Zach Edey is a 7-foot-4 Canadian big man from the University of Purdue. Last season as a junior, Edey was the consensus National Player of the Year. He led Purdue to an impressive 29-6 record and a one-seed in the NCAA tournament. Purdue ultimately was upset in historic fashion by the 16-seeded FDU Knights.
Zach Edey 2023 NBA Draft Profile
Although Edey was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, he began to make a significant impact at Purdue in his sophomore season when he was named a starter. In his sophomore year, Edey only played 19 minutes a game. Yet, he averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.2 blocks on an efficient 64.8 percent shooting from the field. As a result, Edey was named to the Second Team All-Big Ten.
Edey’s minutes were significantly increased to 31.7 minutes per game in his junior year. As a result of his improved skill set and increased opportunity, Edey averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.1 blocks on 60.7 percent shooting from the field and 73.4 percent from the charity stripe.
As a result, Edey racked up numerous accolades, including National Player of the Year, First-team All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year, First-team All-Big Ten, Big Ten All-Devensive Team, Big Ten Tournament MVP, and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which recognizes the NCAA best center that season. Quite the impressive collegiate resume.
Size is the first thing that comes to mind for Edey. At 7-foot-4, Edey was a matchup nightmare in college that consistently drew double teams. His size is also elite at the NBA level. As a result, Edey is great as a post scorer on offense and rim protector on defense.
In addition to his size, Edey has a soft touch around the rim. He is good in both post-up situations and pick-and-rolls, where he can get a mismatch onto a more undersized guard.
Another thing that comes with Edey’s size and good hands is rebounding. He averaged 12.9 rebounds in his junior year and will immediately contribute to the rebounding department for an NBA team.
For Edey’s size, he’s also a decent midrange shooter that doesn’t always play with his back to the basket. His 73.4 percent free throw shooting is a good indicator of his touch outside of the paint.
Edey is a defensive liability at the NBA level. While he is 7-foot-4 and averaged 2.1 blocks last season, Edey needs to be more agile and have better lateral movement. His lack of quickness will be a bigger problem at the next level. NBA guards are more skilled and well-equipped to take advantage of the mismatch on the floor.
As a result, Edey could have trouble finding consistent playing time. Guards in the NBA will try to get the switch onto Edey and take advantage of the mismatch. Edey will either have to give them space from the perimeter or close out and be vulnerable to them quickly driving by him.
It’s not an ideal defensive situation in today’s NBA, which values more versatile and switchable big men. When the FDU Knights upset number one-seeded Purdue, it was evident that Edey needed to be quicker to contain their guards. Given the talent in the NBA, this will only be more of a problem.
Edey isn’t fast either, giving teams great opportunities to run in transition. The NBA is much more athletic than college, meaning they’ll expose his weaknesses much more.
Another aspect Edey needs to improve is his ability to stretch the floor from three. It’s doubtful he’ll ever be reliable enough to be a threat from deep, which will limit the spacing on the floor.
Edey would have been an extremely dominant center in the NBA a couple of decades ago, with his frame and touch around the paint. However, he’s not an ideal fit in today’s NBA, given the pace of play and emphasis on versatile, positionless players that can switch on defense and stretch the floor on offense.
NBA Player Comparison
Ivica Zubac. At seven feet tall, Zubac is four inches shorter than Edey. However, they have a lot of similarities; this should be encouraging for Edey because Zubac is a starter in the NBA that averaged 28.6 minutes per game this season with the Clippers.
Zubac doesn’t stretch the floor beyond the arc. It’s scarce that he even attempts a three-pointer. Like Edey, Zubac is also a liability on defense when he is switched onto guards on the perimeter because he needs better lateral quickness.
However, Zubac was able to see consistent starter minutes on a playoff team this season because he’s a good rim protector and rebounder, averaging 1.3 blocks and 9.9 rebounds per game this season.
For his seven-foot frame, Zubac also has a soft touch. He’s a career 74 percent shooter from the free throw line and 60.5 percent from the field. He’s a good finisher around the paint, much like Edey.
Edey is more of a post-up threat than Zubac because of his taller frame, but he’s also less quick than Zubac and could be more of a defensive liability on the perimeter.
It depends on his minutes, but if everything were even, Edey would likely score and rebound more than Zubac. However, that doesn’t mean he’d have the same impact as Zubac because of the defensive versatility limitations.
NBA Draft Projection