NBA Draft Profile: Tyler Zeller

By: Kels Dayton


7-0, 250 lbs.

Hometown: Washington, IN

School: North Carolina

Class: Senior



STRENGTHS: Zeller has the requisite size to be a contributing big man on an NBA roster. He’s well-coordinated and has a good 15-to-18-foot jump shot, which could become deadly with more work at the next level. Zeller is also a good free throw shooter for a big man (80% FT this season). He has shown the ability to finish with either hand, and has a small repertoire of post moves that can be successful. He’s also proven to be a somewhat capable passer and occasionally finds the open man out of double teams. He can move like most other human beings on the planet, meaning he’s not going to be tripping all over himself like some 7-foot prospects. That, along with his solid jumper could make him a deadly weapon as a pick-and-pop shooter.


WEAKNESSES: Zeller is a capable passer, but has a long way to go to become effective at the NBA level. He often puts his head down and tries to dribble his way out of double-teams, which is a major mistake in the NBA. He  could end up being a turnover machine because he doesn’t seem to have any general idea on when to attack, and when to just kick the ball back out. He’s also not very strong down low and can be moved across the lane very easily. Zeller is going to have to bulk up in order to hold his own.


BOTTOM LINE: It’s certainly worth taking a shot on a big man with a nice J, as that will allow you to space the floor in the NBA. Still, there are a lot of areas in which Zeller is going to have to steadfastly improve before he can become a big-time player at the next level. He needs to add strength, toughness, and more basketball IQ, because Zeller can often get lost with the ball inside. If he is able to do those things, Zeller could become a solid rotation guy for whomever takes him in the first round.


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