It was bound to happen.
You, the readers of At The Hive, have selected Cody Zeller as the least valuable asset remaining in our asset countdown. Zeller received 208 votes, or 64 percent, which made your decision clear — Cody's gotta go. Hornets rookie Noah Vonleh placed second with 80 votes (25 percent), but really had no chance of being kicked off last round.
Up until now, Zeller's been a mixed bag. Last season, he had a notoriously terrible start to the season, but picked up his game considerably after the All-Star Break. That isn't to say he's starter material or some budding star, but merely that he's not the bust some feared he'd be, especially after the first half of last season.
The knocks on him are tired: he has short arms, he's not strong enough, he can't shoot, and he doesn't have an edge. Unfortunately, these narratives often overlook his strengths. He's unbelievably athletic (play around with this chart in your spare time and see where he ranks against uber athletes like John Wall and LeBron James), his shot has improved markedly, and while he's not particularly ruthless or unforgiving, he plays exceptionally hard and makes hustle plays.
The funny thing is that Zeller is still young, and much of the criticism he's been dealt is unfair. It's possible — likely, even — that he blossoms into a starter this season, and it's within the realm of possibility that he'd be starting at power forward until Vonleh is ready to take over. In and of itself, a second-year big man starting on a playoff team is an impressive feat, and one that few players can make claims to. So if Zeller's play continues to improve, it's hard to say he's been anything but a smashing success for the Hornets.
Who's next to go?