Since being drafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, Cody Zeller has been a fixture in the Charlotte Hornets’ lineup. If this is his final year in the Queen City, where does he rank statistically?
As of now, Cody Zeller is currently the longest-tenured member of the Charlotte Hornets. The 2019-2020 campaign was his seventh season in Charlotte after being drafted fourth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The center out of Indiana hasn’t exactly wowed anyone in his time during the NBA, but he has put in the work. He’s not going to be on many highlight reels nor will he be known for putting up monster stats, but he’s been a very dependable big man who was always willing to be the “glue guy,” making a lot of plays most fans wouldn’t notice.
Next season is the final year of his contract and Zeller is slated to make just over $15 million. That will be the third-highest salary on the team next year, behind Nic Batum and Terry Rozier. Many would argue that amount of money for a guy who sports career averages of 9 points and 6 rebounds per game is pretty hefty.
So, unless Cody is traded at some point during the upcoming season—something that wouldn’t be too surprising, in all honesty—then we’re most likely looking at his final full year in Charlotte. As sad as that may be, that’s just the business of the NBA.
Most fans would love to see Cody Zeller continue to play in a Charlotte Hornets uniform, but his time in Charlotte may be coming to a close.
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So, if it is his last year, where does the seven-footer rank in Charlotte Hornets history? Well, as of now, he is 7th in team history in total games played. Should he play in 36 games next season, he will pass Gerald Wallace for 4th all-time in team history. Even if he played the full 82 games next year, he has no hope of catching Kemba Walker for third in games played.
In terms of points, currently, Zeller ranks 16th in Hornets history, but if he averages 11 points a game (his average from this past season) and plays in at least 70 games, he’ll pass Kendall Gill for 12th all-time in points scored, nearly catching Hall of Famer, Alonzo Mourning.
Rebounding-wise, he’s certainly made his mark, sitting at the 4th spot in team history in total rebounds, where he would stay if he snagged as many as he did this previous season, right behind Gerald Wallace.
He has played the 14th most minutes in team history and if he averaged 23 minutes per game (as he did last year), then if he played 70 games, he would crack the top-10, sitting just 400 minutes behind long-time frontcourt running mate, Marvin Williams, in the 9th spot.
A few other tidbits here and there include him ranking 7th in team history in blocks and if healthy, he’ll certainly pass Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for 6th, as he is only a handful of swats behind him. He also ranks 5th all-time in personal fouls, a stat of which he’s probably not too proud.
Next season will be his 8th in a Hornets jersey, tying him with MKG, Kemba Walker, and Matt Carroll for second-place in Hornets history. That’s quite a legacy, though maybe not the legacy the Hornets envisioned when he was initially drafted.
Still, he’s earned his place among some of the most beloved Hornets players and while that list may not be as long as a lot of other organizations’, Cody built a solid resume in Charlotte. With his many humanitarian efforts and great locker-room reputation, he’ll be looked upon very favorably for quite some time by Hornets faithful.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Cody in the next year or so. He’s not a bad player, by any stretch, but for his output, his salary was a bit exorbitant. Perhaps the team can find a way to negotiate a more reasonable deal so that the big-man can stay in the only city he’s ever called home in his NBA career.
If not, perhaps a change of scenery would be best for both parties, as Charlotte may be in a rebuild for the foreseeable future, with Zeller looking to be part of a winning team. In any case, he may not be on the tip of everyone’s tongues when asked about the greatest Charlotte Hornets ever, but he may be in some of those conversations when all is said and done.