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Former 2x NCAA POY Center Still In Miami Heat Draft Scenarios

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Miami Heat draft selection talks are intensifying, with former Purdue center Zach Edey back in the conversation again, and the 2024 NBA Draft less than a week away.

Former 2x NCAA POY Center Still In Miami Heat Draft Scenarios

Heat-Edey Draft Talks Rising Again

Miami Heat draft rumors have recently shifted back to Purdue big man Zach Edey. While March Madness was deep into its run, Miami and Edey’s 2024 NBA draft speculation was high. Those talks slowly dwindled as other college players entered the conversation. In recent weeks, links between Miami and other draft prospects, mainly at the guard and wing positions, have become daily news in relation to Miami’s off-season plans.

With next week’s draft approaching, though, Edey and the Miami Heat are again the subject of speculation.

Edey’s College Highlights

Zach Edey’s presence at Purdue really began to elevate during the 2022-23 NCAA college season, which carried over into this past season when the Purdue Boilermakers made the championship game. Although Purdue fell to the now back-to-back NCAA champions, the UConn Huskies, Edey still put up a stellar performance. His size and paint presence intrigued many with this game and his future possibilities as an NBA center.

However, there was, and maybe still is, hesitancy regarding Edey’s college-to-pro transition capabilities. Towering at 7-foot-4 and weighing 300 pounds, Edey used his size and strength to dominate his opponents in the paint. That dominance, accompanied by his rebounding and rim protection, garnered two consecutive NCAA Player of the Year honors. This exact skill level is something that the Miami Heat could covet in this year’s draft.

How Miami Can Maximize Edey’s Talents

One could argue that the Heat are already solid in their center position. Bam Adebayo is a 5x All-Defensive center who just came off one of his most productive seasons offensively on top of his outstanding defensive play. However, Adebayo is also flexible in that he doesn’t always set up shop under the basket. A formidable mid-range shooter and a floor spacer, Adebayo could benefit from having a player such as Edey to back him up. Having Edey pitch himself under the basket would allow Adebayo to roam more and create more space for Miami’s guards and wings. This has the potential of creating more offense for the likes of Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Terry Rozier. Not to mention, a defensive pairing of Adebayo and Edey would undoubtedly be dominant.

Edey’s Transition from College To The Pros

How Edey’s collegiate game and skill will spell out in the NBA has been a topic of conversation. One element working against him is pace and lack of speed. Edey’s stats and paint presence were mostly unmatched during Purdue’s March Madness run. However, it was evident that Edey moved much slower and had limited movement while in position near the basket.

If there is one element of the NBA game we know today, the pace is fast and seems to quicken each season. Today, many teams make it a point to get up a good shot and score the basket before the shot clock hits the halfway mark. Edey would have to adapt to the speedy and sporadic pace of NBA play in one way or another. His size emulates a more traditional, old-school center from the 80’s and 90’s decades. Edey knows he will have to work on his game and develop his skill level to match his NBA opponents.

“What wins in college and the NBA are totally different,” Edey said in May at the NBA draft combine. “There are a lot of things I can do that people haven’t seen yet. I was focusing on impacting winning at Purdue and simplifying my game. Every year I’ve taken steps forward and there’s no reason I can’t keep getting better.”

Drafting Edey Could Elevate The Heat’s Chances Next Season

If the Miami Heat draft concludes with Zach Edey as their selection, let the development masterclass of the Heat organization take the reigns from there. Edey could be just the piece to maximize Bam Adebayo and create one of the NBA’s most formidable defensive tandems.

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