Zach Edey has emerged as a dominant center in college basketball this season. Standing at 7-foot-4 and weighing 294 pounds, he has an imposing physical presence and is versatile on offense and defense. The Big Ten Player of the Year and the Sporting News National Player of the Year, the junior center consistently gives opponents a hard time.
He seals off defenders, leaving guards and wings a colossal target to feed the ball. Edey’s hands are reliable, catching with ease and forcing the opposition to double-team. He becomes an unstoppable force, leaving the defense to scheme and dream.
Zach Edey collected his 13th double-double of the season in @BoilerBall’s win against Penn State.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 9, 2023
That is the 2nd-most by a Boilermaker in a season this Century & the 4th highest by a Purdue player in the last 40 years. 👏 pic.twitter.com/xSogLM1DI9
If the defender is positioned too close to the basket, Edey will execute a drop step and effortlessly dunk the ball. However, if the opposing team manages to push him away from the restricted area, Edey has honed his skill in performing a delicate right-handed hook shot.
Edey’s most prominent advantage is also his most noticeable drawback. His size is a hindrance as it makes it nearly impractical for him to possess the required level of agility to stand out at the higher level.
Defensively, his lateral quickness must match up with the league’s agile athletes. Given the NBA’s spacing, he would be at risk of being played off the court as he becomes a prime target in pick-and-roll plays. He needs to gain the adaptability required for the NBA’s versatile defensive schemes, and even in drop coverage, he would struggle to contain proficient midrange and 3-point shooters.
Why are the Oklahoma City Thunder likely to draft Zach Edey?
Size and depth in the paint have been consistent requirements for Oklahoma City Thunder over the past few seasons.
Despite drafting Jaylin Williams and Chet Holmgren in last year’s draft, Oklahoma City is still searching for additional depth at the center position. Although the first round of this year’s draft is focused on guards and forwards, the Thunder may find themselves in a favorable position to select one of the top big men in the second round of the draft.
Zach Edey, the Big 10 Player of the Year, is expected to be picked around the spot where OKC would currently make their second-round selection in this year’s draft. Standing tall at 7-foot-4, Edey is an undisputed leader of the Purdue team and has been instrumental in their success this season. Thanks to his exceptional scoring and rebounding skills, Edey guided Purdue to a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Although OKC’s roster is already fully loaded, there is always the possibility of making room. Regardless of the draft results, any player chosen by the Thunder, particularly in the second round, will have to compete for a spot on the roster and may spend a significant amount of time in the G League.
When the Boilermakers start their March Madness campaign, it may be the last opportunity for draft analysts, fans, and the Thunder to observe Edey playing in college. As a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, Edey will face significant pressure, and this could be his chance to elevate his profile and make a favorable impression on NBA teams.