Cody Zeller hasn't often been projected as a top-five pick in Thursday's 2013 NBA Draft, and often isn't even projected as a top-10 pick, but ESPN's Chad Ford reports the Charlotte Bobcats are interested in taking the Indiana big man with the fourth overall selection.
Zeller (scouting report) looked like a potential player of the year heading into his sophomore season, but questions about the 7-footer's NBA potential began to wane as he repeatedly demonstrated an inability to take over games offensively. He slipped from a potential first overall pick to general consensus as the third-best center in the draft, behind Nerlens Noel and Alex Len.
But Charlotte GM Rich Cho is apparently very high on Zeller, the youngest brother of Cleveland power forward Tyler and former Phoenix power forward Luke. Ford reports that Zeller is in the mix for the fourth overall selection in the draft, alongside Maryland center Len (scouting report), UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett (scouting report) and Kansas wing Ben McLemore (scouting report).
Zeller would make a very athletically gifted frontcourt pairing with Bismack Biyombo, the seventh pick from the 2011 draft who is still very raw offensively. The Bobcats' most effective big option this past season was probably Byron Mullens, and with Josh McRoberts a free agent, the team has an opening for size. Bobcats blog Rufus on Fire wrote that Zeller would be an ideal fit for Charlotte due to his potential pick-and-roll pairing with Kemba Walker.
Zeller places seventh on Jonathan Tjarks' big board, with Tjarks feeling Zeller could project better as a power forward if he improves his jump shot in the NBA. Tjarks' most recent mock draft projects Zeller to the Suns at No. 10. He places 11th in DraftExpress' mock.