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Zach Edey NBA Draft

Edit: This article was written and published originally on December 7th 2022 and we were questioning back then why he wasn’t a draft prospect. Since that day Zach Edey has gone on to complete one of the greatest individual seasons in college basketball history, sweep the awards and officially measure some of the greatest length in NBA history, as well as some eye-opening speed and agility at the NBA Combine. He remains nowhere on anyone’s draft boards which remains baffling. I think the NBA world will regret sleeping on this guy and someone will eventually get a player that will make a big impact in the NBA.

There were many NBA players slower, less agile, and less athletic than Edey but here are a few for comparison historically that we dug up probably missing some…

Zach EdeyC11.37
Carmelo AnthonySF11.4
Josh SmithSG-SF11.43
Julius RandlePF11.45
Khris MiddletonSF11.45
Kawhi LeonardSF11.45
Luol DengSF11.46
Mike ConleyPG11.63
Trevor ArizaSG-SF11.63
John CollinsPF11.66
Paul MillsapPF11.67
Derrick RosePG11.69
Robert CovingtonSF-PF11.69
Jason RichardsonSF-SG11.75
Michael Kidd-GilchristSF11.77
Terrence RossSG-SF11.78
Chris BoshPF11.8
Tyreke EvansPG-SG11.81
Jarrett AllenC11.82
Steven AdamsC11.85
Kenyon Martin Jr.SF-PF11.93
Jeff GreenSF12
LaMarcus AldridgePF-C12.02
Nikola VucevicPF-C12.02
Andrew BogutC-PF12.06
Michael ReddSG-SF12.06
Tyson ChandlerSF-PF12.13
Monta EllisSG-PG12.13
Nassir LittleSF12.15
Al HorfordPF12.15
Caron ButlerSF-SG12.15
George HillPG12.2
DeAndre JordanC12.3
Emeka OkaforC-PF12.32
Kevin DurantSF-PF12.33
Will BartonSG-SF12.5
JaVale McGeeC-PF12.75
Brook LopezC12.77
Rudy GobertC12.85
Al JeffersonPF-SF13.08

This guy has exceptional lateral movement even for his size and adequate speed and athleticism as well.

Steven AdamsC3.4
Taj GibsonPF3.41
LaMarcus AldridgePF-C3.43
Zach EdeyC3.45
Kevin DurantSF-PF3.45
Kyle KorverSF3.47
Khris MiddletonSF3.47
Xavier Tillman Sr.PF-C3.49
Brendan HaywoodC3.5
Andrew BogutC-PF3.51
Ersan IlyasovaSF3.56
Bobby PortisPF3.56
Brook LopezC3.57
Rudy GobertC3.57
Will BartonSG-SF3.6
Andrew BogutC-PF27.5
Brook LopezC27.5
JaVale McGeeC-PF27
Caron ButlerSF-SG27
Michael ReddSG-SF27
Jaxson HayesPF27
Brendan HaywoodC27
Monta EllisSG-PG26.5
Tyus JonesPG26.5
LaMarcus AldridgePF-C26.5
DeAndre JordanC26
Zach EdeyC26
Kevin DurantSF-PF26
Xavier Tillman Sr.PF-C26
Kawhi LeonardSF25.5
Taj GibsonPF25.5
Bobby PortisPF25
Rudy GobertC25
Nikola VucevicPF-C23.5
Ersan IlyasovaSF22

NBA Combine Stats

Height without Shoes: 7’3.25″

Standing Reach: 9’7.5″

Wingspan: 7’10.5″

Weight: 306.4 lbs

He ran, jumped, and moved those speeds above at 306lbs. That’s incredible.

For perspective on the length he measured…

YearAll Time at the CombineWingspan
2019Tacko Fall8’2.25″
2023Zach Edey7’10.5″
2018Mo Bamba7’10”
2008John Riek7’8.75″
2006Mouhamed Sene7’8.5″
2013Rudy Gobert7’8.5″
2003Chris Martin7’8″
2016Zhou Qi7’7.75″
2003Doug Wrenn7’7.5″
2019Bol Bol7’7″
2010Hassan Whiteside7’7″

He is the 2nd longest player in NBA combine history and very likely the 3rd longest in NBA history only behind Manute Bol and Tacko Fall.

That perhaps is not even the most impressive measurement to come out of the NBA combine. His speed drills were middle of the pack, quicker than some guards/wings.

Edey Speed & Agility

For comparison to some of the other players in this class that had the balls to show out. Most didn’t.

