Zeller will be a better pro then Leonard and it's not close
The GM that drafts Meyers Leonard over Tyler Zeller will regret that decision. Zeller will be the better pro and it's not close.
Zeller is a true 7 footer and has done nothing but produce in College. I believe the main argument people will make is he is Zeller is 22 and Leonard is 20. Keep in mind Zeller's first season at UNC he played behind the likes of Tyler Hansbrough and Ed Davis. His Sophomore season he played more but still had Ed Davis playing a majority of the minutes. Once Zeller took hold of the starting job he has average close to 16 ppg 8.5 reb and over a Block while shooting close to 80% from the line and over 55% from the field.
Another consideration for Zeller is the players around him. Barnes, Marshall, Davis, Ellington, Green, Hansbrough, Lawson, Henson, Marshall, McAdoo. As you can see in his 4 years he has had plenty of NBA caliber talent to share the ball with and he's still put up great numbers.
Put Zeller on an Illinois team where he is the man and tell me his numbers don't go up.
Let's look at Leonard. He is a much better workout warrior than Zeller. Of course his stock will rise during the combine he looks great by himself lifting weights and showing off his vertical. That doesn't make him a better player.
Name 2 other NBA caliber players that have played along side Leonard....Ok now that we have that cleared up let's look at his numbers.
Leonard is also a true 7 footer
14pg 8 reb 2 blk over 70% from the line and a solid 58% FG%. Hey not to shabby when you're the only legit NBA player on your team.
We have seen this time and time again. Players like Zeller translate to the NBA and players like Meyers Leonard struggle.
Zeller has a polished game. He has a great mid range jumper, he can dribble, pass, hit free throws. David Lee anyone?
Leonard can dunk. How is that working for Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders, Anthony Randolph, the list goes on.
Leonard is not the overall player nor will he ever be the overall player Zeller is.
Zeller is 2 years older. I realize this however as I stated earlier look at who was ahead of him on the depth chart his first 2 years. Zeller has played with better talent, he's produced with that talent, and he will be another player when McAdoo is coming out next year as a player we say well McAdoo played behind Zeller.
Zeller's skill will prevail over Leonard's one dimensional athletic ability. Mark my words.
If you put Zeller on Illinois, his numbers go down. Illinois didn't get good pg play last year and played a slower paced game. All those dunks running the floor and those quick post ups that Zeller got at UNC, he wouldn't have gotten at Illinois nearly as often. Even if he was the man, his numbers would have decreased significantly at Illinois. Playing with Kendall Marshall helped. Also, if Leonard played alongside Kendall Marshall at UNC, his numbers would have gone up.
I must admit I am torn as to who is the top prospect between the two. Leonard has more potential as a post up threat and his size and strength give him potential as an interior defender, but I think Zeller plays with a more consistent motor and is the more polished offensive player. Zeller also rebounds at a higher rate.
I must say though, that I would probably draft Leonard higher because he was still very productive and efficient despite not playing for a team that got him the ball down low as much as it should have. Leonard also is younger and may have more room to grow, especially since he is taller, longer, and stronger.
Zellers numbers would not go down. He was very good at getting down the floor before other bigs and scored a lot by just getting a basic pass. The reason Myles will probably go ahead of Zeller is the fact that they feel he has more potential and can you blame them. You are comparing a Sr in Zeller to a Soph in Leonard who by the way put up 14ppg and 8 reb in the best confence in basketball without a very good pg
UNC played at a faster tempo than Illinois, so there were more stats available for all players. UNC scored more ppg than Illinois. The stats of just about any UNC player would have decreased at Illinois for the same amount of playing time. Plus, I don't think Kendall Marshall's passing meant nothing to Zeller. Even if Zeller beat other bigs down the floor at Illinois, he wouldn't have been rewarded as much as he was an UNC.
I really like Zeller as a prospect and think he'll have a fine career, but whether you know it or not, you're also pointing out that Zeller had the opportunity to hone his game behind future NBA players. Leonard has not had that opportunity, and still put up very impressive numbers after a freshman year where he played limited minutes.
Leonard will have that opportunity, this season, to play behind real NBA players and I think in two years Leonard will be a better player than Zeller is now.
Giving reasons why Zeller didn't start as a sophmore doesn't make Meyers Leonard worse or Tyler Zeller better.
I have to agree. Leonard has never struck me as a very motivated or energetic player on the court. Also, to me he looks kind of stiff and uncomfortable as a player, despite his athleticism for his size, because I suspect he hasn't been playing the game as long as many guys, or he just doesn't love the game. If he played up to his potential this year Illinois would have been a lot better.
Zeller on the other hand has a very advanced offensive repertoire for a big man, with excellent touch in the lane, mid-range shooting ability, and the ability to hit free throws. He plays hard and with energy, is aggressive offensively, and has a high basketball IQ. He is far more NBA ready.
