Zeller and Oladipo Watch: Changes in the Rotation

Playing time or a player’s spot in the playing rotation is usually determined by the player’s quality of play and how he fits that team’s style of play. In some instances, player rotations can be changed when a new player is added either coming from another team or coming back from injury.

Both Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo saw their roles with the team change over the past week and both equaled more playing time for the former IU stars. Let’s see how Zeller and Oladipo did with their new duties during this past week’s action.

Victor Oladipo: Guard, Orlando Magic:

@ Miami (L 101-99): 17 points (4-8 FG) (8-9 FT), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 27 minutes.

Vs Phoenix (L 104-96): 6 points (3-12 FG) (0-2 FT), 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, block, 4 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 40 minutes.

@ Atlanta (W 109-92): 18 points (7-11 FG) (3-3 FT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, block, turnover, 4 personal fouls, 29 minutes.

Vs Philadelphia (W 105-94): 18 points (7-11 FG) (3-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, block, 8 turnovers, 4 personal fouls, 42 minutes.

Oladipo had his first career start last week against the Miami Heat for what seemed like match-up reasons, but four games and four starts later it has become obvious that Oladipo will remain in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future. Last week Oladipo started in place of the struggling Jason Maxiell who was only starting at power forward until Glen Davis was ready to come back from his injury. Yet during the middle of the week when Davis returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench for his first two games back, it was Maurice Harkless who was sent to the bench, not Oladipo.

Though the move wasn’t as unexpected as you might think, given the fact Oladipo has outperformed Harkless so far this season despite playing fewer minutes. The three-guard lineup seems to be working as Orlando has won both of its games with Oladipo starting over Harkless. Oladipo scored 18 points and dealt out five assists in both of those games while also bringing his great defense against opposing starters. It remains to be seen if once Tobias Harris is 100 percent if Oladipo will still find a spot in the starting lineup, but if the former All-American continues to perform the way he has the past two games then Head Coach Jacque Vaughn will need to make a spot for him.

Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Bobcats:

Vs Phoenix (L 98-91): 6 points (2-11 FG) (2-2 FT), 9 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 25 minutes.

@ Milwaukee (W 96-92): 2 points (0-3 FG) (2-2 FT), 5 rebounds, assist, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 26 minutes.

Vs Boston (L 96-86): 2 points (1-3 FG), 3 rebounds, assist, turnover, personal foul, 14 minutes.

Vs Indiana (L 99-74): 7 points (2-7 FG) (3-4 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, block, 3 turnovers, 5 personal fouls, 19 minutes.

While Al Jefferson was out of the lineup, Bismack Biyombo took his spot as starting center with Zeller as the back-up. However, when Jefferson returned to the starting lineup, it was Biyombo who was kicked out of the playing rotation with Zeller staying in the same back-up role. In fact, this past week Biyombo played a total of 16 minutes in four total games, which included two DNPs. Meanwhile, Zeller averaged 21 minutes a game over that same span in comparison to the 17.5 he was averaging before this past week. This shows that while Zeller’s stats might not be reflecting progress, the coaching staff must be seeing something they like from him in practice to be giving him a bigger role in the team. It seems that going forward if Jefferson were to miss time with an injury it would be Zeller who might get the starting spot.

Season averages:

Victor Oladipo: 13.1ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.6apg, 1.80spg, 0.67bpg, 4.1tpg, 2.7fpg, 41.9% FG, 32.6% 3FG, 75.0% FT, 28.6mpg

Cody Zeller: 5.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 0.8apg, 0.69spg, 0.44bpg, 1.5tpg, 2.6fpg, 33.7% FG, 73.3% FT, 18.4mpg

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