Sixth in a series of profiles of potential Celtics draft choices.
We’re continuing our Celtics draft preview with a profile of Indiana center Cody Zeller. We’ll preview the best fits for the Celtics up until the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Boston owns the No. 16 pick.
Height, weight: 7-0, 230 pounds
Last played: Indiana University
2012-13 stats:16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 56.2 percent shooting
DraftExpress.com projection: No. 11 pick
Strengths: Versatility, polished offensive game, mobility
Weaknesses: Strength, interior defense, wingspan
Skinny: Zeller’s stock fell dramatically after he bypassed the chance to be a top-10 pick last year and came back for his sophomore season at Indiana. Playing another year in the national spotlight exposed Zeller a bit, calling into question his toughness and response to double-teams and added pressure.
There’s no question he remains one of the more polished players in the draft offensively. In that way, he reminds me of Jared Sullinger, who slid in the draft despite playing at the highest level in college. Zeller lacks Sullinger’s tenacity. He also lacks a consistent jump shot; he attempted just 24 of them in 36 games last season. He makes free throws at a high rate.
Zeller can run the floor, and he improved his rebounding from his freshman to his sophomore season — that was one of the big question marks about his game. He’s a 7-footer with skills and is still a lock to be a top 20 pick.