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Two-Way Tracker: Meet New Pelicans Forward Zylan Cheatham

By Jake Winderman | August 2, 2019

Player: Zylan Cheatham

College: San Diego State (2015-2017), Arizona State (2018-2019)

Height/Weight: 6-foot-8, 220 pounds

NBA Team/NBA G League Affiliate: New Orleans Pelicans/Erie BayHawks

College Breakdown: Cheatham started his college career at San Diego State before transferring to Arizona State for his final collegiate season. During his senior year in Tempe, Cheatham earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors and was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. The Phoenix-native led the Pac-12 in rebounds per game (10.3) and defensive rebounds (278) during the 2018-19 season, posting averages of 12.1 points and 3.2 assists per game as well. Cheatham shot 53.4% from the field and 44% from beyond-the-arc during his senior campaign. Last season, Cheatham also recorded the second triple-double in Arizona State history, notching 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a game vs. Texas Southern.

Scouting Report: Cheatham projects to be a prototypical power forward in the NBA with exceptional athletic talent and ability. The former Sun Devil is quick and strong enough to defend shooting guards through centers and has the basketball IQ to execute switches and weakside help seamlessly without communication. Offensively, Cheatham has soft touch around the rim and can pass well for his position when tasked with the ball in the mid and low-post. If Cheatham can add a more consistent mid-range or 3-point jumper to his game, he’ll be even more effective in the halfcourt.

Organizational Fit: Cheatham joins Zion Williamson, Derrick Favors, Brandon Ingram and Nicolo Melli as the Pelicans’ near future at the power forward position. The Arizona State-product will bring NBA-level rebounding and defense to the table as a rookie which will benefit his case for playing time. Time spent in Erie will also help Cheatham shore up his jump shot and ballhandling.

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