Zach Edey draft profile, scouting report: How will Purdue big man translate to NBA?

Though his career didn’t end with a national championship, Zach Edey finished his time in college basketball as one of the most memorable and decorated players in the sport’s recent history.

As a senior last season at Purdue, Edey averaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and two assists per game, making him the only player in NCAA history to average those marks. He became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1960 to lead the country in scoring and make a Final Four, where the Boilermakers ultimately fell to UConn 75-60 in the NCAA championship game.

Perhaps most notably, he swept the six major national player of the year awards for the second-consecutive year, becoming the first player since Bill Walton in 1972 and 1973 to do so.

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From those various achievements comes a natural question: How might all of that college success translate to the NBA? The process of answering that will begin Wednesday with the 2024 NBA Draft in Brooklyn, an event in which Edey is pegged as a first-round selection.

In what’s generally regarded as a watered-down draft class, Edey is one of the most intriguing prospects, a 7-foot-4, 300-pound colossus of a player who physically dominated his competition at the college level, but whose position and skill set make his fit at the NBA level questionable.

Going back to last year, when Edey entered the 2023 NBA Draft before withdrawing his name and returning to Purdue, his game has been evaluated by analysts who are trying to project what he might be able to accomplish at the NBA level.

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As he prepares for the next step in his career and as he waits to hear his name called at the 2024 NBA draft, here’s a sampling of various scouting reports of Edey:

Zach Edey scouting reports

Generally speaking, Edey is regarded as a physically imposing center with strong offensive fundamentals — a polished back-to-the-basket game, deft footwork for a player his size, a soft touch around the rim and an embrace of physical play that allows him to finish through contact.

Beyond that, he’s an instinctual rebounder, a top-tier screener and someone whose size will have him standing taller than virtually anyone he comes across in the NBA.

Still, the Toronto native has been critiqued for an overall lack of athleticism, with a noticeable lack of explosiveness and verticality to his game. More broadly, there are concerns about how his game translates to the NBA. His athletic shortcomings will limit his effectiveness as a defender once he’s pulled away from the basket and there are questions about how relevant his offensive game, refined as it is in many areas, will be in a sport increasingly predicated upon spacing out the floor and taking 3-pointers (he attempted just two 3s across his four years at Purdue, both in 2023-24).

Here's a look at Edey’s draft profile and some of the scouting reports of him ahead of the draft:

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Zach Edey NBA draft profile

Measurements are from the 2024 NBA Draft Combine

  • Height without shoes: 7 feet, 3 3/4 inches (first among centers)

  • Wingspan: 7 feet, 10 3/4 inches (first among centers)

  • Standing reach: 9 feet, 7 inches (tied for first among centers)

  • Lane agility: 11.19 seconds (fourth among centers)

  • Shuttle run: 3.01 seconds (tied for fifth among centers)

  • Three-quarter-court sprint: 3.42 seconds (14th among centers)

  • Standing vertical leap: 26 inches (13th among centers)

  • Max vertical leap: 31.5 inches (13th among centers)

Zach Edey scouting reports


From Jeff Zillgitt and Scooby Axson:

"Edey is a bear to defend in the low post, and is a two-time college player of the year. But in the NBA, is he mobile enough, especially defensively, to keep up with style and pace? He had a solid showing with his shooting and measurables at the draft combine."

The Athletic

From Sam Vecenie:

"His ability to transition to the NBA has been doubted. Yet here we are, two National Player of the Year seasons later, and Edey keeps getting better. He’s in unbelievable shape for a player his size in a way that allows him to take full advantage of his gifts. He has skills that will work in the NBA. He’s going to be a killer rebounder, monster screener and will consistently establish his position even against some of the stronger NBA players. I’m not saying he’ll seal off Joel Embiid every time down the court, but most big 7-foot or shorter will have issues dealing with his length and strength. His pro success comes down to continuing to improve his movement ability and continuing to maximize his ability to get up and down the court on defense. He needs to not let ball handlers turn the corner on him in drop coverage and maintain extremely tight angles.

"I’m done doubting Edey, even as an NBA player. He’s exceptionally tough, and intel suggest his worth ethic is excellent. He’s an unbelievable competitor who desperately wants to win. He plays with an edge that allows him to overcome a lot of the perceived deficiencies of his game. I can’t quite shake the questions I have on his ability to significantly impact the playoffs, so I couldn’t quite get him into the lottery. But I think he carves out an NBA role and sticks around for a while."