Jalen WilsonSF11.26
Taylor HendricksPF11.27
Amari BaileySG11.34
Arthur KalumaPF11.35
Zach EdeyC11.37
GG JacksonPF11.39
Kobe BrownPF11.39
Maxwell LewisSG11.4
Jordan MillerSF11.43
DaRon Holmes IIC11.48
Adama SanogoC11.5
Emoni BatesSF11.54
Trey AlexanderSG11.6
Chris LivingstonSF11.65
Kobe BufkinSG11.71
Tristan VukcevicC11.71
Trayce Jackson-DavisC11.8
Jalen PickettPG11.91
Dillon MitchellPF3.32
Julian PhillipsSF3.32
Taylor HendricksPF3.32
Oscar TshiebweC3.32
Leonard MillerPF3.33
Colby JonesSG3.33
Ricky Council IVSF3.33
Jaime Jaquez Jr.SF3.33
Kobe BrownPF3.33
Cason WallacePG3.34
Anthony BlackPG3.35
Trey AlexanderSG3.35
Jalen PickettPG3.35
Coleman HawkinsPF3.37
Ryan KalkbrennerC3.39
Toumani CamaraPF3.41
Marcus SasserPG3.43
Rayan RupertSF3.43
Maxwell LewisSG3.43
Tristan VukcevicC3.43
Arthur KalumaPF3.44
Zach EdeyC3.45
Emoni BatesSF3.49
Gradey DickSG3.5
Azuolas TubelisPF3.5
Standing Vertical Leap
Cason WallacePG28
Julian StrawtherSF27.5
Rayan RupertSF27.5
Marcus SasserPG27
Emoni BatesSF27
Coleman HawkinsPF26.5
Zach EdeyC26
Drew TimmeC26
Tristan VukcevicC26
Azuolas TubelisPF23.5

You should get the point, he’s not slow or unathletic. The plodding big he’s been labled.

Those wingspan numbers are not only the best in this draft, they are amongst the top of the all-time measurements as well. 9-8 inch standing reach is incredible, and probably more important than height (certainly) or even wingspan for what it indicates. We’ve seen players with long wingspans not translate as well with standing reach. The old short necks like Elton Brand (who standing reach was pioneered for) versus long necks. We’ve also seen plenty of players who were tall with Trex arms, but had wingspans even less than their height which isn’t ideal. Great length doesn’t assure success or failure, but it adds to any player’s value in the draft process, or should. These are essentially bets on potential. Betting on what you can measure helps.

I believe the standing reach is probably the more important stat for a center considering it’s how high your hands extend and tied to rim protection and a greater way. The Standing Reach would have also been 3rd all-time behind Tacko Fall and Pavel Podkolzin. Other than Tacko Fall he’s the tallest and longest player measured in NBA combine history.

What am I missing here? He’s a stud who checks all the boxes.

The rest of this article was written on December 7th, 2022 before I even knew any of these combine athletic indicators, but the points remain relevant.

Edey is nowhere near a draft board anywhere. We started him on our personal board in the Summer of 2022 because I felt like even then he would destroy college basketball and be the #1 player this season. I had him 2nd in the Preseason Player of The Year only because we thought Purdue didn?t have a good team around him, but that he?d put up such insane production and be the best player in basketball that you had to have him there. I believe even I underestimated his individual impact and defense as well.

He could end up being Boban in the NBA, it?s a totally plausible outcome. Honestly, I think Boban was a lot better than the chances he was given. Boban wrecked the NBA anytime he ever got to play or start. I don?t mind being wrong if I feel strongly about it, and so far everything I expected Edey has delivered. If he doesn?t get drafted highly, I still think he will make an impact in the NBA, and people will be wondering why they didn?t draft him.

Brook Lopez

Edey stands at a height of 7′-4″ and 285 pounds with a 7′-10′ wingspan, 20 shoe reportedly. He has the elite measurables you want to see and most importantly only 20.4 years old, barely older than Brandon Miller or the Thompson Twins. He is putting up some of the most insane numbers in college basketball history. I don?t know how you pass on this guy. There are multiple players that are 285+ pounds which seems to be the knock contributing to his perimeter defense.

My counter to that would be Brook Lopez is 7-1, 285, and 35 years old, coming off back surgery, and pretty slow on switches. Lopez is still the betting favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. If Lopez can impact defense like that why can?t Edey be at least passable? Lopez isn?t chasing guards and obviously, some defense can be used to play to Edey strengths around the rim, or at least hide the weaknesses. I think teams will regret passing on him. The way Edey shoots free throws I wouldn?t put it past him developing a 3-point shot like Brook Lopez developed later in his career at some point too.


Another reason why I feel so strongly about his NBA prospects is history. Edey currently has a 40.1 PER season going, which is simply another way to say stats. He’s posting insane stats. This coming off of a season where he posted a 40.9, although he didn’t play enough minutes to qualify. We always believed he’d have no issue replicating that if given a chance to play more. As long as he continues to wreck college basketball at a level almost no one but Zion Williamson did I’ll be on board.

Here are the top seasons in PER since 2009 posted by Power Conference players that have already graduated. Outside of Luka Garza, Vernon Carey, and Brice Johnson, most of these players had successful NBA careers. Garza and Carey still have some time to turn their NBA careers around as well. Johnson might be the only outright failure. Edey is at a different level than really any of these players outside of Zion and Keegan Murray.

