NBA analyst says Miami Heat should draft Zach Edey: ‘There’s a place for him’

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Edey showed what he is capable of on a big stage during the recently completed NCAA Tournament, and NBA observer Nick Wright said the Miami Heat should select the Purdue University big man in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft.

This season, Edey was named the Associated Press Player of the Year for a second straight time, making him the first back-to-back winner since Ralph Sampson won it three times in a row for the University of Virginia in the early 1980s.

Though Purdue lost to the University of Connecticut in the 2024 championship game on Monday, Edey was excellent in two Final Four games. The 7-foot-4 center scored 20 points with 12 rebounds in a semifinal win against North Carolina State University before scoring 37 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the final loss to UConn.

After a stunning first-round loss for Purdue in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Edey averaged 29.5 points per game in six tournament contests this year, the second-most in history.

His game may not be ideally suited for today’s NBA, but it is hard to argue with his production at the collegiate level. It could make him attractive to a team that wants to find use for his unique talents, and the Heat have a coaching staff that certainly seems capable of doing that.

In a recent mock draft posted before the Final Four, ESPN had Edey as the No. 13 overall pick to the Portland Trail Blazers. Miami is unlikely to be selecting that high.

But before turning their full attention to the 2024 NBA Draft, the Heat have plenty of business to tend to the rest of this season. With just four regular season games remaining — including a tilt Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks — the Heat are trying to improve their playoff positioning and avoid competing in the play-in round for a second straight year.

With a 43-35 record, they are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers for sixth place and the conference’s final guaranteed playoff spot.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.