For the eighth consecutive year the Charlotte Hornets will rely heavily upon Cody Zeller to man the paint. This wasn’t a foregone conclusion before the draft as several mock drafts had Charlotte landing a more dynamic big man, but the Hornets instead selected guard LaMelo Ball.
At this point we as Hornets fans appreciate Cody Zeller like we appreciate vanilla ice cream. Good ol’ vanilla ice cream is fine. It’s not Peanut Butter & Chocolate, but it’s much better than, say, plain frozen yogurt or some overly-tart sherbert.
But here’s the thing about vanilla ice cream – while boring by itself, it often creates the best base layer of a delicious banana split. Vanilla holds down the fort while hot fudge, caramel, bananas, whipped cream, nuts, and cherries make the dish truly special. Zeller’s the generic ice cream. LaMelo Ball, Devonte’ Graham, Cheap Terry Rozier Jersey, Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, and Cheap Miles Bridges Jersey are the delicious toppings.
Cody Zeller is really good at melting into the background while creating the base layer for his teammates to unleash their flavor. He sets good screens. He boxes out. He limits mistakes. He lets the offense come to him.
The Charlotte Hornets had a busy offseason, trying to weapon up to make a playoff push in the Eastern Conference, and this year’s rotation will be vastly different than last season’s.
The Charlotte Hornets added a lot of talent to the roster through the NBA Draft the team picked up an incredible haul. The Hornets do have a handful of lineups to use going into this season, which is right around the corner.
With preseason games coming up in two weeks, the roster will be preparing for a long, restructured season. Inexperienced rookies are soon going to learn about the workload and NBA teams will have a lot of adjusting to do.
Locks for the Charlotte Hornets’ starting lineup
Devonte’ Graham, Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington
These are easy locks for the starting lineup.
Gordon Hayward is easily the best player on the roster, the previous All-Star brings so much to the table. Last season he averaged 17 points per game and really showed big improvements since his gruesome injury in his debut for the Boston Celtics. Hayward got a massive paycheck this offseason and he’s likely to bring a lot of energy to Charlotte.
Devonte’ Graham definitely fits very well into the shooting guard position, and the organization will need him to play that role. Graham’s shooting and scoring greatly improved, making him a Most Improved candidate last season. Graham is offensively great and as only a sophomore, he’ll definitely a start for the team.
PJ Washington cemented himself as a starter after a great rookie season. Washington made the All-Rookie team and undoubtedly deserved it. Washington even showed out and broke the record for the most three’s in a rookie debut. Washington may start at either the four or the five but regardless, he’ll be there at the beginning of the tip.
Washington can play either the center or power forward position and Hayward can play either the small forward or the power forward so those two players can affect the rest of the starting lineup. If the Hornets decided to run a small ball lineup with Washington at the center, that opens up a lot of opportunities for other young talents to get some starting minutes.
Interestingly, Cody is coming off his best professional season, statistically speaking. His 11.1 points and 7.1 rebounds last year were both career highs, as were his per-36 minute averages of 17.2 points and 11.0 rebounds. So at age 28 Cody Zeller is getting…slightly better?
His role in 2020-21 will likely be exactly what it has been in the past, playing around 24 minutes per game banging with the opposing team’s big man. He’ll once again get his fair share of floor burns and bloody noses, but it will be interesting to see how the additions of LaMelo Ball and Cheap Gordon Hayward Jersey will change the Hornets overall strategy and Cody’s role on the team.
Last year James Borrego’s squad played at the NBA’s slowest pace at 96.2. That needs to change with the addition of Cheap LaMelo Ball Jersey. You don’t buy a Ferrari then drive it through residential neighborhoods. I actually think an increased pace could help Zeller contribute slightly more offensively than he has in the past. Cody has always played with a high motor – the dude is the living embodiment of “effort” – and he’s willing to outrun opposing bigs in transition. Throw in the fact that both Ball and Hayward are excellent passers and Zeller could end up with more dunks this year than he’s ever seen before.
Off the court, Cody will be an excellent mentor for the team’s younger players. Charlotte just invested the No. 32 pick in center Vernon Cary Jr. then traded for center Cheap Nick Richards Jersey who was drafted No. 42 by the New Orleans Pelicans. While Zeller will never be an All-Star, he’s learned a lot over the course of 430 career games that can be passed along to the Hornets next generation of bigs.
There’s also the possibility Cody gets traded this year. He’s on the final year of his contract with a $15.4 million salary and could bolster the front court of a contender. The Charlotte Observer recently quoted Zeller saying the front office told him, “We’re happy with you, we want to keep you around. But at the same time, if a team calls with a good offer, you’re going to get traded.” If the Hornets are in playoff contention and Zeller is contributing I’d suspect he finishes the year in Charlotte, but if things go south it would only be responsible for Mitch Kupchak to start making some calls.
This year Cheap Cody Zeller Jersey will once again contribute his two helpful scoops of vanilla ice cream to the increasingly intriguing banana split that is the Charlotte Hornets.