Zach Edey – Purdue – Center – 7’4, 285 lbs – May 2002
Arguably the best player in the tournament (and country?) Edey was the offensive fulcrum of a Purdue team that dominated the event. He gets better every year, dating back to when he was a three-star recruit at IMG.
We have seen these incredibly large humans fail in the NBA, but there’s reason to be optimistic about Edey’s projection. He’s got pretty good touch and doesn’t necessarily need to be right next to the basket to finish. “Hack an Edey” isn’t an effective strategy because he is a 75% free throw shooter on 10 attempts per game. He isn’t a vertical leaper but has no need to be as his insane reach makes him a viable lob threat. Edey isn’t this incredible playmaker, but he has enough spatial awareness to pass over and out of doubles.
Defensively, it’s kind of what you’d expect. Purdue sinks Edey to the paint against non-shooting fives and his pure size covers up a lot of ground inside. Guarding in space will always be an issue at the next level, but coaches can just take him off the floor. Boban Marjanovic has carved out a long NBA career as a situational/matchup dependent big and I think Edey is closer to Boban than a Tacko Fall type.
Is that worth a second-round pick? Depends who you are and what you’re looking for. But I don’t think there will be 60 players with better NBA Careers from this class.