July 22, 2024

NBA Draft 2024 Rumors: Zach Edey Could Go 7; Blazers ‘Extremely High’ on Purdue Star | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - APRIL 06: Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers walks across the court in the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack  in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal game at State Farm Stadium on April 06, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers could target Purdue center Zach Edey in the top 10 of the 2024 NBA draft, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

“The Blazers also worked out Purdue center Zach Edey earlier in the month, and people around the NBA believe that they are also extremely high on him — not just for the 14th pick, but for their first choice at No. 7,” O’Connor reported Monday. “The bottom line is that the Blazers seem to be looking to come away with a center to pair with Scoot Henderson and their other young pieces.”

The seventh overall selection is earlier than many expect Edey to be taken, though he has a wide draft range. Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman projected him to land with the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 17 but reported “rival teams believe Zach Edey could go in the lottery.”

The 7’4″ big has a limited scoring range and will carry a massive target on his back as a defender.

“With Edey, the fear is with his ability to guard in space,” one NBA team executive said to ESPN’s Jeremy Woo. “When guards turn the corner on him, his ability to recover and get back into the play. You might have to commit to gimmicky defenses and station him around the basket to really take advantage of his rim-protection.”

Edey should have a relatively high floor, though.

As the old cliché goes, you can’t coach size. Especially since the NBA has steadily transitioned away from traditional centers, the two-time national player of the year is going to cause obvious matchup problems.

Edey also shot 62.1 percent from the field in his four years with the Boilermakers, and he steadily turned into a foul magnet. As a senior, he attempted 11.2 free throws per game. His offensive game may not be pretty, but it’s unquestionably effective.

Regardless of where he went in the draft, the Blazers would be a surprising landing spot for Edey since they already have Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams III under contract. His arrival would seemingly signal the organization losing faith in one of the two veterans.

Ayton simply isn’t a cornerstone-type talent and his $133 million contract doesn’t reflect his on-court value. Williams, meanwhile, made just six appearances for Portland before requiring season-ending knee surgery. It wouldn’t be a shock if either player became the subject of trade speculation coming out of the draft if Portland were to add another center.