Should the Trail Blazers consider drafting Purdue Center Zach Edey?

In an otherwise disappointing season for the Portland Trail Blazers, one of the few bright spots is their abundance of upcoming draft picks. In the 2024 NBA Draft, the Blazers will possess their own lottery pick, as well as a probable first-rounder from the Golden State Warriors. Additionally, they have a couple of incoming second-round picks, compensating for the one they’re sending to the Milwaukee Bucks.

These selections will be the focus as the draft approaches on June 26th and 27th. Understandably, Blazers fans are eager to get a head start on the proceedings. Among them is a Blazer’s Edge Reader who is particularly interested in Purdue center Zach Edey. Edey has garnered attention for his impressive performances over the past two seasons. Could he make a significant impact in Portland?

Dear Dave,

Zach Edey recently showcased an outstanding performance in a victory against Gonzaga, tallying 27 points and 14 rebounds. While he’s recognized as a slow-moving center reminiscent of traditional big men, shouldn’t he be valued more highly in draft rankings? Could Portland benefit from seizing the opportunity if Edey is overlooked and available with their later pick? And if so, what specific contributions could he offer to address the Blazers’ needs?

Blazers Fan Since 90

For those unfamiliar with the Purdue standout, Edey stands at an imposing 7’4″ and weighs a solid 300 lbs. He averaged 25.0 points and 12.2 rebounds per game this season, boasting a remarkable 62.4% shooting accuracy from the field.

Edey possesses several qualities that endear him to fans. His sheer height and size are undeniable assets, complemented by a delicate touch around the basket. Despite only becoming serious about basketball in high school, he has consistently excelled at every level of competition in college. As a two-time Player of the Year, he is undoubtedly one of the top centers in collegiate basketball.

However, scouts remain skeptical about his ability to transition to the NBA, and I share their reservations. The modern game has evolved significantly over the past decade, emphasizing speed and versatility. While Edey’s stature is impressive, his lack of agility poses a significant challenge.

Reviewing Edey’s highlights reveals a reliance on stationary positioning near the basket, utilizing his size to create scoring opportunities within close range. Yet, this strategy succeeds against defenses ill-equipped to thwart entry passes to a 7’4″ player, and against defenders who are physically inferior. These advantages will not persist in the professional ranks.

In the NBA, Edey will encounter tighter defensive coverage and must adapt to a more dynamic offensive role. He will be expected to set screens, roll to the basket, catch passes in motion, and navigate past defenders to score. Unfortunately, these skills appear to be outside his current repertoire.

Concerns extend to the defensive end, where Edey’s limitations become more apparent. It’s difficult to envision him effectively defending against pick-and-roll plays or guarding smaller, more agile opponents on the perimeter. His mobility constraints hinder his ability to contest shots outside the paint and recover to secure rebounds effectively.

While slower centers have found success in the NBA, such as Nikola Jokic, Edey lacks the versatile skill set that sets players like Jokic apart. Jokic’s exceptional passing and shooting abilities compensate for his lack of speed, whereas Edey’s game primarily revolves around clogging the paint.

In conclusion, while there may be merit in taking a chance on Edey with a late-round pick, I caution against overestimating his potential impact. Investing a significant first-round pick in him seems imprudent given the current state of the game, which prioritizes speed and versatility. While Edey has shown resilience in overcoming challenges, adapting to the demands of the NBA may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle. Thank you for the question! Feel free to send any further inquiries to blazersub@gmail.com, and we’ll do our best to address them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *