Zach Edey: Breaking Down 6 Factors On The Scouting Report That Will Determine His Success In The NBA

Zach Edey, is the star center for 2024 Purdue Boilermakers.

Zach Edey is still in the learning stages of the game. This is only his seventh year of playing organized basketball. However, he just keeps getting better and better at a fast pace.

To think that he started playing during his sophomore year of high school to now competing in the 2024 NCAA Final Four is nothing short of magnificent.

His 2024 NCAA Final Four run with the Purdue Boilermakers has made one thing very clear. In addition to his learned skills, Edey brings attributes to the table that can’t be learned or taught at any level of play.

In real time he’s a quick study. But in “NBA time” it may take a moment for him to adjust to the defense and speed of the NBA game. However, with a bit of patience the NBA team that adds Zach Edey to their roster will eventually benefit from having:

  • A strong giant that will be one of the biggest players in the NBA adding size to the depth chart
  • A double-double big
  • An enormous wingspan and standing reach
  • Efficient scoring from close range
  • A monster on the boards
  • A rim protector
  • Drawing fouls and trips to the line
  • A big that’s a decent passer

Zach Edey is one of the top 2024 NBA Draft prospects. He’s currently projected as a late first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. While many feel that he is deserving of a lottery pick many others believe that he will not succeed on an NBA landscape full of modern day big men.

In this article we’ll take a look at 6 things that you will find on the scouting report of the polarizing player that has the basketball world divided. Plus, we will tell you why he’s going to succeed or won’t succeed at the next level.

What Will You Find On Zach Edey’s Scouting Reports?

#1. Puts Pressure On Opposing Bigs

Zach Edey puts pressure on opposing bigs. He’s a tough assignment to cover on screen & rolls and around the basket in general. For the most part Edey’s fundamentals in the paint are sound. After making the catch, the ball is usually kept high and he goes straight up. But when Edey brings the ball low it’s a long way back up for a big his size. Further exposing himself by providing smaller players with excellent opportunities to swipe the ball away from him.

Whether laying it up or dunking with authority, Zach Edey is a reliable finisher that can play through contact. And as a big that draws fouls, he’s a major asset to his team when the defense is over the foul limit. Edey makes a lot of trips to the line. Plus it never hurts to have a big on your team that is a decent shooter from the charity stripe.

#2. His Post Go To Move And Its Variations Are Hard To Stop

At this stage of his career, Zach Edey is a one trick pony with a couple of variations from the post. But he’s so big and strong that it’s hard to stop his go to move. Plus he draws fouls and get to the line when using it.

After establishing solid post or repost positioning on the low left block, sealing his man and making the post entry catch (bad ones are occasionally mishandled), Edey backs his man down with a power dribble into the paint. Then he likes to use a step through or pivot towards the basket while using his big shoulders and elbows in an attempt to create separation from his defender.

When Edey isn’t fouled in the process, his back down power dribble is the set up for a right hand baby or jump hook over his defenders. His touch around the basket is superb. On missed attempts he’s capable of getting off his feet to clean up with put-back two handed flushes.

The variations of this post move consists of pivoting towards the baseline instead of into the paint to set up baby or jump hooks with his left hand. Other times he’ll just pivot off the post entry catch without taking a power dribble to set up his hook shots (can do from low right block as well). Edey can be vulnerable to theft from guards who time his dribble with a double team because they know it’s coming. Occasionally, Edey will travel by shuffling his pivot when doing so.

#3. A Decent Passing Big, Especially Out Of The Post

Zach Edey is poised when the double team arrives in the post. He calmly keeps the ball high, kicks out for a repost or turns on his pivot to survey the floor before passing over defenders to find and assist open teammates. Every so often he will get caught off guard and frazzled when surrounded by defenders leading to errant passes. This can happen not only in the post but from anywhere on the floor.

#4. Can He Defend The Modern Big In The NBA?

If front office executives and coaches can live with allowing opposing modern day bigs attempting to beat them with jump shots from the perimeter while their big man is in drop coverage they’ll be fine with drafting Edey. If they expect Edey immediately to be on the perimeter consistently switching and effectively guarding close to the three point line they’re going to have a rude awakening.

