Charlotte Hornets: Cody Zeller needs to step it up during 2019-20 season

Charlotte Hornets Cody Zeller. Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Cody Zeller. Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images) /

With the Charlotte Hornets hoping to have a player step up their game next season, could the veteran Cody Zeller give the Hornets just what they need?

The Charlotte Hornets are set to enter next season without their two leading scorers from last season. With the Hornets losing Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb during the offseason, who could step up their game now?

A player on the roster who could be poised to step up his game is Cody Zeller. Hornets fans have not seen a lot of consistent production from the six-year veteran because of his chronic injuries.

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Over the past two seasons, Zeller has missed 82 games, leaving the Hornets without a consistent starting center. In the NBA, it’s hard for a player to maintain a high level of productivity when they’re constantly dealing with injuries.

Cody Zeller is easily one of my favorite players on the team, and I know that the injuries are not his fault. Zeller is the best pick-and-roll center in the league, and as a fan, I want to see his game go to another level.

Zeller had the second-best season of his carer last season as he averaged 10.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Fans were also able to witness the new three-point game that Zeller has added to his arsenal.

In Zeller’s first five seasons he was only able to make four three-pointers, while last season he made a career-high with six. His shooting percentage from beyond the arc was 27%, but it’s nice to see him continuing to add to his game.

Zeller does not possess much of a post-game, but he still manages to find ways to score in the pick-and-roll game. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his excellent screening game with newly signed point guard Terry Rozier.

As a former college star and lottery pick, Fans know that he has a high motor and that he shows a lot of heart and effort when he is on the court. With the amount of effort that Zeller exhibits during games, I know he can do a lot more to better his game.

Last season, Zeller was tied in the Hornets’ top-three in points per game with Marvin Williams. He had the best performance of his career last season against the Golden State Warriors by finishing the game with 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

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This kind of productivity against one of the best teams in the league proves that Zeller can be an effective starting center. If Zeller can fight the injury bug, he could be looking at having another career year this season.

Zeller is entering the third year of his four-year contract, and he needs to show the Hornets why they should keep him on the roster. As of now, Zeller is looking like a definite starter entering next season, so he should have a good chance at showing the Hornets why they paid him the big bucks.

Since Walker is out of the mix in Charlotte, Hornets fans are bound to see scoring numbers among players rise this year. It will be interesting to see if Zeller is one of those players who is able to raise his points per game average.

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The Hornets are set to begin training camp next week, and it would take a miracle for Zeller to lose his starting spot to Willy Hernangomez or Bismack Biyombo. I expect Zeller to have a nice outing during training camp and the preseason next month.