It seems like every year, there are discussions about who should be starting at each position. In the case of the center position, we’ve never exactly had a single, strong group of centers that could compete for the job. We rode the coat tails of Al Jefferson for 3 seasons, and by that 3rd season, Cody Zeller had to step up and play the spot, which he did quite well. At 7’ tall and dancing around the mid 240lb mark, Cody had nights where he looked great and other nights where he got knocked around by the bigger (and by bigger, I mean heavier) centers in the league.
Something that folks may not realize is that a player works during the offseason, getting prepared for the position that they are most likely going to play throughout the season. In the case of Cody, he lifted weights, gained strength, and worked on his shooting range, all in preparation to play at the power forward spot. My guess would be that the time spent was to have him ready to play power forward, while still being able to moonlight a little at the C position for small stretches. Little did the Hornets or Cody know that Al Jefferson would go down with a torn meniscus, and Cody would have no choice but to play center for the bulk of the season. I believe that if he would have known he would be seeing the most minutes there, perhaps he would have come into the season weighing more around 250-255lbs. Perhaps he could have focused heavily over the summer on sharpening his post-game. Whatever the case could have been, Cody was able to hold his own against some of the best centers in the league. Like I said, there were good games and bad ones. So should Cody be preparing for time at the center position this summer? I think he should. I believe adding the weight and strength and honing a post-game would be most beneficial to him. He’s going to have to if he wants that starting position because there’s another guy on the team now that could be bidding for the spot.
At 7’2”, 270lbs, Ol’ Roy is going to give Cody and the Hornets something that we haven’t had at the center position in…well…forever. He’s bringing the “physicality”. He’s bringing a true “BIG” presence in the middle. His 7’4” wingspan will fill the paint with more Roy than any challenging player will ever want to face in trying to get to the bucket. In addition to his size, he’s a former all-star, and finished 2nd in the 2014 defensive player of the year voting. Now, I know that there are many who keep blasting how terrible he was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Not much good has come from LakerLand in the past few years. I believe Roy was just in a bad situation on an even worse team. His return to the east coast may be just what the doctor ordered.
So are you wondering about these guys and their numbers?
Let me start by saying that I am only displaying the numbers I found on ESPN. They are basic numbers that the site reports.
Cody Zeller will be entering his 4th season with the Hornets, and in this 4th season, he posted career highs in field goal percentage (52.9%), rebounds (6.2), blocks (0.9), steals (0.8), and points (8.7). I still believe that Cody is growing as a pro basketball player and his basketball IQ is off the charts. Combine the IQ with his ceaseless motor and hustle, and the end result is a true, up and coming player with a bright future in the NBA, long-term.
Roy Hibbert, however, had his worst season as a pro player since his rookie year. He posted a 44.3% field goal percentage, 4.9 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.4 steals, and 5.9 points. Again, I have my belief that the Lakers were just a horrible fit for him. A player with career averages of 46.5% field goal percentage, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.8 blocks, 0.4 steals, and 11.1 points per game doesn’t just nose-dive off the map. Players have bad seasons. Ask Jeremy Lin about his time in LA. I believe Roy went through the exact same situation and I fully expect Ol’ Roy to be himself back in the Eastern Conference on a team that is a very unselfish team.
So if you want the side by side numbers of what I personally believe should be the player comparisons:
So who do we start? Let me just say that I would love to be a fly on the wall for training camp this season. This competition is going to be a good one.
I need to make mention of the Hornets new addition. Yesterday we signed Treveon Graham to the team. Details of the deal were not disclosed. The Hornets, and other teams do this every year. We add players to the roster so that we have around 18 guys for training camp. It’s similar to Summer League in the sense that a player may be found and could stick with the team. Usually they do not, but in the case of Graham, it is possible. We are in need of a small forward to back up MKG, and at 6’6”, 233 lbs, and a wingspan of 6’ 10-1/2”, he could possibly have a chance at the roster. He could play the SG or SF position and while in the D-League last season, he posted the following numbers:
- 7 Points
- 1% Field Goal Percentage
- 9% from the 3 point line
- 1 assists
- 8 steals
- 2 blocks
In the Summer League he posted the following averages:
- 16 points
- 7% Field Goal Percentage
- 4 rebounds
- 2 assists
- 2 steals
You just never know what can happen.
Let’s Go Hornets!