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NBA Draft 2012: Should Tyler Zeller Join the Portland Trail Blazers?

Tyler Zeller
Tyler ZellerDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Mike UlstadContributor IIIMay 6, 2012

If you have looked at all at the ESPN.com lottery projector mock drafts, you should know that it is no secret that they think Portland should select UNC big man Tyler Zeller. It seems that the program comes up with Zeller's name at pick No. 11 at least three out of every four times.

This, obviously, got me thinking. Would Zeller even be a good fit here in Portland?

Tyler Zeller comes from a family with an outstanding basketball pedigree. Both of his brothers have or are playing at major college basketball programs (Cody, who currently plays at Indiana, and Luke, who played at Notre Dame from 2005-2009). Zeller's uncle, Al Eberhard, also played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons in the 70s.

Zeller has good athleticism for his size but right now lacks the strength that is needed for an NBA center. The question is though, if he is available at pick No. 11, should Portland draft him?


Why They Should

Zeller is a true center, a position Portland needs desperately. What separates Zeller from other center prospects in this draft, though, is his shooting touch and offensive game. Zeller has some seriously polished post moves and a jump hook he utilizes often and has established as his go to move.

Zeller is no slouch on defense, either. He is a skilled shot blocker, and his athleticism does make a difference inside on defense.


Why They Shouldn't

As mentioned earlier, Zeller lacks NBA strength. His NBA success will most likely depend on whether or not he can build some strength. It is also well documented that the Blazers need a tough guy down low who is not afraid to mix it up physically with the opponent. It seems unlikely right now that Zeller could be that guy for Portland.

So, should Portland go with Zeller at pick No. 11? Or should they look elsewhere for the height that they need?

Here is a sample of some highlights throughout the course of his college career.


Tyler Zeller

Height: 7'0''

Weight: 250 lbs.

College: University of North Carolina

Stats (senior season): 16.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks

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