Miami Heat Predicted to Add Polarizing 7-foot-4 ‘Skyscraper’ Star

Potential Miami Heat draft pick Zach Edey

Getty Potential Miami Heat draft pick Zach Edey

The Miami Heat did pretty well for themselves last year in the NBA draft, using a mid-first-round pick to scoop up a four-year college veteran with plug-and-play potential in UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. The Heat plugged him in. And he played, logging 2,113 minutes, which was No. 2 on the team. A year later, the Heat could look to do much the same, as projected by ESPN: The site’s newest mock draft has the Heat going with four-year Purdue star Zach Edey in next month’s draft.

Now, it should be noted that Edey at the Heat’s spot—No. 15—is a bit of an outlier. While his collegiate record is impeccable, his limited offensive game has some NBA personnel types wondering if he should be a first-rounder at all.

That’s reflected in other mocks: The Athletic slots him in at No. 21, Bleacher Report has Edey going 23rd, the Ringer has him 25th and CBS puts him 27th.

But the draft is a weak one and Edey is, at least, a known commodity, winner of the Naismith Player of the Year award. That should help make him stand out among win-now teams with mid- to late-first-round picks, much the way Jaquez stood out for the Heat last year.

Miami Heat Taking Another 4-Year Collegian?

Writing about the prospect of Edey landing with the Miami Heat, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony noted that there would be an awkward fit with Edey and center Bam Adebayo. Nonetheless:

“Edey’s positional fit alongside Bam Adebayo would be a topic of discussion in Miami, but his productivity, physicality, intensity and team-culture match would be welcomed by the Heat. Adebayo started to slowly incorporate a 3-point shot into his offensive arsenal late this season and has the type of defensive versatility that could be useful alongside another big.

“Edey’s offensive rebounding and interior scoring are skills the Heat lack, making him an attractive pick here.”

He obviously can score in the paint and rebound—at 7-foot-4, he averaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and shot 62.3% from the field. Edey helped Purdue to the national title game this year and certainly has fans among coaches and front offices.

“He does all the little things well,” one Western Conference scout said. “He sets really good screens — he sees the floor, he handles double-teams. And he has done everything that has been asked of him there (at Purdue). He came off the bench, he was not getting plays called for him, all of that and he just did his job. That is going to matter when it comes to the NBA.”

Zach Edey’s Lack of Athleticism an Issue

But Edey is a plodder who lacks the athleticism to play on the perimeter, on either end of the court, and that is tough to overcome in today’s game.

“That’s the problem,” the scout told Heavy Sports. “I think everyone likes the kid, knows what he can do. But it is hard to see where he is going to grow, where he is going to get better. There are big guys who do not shoot 3s—Mitchell Robinson, Jarrett Allen, (Ivica) Zubac—but that’s not the problem. The mobility is the problem.

“You need to be able to get up-and-down the floor. You can’t be an anchor on the fast break, you can’t weigh everything down. And defensively, it is not just running out and guarding 3-pointers. It is playing in space, getting run through screens over and over. It’s just too easy to pick him apart. It’s the old joke, he has the size of a skyscraper and the athleticism of one, too.”

Because of his size, his accomplishments in college and the general weakness of this draft, Edey has a chance to land in the first round, perhaps even in the middle of it with the Miami Heat. But he’s a longshot to be nearly as productive as Jaquez was as a rookie.




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