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Zach Edey quiets naysayers with strong debut at NBA Summer League

Zach Edey Memphis Grizzlies NBA Summer League
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Jul 09, 2024

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Jul 09, 2024

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The former Purdue star had 14 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks for the Memphis Grizzlies against Walker Kessler and the Utah Jazz on Monday.

Zach Edey made his NBA Summer League debut with the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, with plenty of fanfare. Folks who had reservations about his ability to be an impactful player at the next level – due to his limited mobility and lack of outside shooting – were watching to see how his game would translate, while fans of the two-time college basketball National Player of the Year from Purdue were hoping to see him continue to do what he does best.

The end result was a highly impactful performance from the No. 9 overall pick, who finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds, four blocked shots, and a tip-in at the buzzer to send the game into overtime – eventually won by the Utah Jazz.

Locked On Grizzlies host DaMichael Cole thinks Edey proved he’s more than capable of fitting in at the NBA level, noting his competition level on Monday was better than you typically see in Summer League.

“Zach Edey had something to prove,” Cole said. “Across from him was Walker Kessler, starting center [for the] Utah Jazz. He’s entering his third NBA season, 2.4 blocks per game over the last two seasons, second in the league. Edey had more points than him, more rebounds than him…we saw everything we needed to see.”

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Edey showed he can be impactful on both ends of the floor, and contrary to popular belief he doesn’t need a ton of touches on the block to be effective. The 7’4 big man set screens, distributed the ball well, crashed the offensive glass, and generally looked like an NBA ready big – without constantly posting up and clogging up the paint.

Defensively Edey played drop coverage and had moments of dominance, blocking and altering shots at a high level. He’s still likely going to struggle against certain matchups in pick and roll defense, but Memphis can rotate him, Jaren Jackson Jr, and Brandon Clarke effectively in the frontcourt to limit the damage.

In a draft class considered weak, Edey stood out as a top ten pick. But the early returns – and they are still very early – are promising for the Purdue star in Memphis.

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