Zach Edey’s comfort zone is in the paint on both ends of the floor. And he doesn’t like to leave his zone. Or does his coach Matt Painter’s defensive drop coverage scheme dictate that he stays put? Instead of closing out on three point shooters, Edey will let shooters shoot while contesting from a distance with his arms extended. But occasionally he will surprise you with a hard closeout and shot contest.

When switching or defending in pick & roll coverage, Edey rarely allows the offense to draw him out to the perimeter. He typically sags off his man and just patiently waits in the paint or a step outside the paint. On the occasions when he leaves the paint it’s done in a sluggish manner.

Because the NBA has a defensive three-second rule violation Zach Edey will not be able to park in the paint. His team will need to show some patience. In turn Edey will need to show that he can make the necessary adjustment to effectively defend NBA talent on the perimeter.

At his best as a help defender in drop coverage

A solid help defender that’s at his best when he’s in a drop coverage and ready to help. When the team’s defensive scheme funnels slashers his way he provides an intimidating presence that awaits in the paint. Sometimes his presence and extended arms while grounded is enough to disrupt shot attempts. Plus he gets off his feet to secure rebounds after blocking or disrupting missed field goal attempts.

His standing reach is an enormous asset

On the blocks he’s a strong defender. Edey bodies and walls up against the turn & face and back downs while vertically extending his enormous 9’ 7.5” standing reach. Also, he’s disciplined enough to stay on his feet against pivot work and shot fakes. His timing is on point when leaving his feet to contest and block shots at the rim.

#5. A Monster On The Offensive Glass And Solid On The Defensive Boards Too

Zach Edey is a strong big body that takes up a lot of space as shots go up. It’s a struggle for opponents to keep him off the offensive glass. Whistles are blown and fouls are often drawn in the process. Sometimes the whistle is for Edey but most times it’s the defense committing the violation.

Edey’s elevation from the stand still isn’t that great. However, with his size he has enough lift to clean up with put-backs or keep rebounds alive when out of his grasp by tipping the ball to himself.

On the defensive side of the glass, Edey often looks for a body and boxes out. His box-outs make it easier for his teammates to secure the rebounds out of his reach. With a body that takes up as much real estate as he does it often guarantees one less opponent will be competing for the shots that come off the rim.

When Edey doesn’t box out he can be out jumped for rebounds as he doesn’t have much lift from the stand still. Which is evident when he loses jump balls to start games despite being the biggest man in NCAA basketball.

#6. Zach Edey Can Succeed At The Next Level But Will He?

That depends on how he is utilized. As a fan of the game there’s nothing worse than seeing a player with so much promise being underutilized, misused or being held back from achieving their full potential. Edey’s success or lack of will be determined by his commitment, effort and his team.

The only parties that can predict with certainty if he will succeed or fail are the two parties involved. Edey is responsible for doing the work. His team is responsible for putting him in a position to succeed by utilizing him to his strengths and advantages. Therefore It’s extremely important for his front office and coaching staff to share the same vision for how Edey can contribute to his team’s success.

Zach Edey will succeed if…

Asked to play a role that uses strengths to his advantages. Rather than trying to mold Zach Edey into something he is not. A modern big that shoots threes and puts the ball on the deck.

Utilizing him properly means keeping his offensive game close to the basket and providing him with an adequate amount (10) of shot attempts each game. It also means spacing the floor by surrounding him with shooters, asking him to rebound and protect the rim.

Also, he shouldn’t be benched because he doesn’t fit into a carbon copycat mold version of today’s big men. Due to the NBA’s defensive 3-second rule his coaching staff will have to get creative with their defensive schemes. When Edey is on the floor they will need to account for his shortcomings as a perimeter defender. At least until he gets up to NBA game speed.

Just as modern bigs have their advantages, those can be countered by Edey’s advantages which can be found close to the basket. Focus on what Edey can do instead of what he can’t and the pluses will outweigh the minuses. Yes, it’s a pun for the stat geeks.

Without a doubt Zach Edey has the tools and ability to become a good NBA player. I will gladly admit that I was wrong if I’m wrong. But I’m certain I won’t have to do that if he is utilized to his strengths and advantages.

Height: 7’ 4”

Weight: 300 LBS

Wingspan: 7’ 10”

Standing Reach: 9’ 7.5”

Position: Center

Class: Senior

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

DOB: 5/14/2002 (21 yrs old)

2023-24 NCAA Season Stats Per Game


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