Bleacher Report

From Jonathan Wasserman:

"Debate continues to swirl into the pre-draft process around Edey's fit for and upside in an NBA game that's moved away from post-ups. And outside players such as Victor Wembanyama, Kristaps Porzingis and Chet Holmgren, who have perimeter skill sets, there haven't been many serious success stories of bigs with measurements near Edey's.

"But it's also become difficult to ignore his rare effectiveness at the college level, plus improved conditioning and mobility that's made it easier to picture him moving alongside NBA-caliber athletes."

The Ringer

From Cyro Asseo de Choch:


"Hard-to-stop interior scorer, not just because of his sheer size but also because of his skill and touch. He does a great job of using his massive frame to seal off positioning and make himself available for interior feeds. He doesn’t have advanced footwork, but his gigantic presence is enhanced by his agility.

"Intelligent big man with a solid feel for playmaking out of double-teams. He isn’t a savant passer by any means, but he limits mistakes despite receiving so much attention from college defenses. Keeps the ball high when he catches it near the rim, so he’s not prone to getting stripped. With a soft touch on hook shots, he could possess standstill shooting upside from the baseline or the corners."


"Limited defender when pulled away from the basket. He struggles to recover on pick-and-pops and often gets blown by on closeouts. NBA teams will target him even more than college teams do; granted, he’s made improvements in handling pressure at his current level.

"Lacks a perimeter game aside from his screening. Though he has soft touch on floaters and a solid free throw percentage for a big, there is no indication that he will develop a spot-up jumper. Can’t really play an up-and-down, high-tempo game since he’s slower footed in open space."

The Sporting News

From Kyle Irving:


"He has always had an unstoppable drop step and hook shot, especially when he gets to his dominant right hand. He rarely used his left hand in the past, but this season, he has gotten more comfortable scoring with his off-hand.

"Edey has shown more poise with his back to the basket. It feels like the game is slowing down for him when he's double-teamed in the post. That has led to major strides as a passer, dishing out a career-high 68 assists while cutting back on turnovers (74) compared to last year (77).

"That is a vitally important skill for a player of his size. Even at the NBA level, Edey will almost always draw multiple defenders, meaning someone has to be open. Having the vision to find shooters and cutters will only benefit his own scoring ability, keeping defenses guessing if he'll dish the ball or look to attack. Edey is still a rock-solid defensive anchor, shot blocker and reliable rebounder, but a lot of his defensive limitations remain the same."


"Even though his footwork and lateral movement look quicker, Edey will still be a frequent pick-and-roll target at the next level. With NBA spacing, Edey could get played off the floor trying to keep up with some of the faster, more athletic guards and forwards. He could live in drop coverage, but that would put a lot of pressure on the rest of his teammates to fight over ball screens and get out on shooters.

"On offense, Edey is more coordinated and confident with his left hand, but it is still a weakness. It won't be as easy to bully every defender in the post and get to his right hand whenever he wants. Smarter defenders will know he wants to turn over his left shoulder for a righty hook or push shot, and they'll be strong and athletic enough to cut that off. On top of that, Edey still does almost all of his damage around the basket. He is not a threat to stretch the floor or face up and shoot. Edey's size is his biggest strength, but it's also a weakness."

Fox Sports

From Ric Bucher:

"Edey is indeed a throwback. He knows how to use his size and strength to establish position in the paint and draw foul-inducing contact. He has a knack for offensive rebounding and putbacks, a soft touch around the rim, enough back-to-the-basket handle to get to an effective right-handed jump hook and is a dependable free-throw shooter (71.5%).

"There is no indication that he is a threat facing the basket, especially from any distance, which is practically a prerequisite for any player at any position in today's drive-and-kick intensive NBA.

"But it's that "almost obsolete" that leaves open the possibility of Edey being a size-challenged team's first choice. There are coaches who still appreciate having a formidable screen setter and reliable post scorer on the roster to go to in certain situations. Zaza Pachulia might be Edey's spirit animal. Listed as 6-11 and 270 pounds, he started every game for the 2017 championship-winning Golden State Warriors, two-thirds of his shots coming from within three feet of the rim and primarily serving as a human shield to free the Warriors' shooters. But Pachulia was a second-round pick on his sixth team, and the game's reliance on transition offense and 3-point shooting has ramped up since then."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Zach Edey 2024 NBA draft profile, scouting report for Purdue big man