New NBA mock draft has Miami Heat taking polarizing big man at 15

Zach Edey's value is one of the most hotly debated topics of the NBA draft.
Purdue v Indiana
Purdue v Indiana / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

According to ESPN’s latest mock draft, the Miami Heat could come away from June’s NBA draft with one of the most polarizing prospects in this class.

In his latest mock draft, Jonathan Givony has the Heat taking Purdue center Zach Edey with the 15th pick, writing that “Edey's positional fit alongside Bam Adebayo would be a topic of discussion in Miami, but his productivity, physicality and intensity would surely be welcomed by the Heat, who have valued experience more than other teams at times.”

“Edey slowly incorporated a 3-point shot into his offensive arsenal this past season, and he has the type of defensive versatility that could be useful alongside another big man in small doses. Edey's offensive rebounding and interior scoring are skills the Heat don't have much of, potentially making him an attractive pick at No. 15,” adds Givony.

Zach Edey could be a useful pick for the Miami Heat in the NBA draft, but is 15 too high to take the polarizing center prospect?

Still available at the time of the Heat’s pick in this mock draft were Duke guard Jared McCain (who Givony previously had going to Miami), Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, and Kansas forward Johnny Furphy. All went with the next three picks. 

Popular prospects like Providence guard Devin Carter, Baylor guard Ja’Kobe Walter and Colorado wing Cody Williams went with the three picks before the Heat were on the clock.

Where Edey should get drafted is a topic of debate in NBA circles, according to reports. Some see the 7-foot-4 center and two-time national player of the year as an instant contributor who will help a team’s rim protections and reboundings. Others question whether he’s quick enough to play at the NBA level and his feel for the game. 

As Givoney pointed out, Edey tried to show scouts that he could efficiently shoot 3-pointers at the NBA draft combine. Again, there is much debate over whether that can become a reliable shot for Edey at the NBA level. That Edey made more than 70% of his free throws in college is a good indication that he has shooting touch.

Adding Edey to Miami’s roster would give them something they don’t have – elite size at the center position. Theoretically, Edey could defend bigs like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, which would allow Bam Adebayo to defend other positions. Offensively, Edey could create relief points on the offensive glass and with the hook shot he used to average 25 points per game for Purdue last season.

Where Edey lacks is his passing feel and athleticism. He’ll struggle if forced to guard perimeter players in space and could get beat off the dribble by more athletic centers. 

Here’s where I land on Edey. He’s huge, and huge humans tend to have long NBA careers if they can stay healthy just because they are so hard to find. Edey might be able to play 10 years in the NBA, but I don’t know if he’ll ever become a high-end starter. A reliable backup center who can be helpful in the right matchups is a worthwhile player to have on the roster. If the Heat were choosing in the 20s, I’d probably be more open to it, but there could be prospects with a higher upside available at 15.

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