The Miami Heat made a smart move in last year’s NBA draft by selecting UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr., a four-year college veteran with immediate plug-and-play potential, using a mid-first-round pick. Jaquez proved his worth by playing 2,113 minutes, the second-most on the team. This year, ESPN’s latest mock draft suggests the Heat might follow a similar strategy, projecting them to pick four-year Purdue star Zach Edey at No. 15 in next month’s draft.


Potential Miami Heat draft pick Zach Edey

However, Edey at the Heat’s No. 15 spot is somewhat unusual. Despite his impressive collegiate record, his limited offensive game raises doubts among NBA scouts about his suitability as a first-round pick. This skepticism is evident in other mock drafts: The Athletic projects him at No. 21, Bleacher Report at No. 23, The Ringer at No. 25, and CBS at No. 27.

However, Edey is a known commodity and the winner of the Naismith Player of the Year award, thus the draft is weak. That ought to help him distinguish himself from other win-now clubs with mid-to late-first-round picks, in a manner similar to how Jaquez did for the Heat the previous season.


Jaime Jaquez Jr. - Men's Basketball - UCLA

Miami Heat Taking Another 4-Year Collegian?

In discussing the potential acquisition of Edey by the Miami Heat, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony highlighted the potential challenge of integrating Edey alongside center Bam Adebayo due to their positional overlap. However, he emphasized that despite this potential issue, Edey’s qualities such as productivity, physical presence, intensity, and alignment with team culture would be warmly received by the Heat. Givony also noted Adebayo’s recent incorporation of a three-point shot and his defensive flexibility, suggesting that these attributes could complement another big man like Edey. Furthermore, Edey’s strengths in offensive rebounding and scoring in the paint were identified as valuable additions to the Heat’s roster, making him an appealing prospect for the team.

At 7 feet 4 inches, he averaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and shot 62.3% from the floor, demonstrating his evident ability to score in the paint and rebound. Edey has gained support from coaches and front offices and helped lead Purdue to the national championship game this year.

A scout from the Western Conference observed, “He does all the little things well.” “He sees the floor and handles double teams really well. He sets really good screens.” And he has fulfilled all of the requirements that were placed upon him there (at Purdue). He simply performed his job after coming off the bench and not having plays called for him. That will be significant in relation to the NBA.


Jaime Jaquez Jr. - Men's Basketball - UCLA

Zach Edey’s Lack of Athleticism an Issue

However, Edey is a plodder who lacks the agility to play on the court’s perimeter, and in today’s game, that is difficult to overcome.

“That represents the issue,” the scout informed Heavy Sports. “Everyone seems to like the kid and is aware of his abilities,” However, it is difficult to predict where he will improve and grow. It’s not the fault that big players like Mitchell Robinson, Jarrett Allen, and (Ivica) Zubac don’t shoot threes. The issue is with mobility.

“You must be able to move around the floor. You can’t weigh everything down and be an anchor during a rapid break. It takes more than just sprinting out and guarding 3-pointers to play defense. It is playing in space and repeatedly running across screens. It’s just too simple to dissect him. He is as tall as a skyscraper and as athletic as one, to parody an old joke.

Edey has a possibility to go in the first round, maybe even in the middle with the Miami Heat, due to his size, his college achievements, and the overall weakness of this draft. However, it seems unlikely that he will be as effective as Jaquez was in his first season.

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