UPDATE: On Monday, we wrote that Charlotte's first-year power forward Cody Zeller could be a top contender for the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year Award. Today, ESPN's Chad Ford gave his take on the top candidates to take home the hardware. Where did he rank Zeller? See below.
Guys like Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke are often talked about as the early favorites to take home the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year Award, but another player who shouldn't be counted out is Charlotte's Cody Zeller.
Drafted No. 4 overall in June, Zeller went higher than most anyone expected -- especially shocking since Nerlens Noel, Alex Len and Ben McLemore were all still on the board -- but he still has a lot working in his favor. For one, he is one of the more polished, ready-made players entering the league this season. But equally important for his ROY chances is the opportunity he'll get for big minutes from the first game on.
As Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer pointed out over the weekend, Zeller is penciled in as the starter at power forward ahead of veterans Josh McRoberts and Anthony Tolliver. If Zeller can stay healthy and hold down the starting role throughout the season, which very few other rookies are expected to do, expect him to be in the mix for the award by season's end.
"The case for Zeller is that he was solid in summer-league play for the Bobcats, showing a nice inside-outside game. With the Bobcats going with Al Jefferson in the middle, Zeller's role as a stretch 4 is now pretty clearly defined. He should get major opportunities to show what he can do from the perimeter and off the dribble. The case against Zeller is that he's making a position change and while he looked good during summer league, the preseason success players have in the desert and Florida can be a mirage. Will he be able to guard stronger and longer players?"