Leonard will look better in workouts because he is taller and has a bigger wingspan, but his offensive skillset is limited, his basketball IQ is lacking, and he is not an aggressive or passionate player like Zeller is. They are basically identical atheltically, Zeller actually has a higher max vert.
Now it would be hard to argue against the idea that Leonard has more potential, and Zeller's injury history is worrying, but to me Leonard has the kind of personality where he is unlikely to fulfill his potential, and Zeller is the kind of guy who will contribute immediately with his skill level and intelligence.
Zeller's offensive repertoire is leaps and bounds ahead of Leonard. It's not even comparable. Leonard won't have Zeller's polish on the offensive end their rookie season let a lone 5 years into their NBA careers.
I disagree entirely. I'm a Tar Heels fan, but Zeller struggled to score inside whenever he played against similarly sized frontcourts, and he lacks the lower-body strength to get deep post position against practically any NBA frontcourt player.
He runs the floor well, I'll give him that, but I don't think a lot of what he can do will translate to the pro game particularly well. He isn't tough or strong enough to succeed in the NBA, and he is an average defender at best, so it's hard to see him making an impact as a defensive player.
At the very least, Leonard will be a DeAndre Jordan type player, he'll block shots, finish oops and get boards. His potential is much higher than that though.
No, I love Zeller's offensive skillset, it's old school complete with hook shots and a variety of moves and that's great, but Leonard, at 20, is was pulling down 8.2 rebounds and blocking 1.9 shots per game.
I think Leonard will be the most well rounded center in this draft. He's not as polished as Zeller on offense, he doesn't project as a shot blocker the way Drummond does, but I do feel he'll be a better rebounder, and shot blocker at the next level when you compare him to Tyler Zeller.
He's also has just as a refined FT (73% to 72%) shot in more attempts as Zeller did as a sophomore, I don't see how he can't raise that to the 81% Zeller shoots now.
didnt see much of Leonard so wont comment on him....but Zeller, even though he was ACC POY, couldve been a better player. Roy is not good at developing and the staff doesnt do much with big men. Zeller did what he did because of his athleticism.
While he does have nice moves in the post, a soft touch, and actually can step out a bit which some may not have known....the thing that he gets credit for that I think he shouldnt is his IQ. Its not that high. He repeatedly did the same boneheaded things over and over again and he didnt learn because Roy doesnt reprimand. When he got the ball in the paint, he repeatedly dribbled when he didnt have to instead of making a strong move. When he got the ball in the post, he hesitated and waited for the defense to collapse. He also committed the cardinal sin over and over again by bringing the ball below his waist which resulted in many turnovers and held ball possessions because guards would just come in and grab the ball.
These things can be corrected, but to have played 4 years, his offense has polish, but is very basic. Zeller is best in the full court. I have always been concerned about how well he will do in the half court in the pros though. I dont think you can count on him as a low post scorer....his game is best suited for a lot of pick and pop.
...but I'm fairly confident that Zeller will become a starter at the next level, maybe not as a rookie but soon enough. He's no worse than Spencer Hawes. He has a knack for offense rarely seen in a 7 footer, runs the floor well and is pretty agile.
So again, it's a safe pick vs. higher risk-higher reward pick. A team that needs a sure thing at center could do a lot worse than Zeller; a team willing to roll the dice might want Leonard.
I can certiantly see why people think Zeller is going to be better and there is a VERY good chance Zeller will be better. But that fact is that when draft night rolls around athletic 7 footers always go higher than expected. I would be shocked if Zeller went higher then Leonard. I'm not saying Leonard is better, I'm just saying he will be drafter higher.
now dont sleep on Zeller's ceiling, in the right situation he could be deadly. he is similar to Gasol in ways. first being that he is ultra soft and doesnt really like to bang, he likes to step away from the hoop. he could be great in pick and roll/pop. he is more athletic than Gasol, but as I said, IQ much lower. if he becomes a starter he will enjoy some of the same joys and pains as Gasol.....due to his contrast in ball skills and soft nature. He is one of those with an NBA skillset but the situation HAS to be right.
Leonard has done nothing but improve by leaps and bounds each year. He works hard on not only his body but his game. From unknown as a high school soph to a top 50 senior. From being held behind the Mike's (Davis and Tisdale) to 15-8 and all-big ten. He has put on as much weight in two years as Tyler in four years. (both entered college 7' 215 and both enter the draft at roughly 7' 250). Combined with better athleticism there is little reason to think the trend won't continue.
It depends on what you want. Zeller is a more talented post scorer than Leonard, and probably can hit face-up shots better too. But Leonard has better defensive potential because he's athletic and big enough to be a really effective pick and roll defender and shot-blocker, and he will be able to score some points in the pick and roll game if he lands in the right scheme with the right PG. It really depends on who each goes to. Zeller is probably more ready to play right now, despite being a bit weak. Leonard's impact would be felt more in the next few years