Since 2006
Zach Edey40.92021-22Purdue
Zion Williamson40.842018-19Duke
Zach Edey40.22022-23Purdue
Keegan Murray37.752021-22Iowa
Michael Beasley37.152007-08Kansas State
John Collins35.912016-17Wake Forest
Luka Garza35.572020-21Iowa
Anthony Davis35.132011-12Kentucky
Frank Kaminsky34.432014-15Wisconsin
Luka Garza34.362019-20Iowa
DeMarcus Cousins34.182009-10Kentucky
Vernon Carey34.132019-20Duke
Tari Eason33.422021-22Louisiana State
Mark Williams33.072021-22Duke
Brice Johnson33.042015-16North Carolina
Doug McDermott32.772013-14Creighton
Derrick Williams32.752010-11Arizona
Kevin Durant32.752006-07Texas
Deandre Ayton32.612017-18Arizona
Walker Kessler31.452021-22Auburn
Karl-Anthony Towns31.382014-15Kentucky
T.J. Warren31.332013-14NC State
Cody Zeller31.32011-12Indiana
Jakob Poeltl31.12015-16Utah
Onyeka Okongwu31.072019-20Southern California
Jimmer Fredette30.920010-11BYU

There were also some pretty good nonpower conference players that posted big-time stats and still have made an impact in the NBA.

Mike Muscala35.732012-13Bucknell
Kenneth Faried34.742010-11Morehead State
Damian Lillard33.982011-12Weber State
Chris Clemons32.992018-19Campbell
C.J. McCollum32.382011-12Lehigh
Andrew Nicholson31.632011-12St. Bonaventure
Ja Morant31.62018-19Murray State
Pascal Siakam31.582015-16New Mexico State
Charles Jenkins31.382010-11Hofstra
Chet Holmgren31.352021-22Gonzaga

The stats still matter, and there is a high correlation between posting elite seasons like this for a Power Conference team and having NBA success. Injuries at this size are always a long-term concern but so far nothing has popped up that is problematic. I personally think he’s the 2nd most intriguing prospect in this draft behind Victor Wembanyama for me personally. I wouldn’t draft him there of course since no one else would and you could get him lower, but I’d certainly trade down to a level I was more comfortable with and draft him there. No one else will say it, but I’d much rather have him than almost any of the guys projected behind Victor Wembanyama if he came at a draft bargin, with what he’s proven and the measurements. What I mean by that is if I were a team with a high pick I’d try to trade down and accumulate more value and just pick him at the end of the 1st round. I’d feel comfortable with that certainly even if he might not even be drafted. He’s essentially the same age as well with as much time to improve. Generally, I would avoid most centers as devalued as the position has become, but I do feel like Wembanyama and Edey will have great careers. I feel far less sure about most other prospects currently projected in the lottery outside of Brandon Miller.

If Brook Lopez can be one of the best defenders in the NBA at age 35 after multiple surgeries including his back less than a year ago, I worry less about Zach Edey’s place in the NBA. Some smart coach should be able to find a place for him on the court, and he seems like a smart player you could build a defense around at worst as Denver has with another center that isn’t fleet of foot like Nikola Jokic. Defense seems like the only real concern, and that’s why no one gives him respect in the Draft. I think his impact and potential there are undervalued personally with the kind of measurements he has and his intelligence.

I wouldn’t even call my personal take on Edey a hot take. Nikola Jokic was drafted 41st the same year Nik Stauskas, Dante Exum, Noah Vonleh, and Elfrid Payton were drafted top 10. They certainly are the same players but there are lots wrong every year in the draft that and wrong over the decades. You can bank on it year after year in the top 5 there are bust.

I could be wrong, but I do feel strongly at least on Edey in a way I don’t on the other prospects outside of Wembanyama. Someone will eventually get a steal in my opinion. How do you not draft Zach Edey in the first round at least? This isn’t just some great college player who is 24 year old without the measurements like Tyler Hansbrough. Even Hansbrough was drafted in the lottery.

Conclusion (added later)

Zach Edey averaged 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds, by they raw number and was the consensus National Player of the year. 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds is crazy enough itself but it was in the Big Ten last season and his efficiency was all time great, and the Big Ten is arguably the top conference.

These weren’t empty stats, Purdue won both the regular season and tournament championships and were a #1 seed in the NCAA last season. The NCAA tournament didn’t go as they would have hoped but upsets happen in the NCAA tournament. I don’t believe it diminishes his overall national player of the year season. Success in a 3-6 game sample in the tournament is always overrated for the NBA draft. It was an incredible season for Purdue and he was a bigger part of that success than any player I have ever seen.

If he was only going to be a late second round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft by the NBA scouts I’m glad he used his college eligibility and came back. ,With his return to Purdue he has unfinished business. Get that new student visa and wreck the college level and college basketball again and the Josiah Jordan James and Michigan State of the world. The NBA draft and will have to wait a little longer as he is the betting favorite for national player again with his game. This return to Purdue warranted more help. I would have liked to have seen Matt Painter bring some speed to West Lafayette in the portal to help this Purdue Boilermakers team.

Zach Edey will eventually make an NBA team very happy we expect, regardless if he’s drafted in the first round in the NBA Draft or his path is through the G league. These things work out as they are supposed to as game shines though. Today’s NBA is considered a wing dominated, three point league, but when you actually look around it’s being dominated at the NBA level by centers like Jokic, Embid and Giannis (who can’t shoot and plays more like a center now).

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