With the 41st pick in the 2016 NBA Draft the Orlando Magic drafted former UNLV freshman big man Stephen Zimmerman.
The Magic traded their first-round pick where they selected Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis at 10 but then traded him to Oklahoma City. This makes Zimmerman their highest pick in this years draft, but they do have another second rounder at 47.
Coming out of high school, Zimmerman was a five-star recruit and was recruited by all of the top teams in the country but he decided to stay local and attend UNLV. His freshman year had its up and downs this year, and this selection is based off of potential — which will be said probably dozens upon dozens at this point in the draft.
In his one year at UNLV he averaged 10.5 points but 8.7 rebounds and two blocks per game. His career in the NBA will be more defensive until he develops a bit more of an offensive game. Zimmerman has offense but he is not yet fully reached his ceiling by any means.
We dived into his strengths and weaknesses about where he may fit in the NBA.
Highly Skilled Big Man: This phrase may sound like a cliche, but in today's NBA, big men must be agile and accurate as much as guards. Zimmerman brings both accurate outside shooting as well agility to the court. He moves smoothly for a 7-footer on offense and is a skilled shot blocker. He can play well at the power forward or play true center.
Good Mid-range Shooter: All men on the court in the NBA can shoot the ball anymore. Therefore, NBA scouts have to be excited about Zimmerman's mid-range shot. He has the ability, as a big man, to give a jab step from 15 feet and step back for a jumper. This mid-range jumper will set him apart from other centers in the draft.
Upper Body Strength: UNLV has become better known in the last few years for their talented big men such as Christian Wood, Anthony Bennett, and now Stephen Zimmerman. However, a NBA critique of the two former players was their overall strength and conditioning. Zimmerman will have a major learning curve to post up against the best in the business. His ability to bulk his upper body and play with more aggression will guarantee his contributions to his potential team.
Durability: Injuries are always an issue that any NBA player has to deal with, but new players like Zimmerman must come into the NBA strong and healthy. After recovering from a left knee sprain endured earlier in the season, Zimmerman looks healthy and poised to take on the grind of the NBA schedule. Zimmerman's ability to stay healthy as he continues to build his overall strength will be paramount to his success.