his size, enabling him to be a threat off the dribble in a face-up situation. Zeller is a 75 percent free-throw shooter and has some shooting range.
Weaknesses: Zeller struggled to finish in the post at Indiana. If that part of his game doesn't improve -- and adding strength would help in that regard -- he'll have to become better as a mid-range shooter and rely even more on transition opportunities to score.
What Scouts Say: "The best running big man in the draft. He's a better face-up player than we were shown in college. He has to get stronger on his post-ups, but he handles the ball well for a guy his size. If he develops a jump shot, that will give him more space to drive. I think he has great upside. When you talk to him, you see he's an elite human being. He really gets it, and physically he's an elite athlete."
With needs up and down the roster, the Bobcats select Zeller, a versatile, all-around offensive-minded athlete who joins a frontcourt that includes fellow youngsters, Bismack Biyombo
and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
. Zeller's stock has bounced up and down, but his athletic tools should pair nicely with Kidd-Gilchrist as the Bobcats work desperately to form some sort of identity. Charlotte ranked third-worst in offensive efficiency last year and will need Zeller to score from Day 1. That Charlotte would pass on two players with significantly more upside -- Nerlens Noel
and Ben McLemore
-- is genuinely surprising.