Could Orlando Magic sign two-time Player of the Year Zach Edey?

ORLANDO — In the NBA Draft, the tension between betting on the potential of a teenager or the established skills of a 20-year-old often sets major franchises apart from one another, with constant turnover. It will be no different for the Orlando Magic when they land the No. 18 overall pick on the board.

While the Magic could go all out on a player who hasn't yet reached his full potential, there are advantages to selecting an established college star. Consider Jaime Jaquez Jr., who was a four-year college starter and gave the Miami Heat 28 minutes and 12 points per game as a rookie.

That brings us to 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey of the Purdue Boilermakers, who could be available when the Magic make their first-round pick.

Edey has a slew of accolades in his four-year college career. Those accolades include two-time Naismith Award winner, two-time All-American, two-time John Wooden Award winner, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and two-time AP Player of the Year. In his final two seasons at Purdue, he averaged at least 22 points with 12 rebounds and two blocks.

On Purdue's path to the 2024 NCAA championship game, Edey averaged 29.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 1.83 blocks per game in the tournament.

But while Edey's performance is undisputed, opinions vary on his NBA potential and possible draft picks. Edey is ranked No. 16 on ESPN's draft list and No. 17 by the Ringer, while he is ranked No. 27 by CBS Sports and No. 29 by Yahoo Sports. Edey's selections in mock drafts range from a late lottery pick to No. 30 by the Boston Celtics.

Edey's athletic performance at the NBA Draft Combine could be a cause for concern. Among participating centers, Edey only finished in the top six in lane agility and shuttle run. In a league that values ​​players who can spread the court and shoot, Orlando may have to choose between Edey's performance or another center who better fits the pace and space of the NBA game.

With center Goga Bitadze becoming a free agent in the offseason, Orlando could have a need at that position. Orlando ranked 25th in rebounds and 25th in contested rebounds.

The first round of the NBA Draft is on June 26th at 8:00 p.m. Round 2 begins on June 27th at 4:00 p.m.

Anna Harden

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