This is the second in a series of evaluations of players who might be available to the 76ers when they make the 15th overall selection in the NBA Draft on June 28. Included are the views of two scouts, who spoke under the condition of anonymity.
Tyler Zeller, Center, North Carolina,7-0247
The raw numbers
Zeller averaged 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in 2011-12, while shooting 55.3 percent from the field and 80.8 percent at the foul line. In four years at Carolina, he averaged 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds. He shot 54.2 percent from the field and 77.4 percent at the line.
Its very rare for a top prospect to play four years in college anymore, but suffice it to say that Zeller is further along than some other big men in a draft teeming with them. And Carolina guys typically last a long time in the NBA.
Given his extended collegiate stay, it seems fair to wonder how much better he will get. The Sixers other concern, if in fact they are interested, is that Milwaukee might snap him up at No. 12.
The scouts take
Scout One: He has some polish. Hes NBA-ready, in terms of, he can get out there on the court, ready to play. Hes a really, really fundamentally solid player. He knows everything. Im not sure how high his ceiling is, but he has a very good understanding of the game and does a lot of the little things. Very skilled guy. Im not going to say hes not athletic. Thats not really true. When you look at a kid like (Illinois) Meyers Leonard and compare the two, hes not going to be as athletic. But hes a much better basketball player right now.
Scout Two: I like him. I think hes a finished product, but its a good finish. Hes one of those kids that got better every year at Carolina. Hes a really good north-south runner. He can shoot the ball. Hell be decent around the basket, but I think hell be more of a limited scorer around the basket in our league. I think hell be more of a pick-and-pop, trail on the break, step into shots off the break (type of player). I think he can do that. Hes strong. Hes got legit size. He rebounds the ones that he should. Hes not going to run out of the area, be Inspector Gadget, get all those kinds of rebounds. Gets the ones that he should. Hes not going to be your featured player, but he can certainly help you win games, and hes going to have a long career. Hes a good, solid player. You could do much worse than draft a guy like this guy.
Gordie Jones is an award-winning journalist who has worked in the Philadelphia market for 29 years. He also co-authored a book about the 76ers' 1982-83 championship team with former Sixers general manager Pat Williams.