Trail Blazers

Looking at Cody Zeller's path to the Blazers

Trail Blazers

The Blazers have reportedly signed Cody Zeller to a one-year deal.

Zeller’s arrival comes after an eight-year run with the Hornets which began as an interesting one.

Having signed Zeller along with Ben McLemore and pairing them with CJ McCollum is a reminder of how interesting the 2013 NBA Draft was.

The No. 1 pick flamed out of the league, the Rookie of the Year from the class peaked as a rookie, and the best player from the class was selected outside of the lottery.

And then there’s Cody Zeller. A guy who was on the right side of success with Indiana in college and produced as a near double-double machine, averaging 16.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in two seasons as a Hoosier.

Download and Subscribe to the Talkin' Blazers Podcast

Coming out of college he wasn’t an athletic player, just someone who found a way to get the job done. 

On mock drafts he was slated as a late lottery pick, but on draft night the Hornets thought otherwise. Selecting him with the No. 4 pick.

Eight years later and he is one of the longest-tenured Hornets ever. In almost a decade with the team, which was mainly led by Kemba Walker, Zeller played multiple roles for the team. From being a starter or a reserve. Whatever the team needed from him, he attempted to excel at it.

Zeller joined the Blazers as the team moved on from Zach Collins and maybe Enes Kanter. What the 28-year-old will bring to the team is rebounding and a deft touch at the rim.

 

The interior is where Zeller earned his check, shooting 65.1% in the restricted area and 55.6% on layups. 86.4% of shots came within 10 feet.

“I don’t necessarily meet the eye test," Zeller said. "I’m not going to block three shots a game. I’m not going to make four or five 3s a game. But when I’m on the court, the team plays well. And that’s been throughout my career. Because I am willing to put my body on the line. Like an offensive lineman, it’s like, I don’t want to or I don’t need any of the credit but there’s a reason why my teammates get open shots. There’s a reason we’re playing better when I’m on the court. I think that’s where I want to be somewhere that what I bring to the team is valued.”

Jumpers aren’t part of his game as he took 78 of them a season ago and shot 32.1%.

Health has been an issue for Zeller, as he hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season since 2015-16. Last season he played in 48 of the Hornets’ 72 games.

For his career, he’s averaging 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds.