Rockets News

Houston Rockets Draft Prospect Series: Stephen Zimmerman

Jan 9, 2016; Laramie, WY, USA; UNLV Runnin
Jan 9, 2016; Laramie, WY, USA; UNLV Runnin
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The 19 years old 7’0” center from UNLV Stephen Zimmerman is projected to be a Mid 2nd-round pick in the 2016 Draft. And with the Houston Rockets likely parting ways with Dwight Howard and promoting Clint Capela to the starting lineup, one might wonder if Zimmerman would be a good choice with the 43rd pick.

Draft Prospect

Intro

A 7’0” center with the ability to knock down the jump shot doesn’t come around too often in the league. However Zimmerman, a product of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels is being highly overlooked by teams in the NBA and that’s mostly due to medical concerns.

In any other scenario a likely late 1st-round pick could be a steal for teams seeking to boost their benches with a solid if yet unappealing rookie. And aside from the immediate physical concerns there’s no other reason not to think the UNLV prospect could develop into a talented player in the NBA in a couple years.

Specifics

(as per NBA Draft Combine)

  • Height: 7’00″
  • Weight: 234 lbs
  • Country: USA
  • Position: Center
  • Age: 19
  • Reach: 8’9″
  • Wingspan: 7’3″
  • College or Pro League: UNLV, Freshman
  • Stat line: 25 Games, 10.3 Points Per Game, 8.8 Rebounds Per Game, 1.9 Blocks Per Game, 46.3 FG%, 63.6 FT%

Current Rank

NBA.com Scott Howard-Cooper: 25

Draft Express: 43

NBAdraft.net: 24

CBS Sports: 50

HoopsHype: 23

The Skills

With an excellent size, reach and wingspan it’s hard to understand why so many Mock Drafts rank Zimmerman so low. Even with an injury-plagued year there are plenty of teams who would profit from the talents of the young center.

A great pick-and-roll player Zimmerman can use his explosiveness and offensive drive to attack the rim and go for the dunk making him a huge threat for offensive oriented teams like the Houston Rockets or the Golden State Warriors for example.

He is a decent jump shooter as well, and is able to hold his own in the post. Most shots in the post by the UNLV prospect comes from a left hook shot so he still needs to grow and develop into a two handed threat like Donatas Motiejunas for example.

Furthermore Zimmerman exhibits some above average play making ability for a big man. He is capable of creating offensive opportunities and finding the open man.

In terms of his defensive impact Zimmerman appears to be a good shot blocker but doesn’t offer much more than that.

Honors and Awards

FIBA Americas U18 Golden Medalist (2014)

First Team All-Southwest League (2014)

First-team MaxPreps Junior All-American (2014)

McDonald’s All-American (2015)

4x NIAA Division I champion (2012–2015)

The Fit

There’s a lot to like about this young center. And I love the possibility of him playing for the Houston Rockets.

As a heavily offensive team the Rockets now with Mike D’Antoni will rely even further on pick-and-rolls, fast transition and fastbreaks. Zimmerman seems to check all boxes. True he might not be a three point threat. Nevertheless he has a good jump shot and can be a mid-range weapon of sorts for Houston.

Given the likelihood of Dwight Howard leaving town in free agency it would be ideal for the Rockets to start nurturing another young big man to play backup center duties for the still very young Clint Capela.

And though the defensive aspect of his game can be a problem right now for a team in desperate need of solid D like the Rockets, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t be a useful role player in this league or even develop some kind of strong defensive game in the future. Zimmerman definitely needs to bulk up however, and widen his arsenal to add to his shot-blocking skill.

Final Thoughts

More from Space City Scoop

Based on mock drafts ranking him all over the map there is no way to pin down exactly where Stephen Zimmerman will fall on Draft Night. His injury problems may be playing a factor in his recent drop in draft stock.

Still unless there’s some huge doubts and concerns regarding his medical exams and career threatening issues the Houston Rockets must definitely select him should he fall to the second round of the Draft.

From the looks of it the odds of that happening are fairly reasonable and unless there’s a great point guard opportunity waiting for the Rockets ahead of him in the second-round, Stephen Zimmerman is as good a player as the Rockets could hope for.

Next: Draft Prospect Guerschon Yabusele

Next: Draft Prospect Chinanu Onuaku

Next: Draft Prospect Demetrius Jackson

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