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Utah Jazz Draft Prospects: Edey, Kolek, Ighodaro

Jun 20, 2024, 5:59 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Jazz own three of the top 32 selections in the 2024 draft providing several opportunities to add valuable pieces to their already young core.

Here’s a look at how Purdue’s Zach Edey, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, or Oso Ighodaro would fit with the Jazz if they land in Utah later this month.

Related: Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft Prospects

Late First-Round Utah Jazz Draft Prospects:

Zach Edey – C – Purdue

Stats: 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists: .623/.500/.711

Strengths: One of the most prolific players in recent college memory, Zach Edey used his massive 7-foot-5, 300-pound frame to abuse smaller players during his junior and season seasons at Purdue.

Unlike most giants in NBA history, Edey moves well both running the floor and impacting several actions in the half court setting screens, rolling to the hoop, catching the ball in the post, passing out to shooters, and crashing the offensive glass.

Edey creates a ton of space for his teammates with his bruising screens and well-timed rolls to the rim where he forces a ton of switches for opposing defenses.

The 22-year-old has excellent hands as both a rebounder and an entry threat for passes near the hoop. Edey has an old-school low-post game where he can catch the ball with his back to the basket and turn over his left shoulder for push shots, hook shots, or high-efficiency dunks.

The Canadian center is a strong rim protector when standing directly below the hoop, and is more comfortable defending away from the hoop than most players his size.

Unlike some of the bigger players in NBA history who played basketball solely due to their height, Edey seems to have a true love for the game, and the work ethic and desire to get better.

Weaknesses: Fit will be the most pressing issue for Edey when gets to the NBA and no franchise will rework its offensive system to maximize his skill set.

Much of Edey’s scoring in college came from the free-throw line where he was very efficient shooting over 71 percent from the stripe, but likely won’t generate that same number of foul shots against better competition.

Despite his better-than-advertised mobility, Edey does very little on the move on either end. Purdue’s ball handlers almost always waited for the center to find a stationary position to catch the ball, and he struggled to defend in space.

Though Edey is a solid passer, if he can’t catch the ball on the move, his effectiveness in both the pick and roll, and the short roll game will diminish significantly. Better spacing in the NBA might help this, but it wasn’t a readily apparent skill in college.

While Edey averaged a healthy 2.2 blocks per game, he struggles to rotate quickly near the hoop on secondary actions, and was vulnerable when defending against scorers in the close-mid range.

Fit With Jazz: Due to his size, screen setting ability, and touch around the rim, Edey is a relatively safe bet to stick in the NBA and if he continues to improve at the rate he did in college, he could one day be a starting center.

However, there’s a reasonable chance Edey is a full-time backup throughout his NBA career. If that’s the case, he neither fills a need for the Jazz nor is a great investment for a first-round draft pick, even in the late 20s.

Draft Range: First round, picks 15-25.

Tyler Kolek – G – Marquette

Stats: 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.7 assists: .496/.388/.851

Strengths: A true floor general, Kolek was one of the most efficient passers and scorers in college basketball last season shooting well from the floor, and owning an assist-to-turnover ratio north of 2:1.

Kolek is comfortable in most game situations either running the floor or operating in the half-court, and has a knack for showing up in the biggest moments of the biggest games.

The left-handed guard is aggressive when attacking the paint both as a scorer and passer, finding teammates for open threes, or using creative finishes near the hoop to get his shot off.

Kolek’s high basketball IQ benefits him on the defensive end where he’s rarely out of position, and doesn’t take plays off.

Weaknesses: At 23-year-old, measuring in at just under 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-3 wingspan and poor athletic numbers, Kolek’s size will always work against him in the NBA.

Though he gets by on motor and IQ defensively, he’ll be a target for opposing offenses whenever he’s on the floor.

Despite his efficient three-point shooting, Kolek didn’t attempt threes at an enormously high rate, and will have to be a more aggressive shooter at the next level to punish opposing defenses.

While Kolek has clear toughness on the court, he didn’t generate many free throw attempts in college.

Fit With Jazz: The Jazz would benefit in the draft from Kolek’s ability to play right away, basketball IQ, and three-point shooting.

While his size would likely prevent him from being a full-time starter at any point in his career, his steady shooting and playmaking should allow him to stick in the NBA well beyond his rookie contract.

Draft Range: First round, picks 15-25.

Oso Ighodaro – F/C – Marquette 

Stats: 13.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists: .496/.388/.851

Strengths: At nearly 6-foot-11, Oso Ighodaro has an excellent feel for the game for a player with his height making advanced reads both offensively and defensively.

Ighodaro is a very skilled passer finding teammates for easy baskets in the half-court, and using his athleticism to protect the rim and defend in space.

The forward averaged 1.1 steals per game at Marquette, and used his nearly 40-inch vertical to block 1.3 shots, despite rarely being the biggest player on the floor.

Ighodaro is a dangerous lob threat thanks to his impressive bounce, and has an effective floater out to 15 feet that he uses to combat the size difference between him and other bigs on the floor.

Weaknesses: Despite his tall frame and excellent athletic numbers, Ighodaro plays much smaller than the measuring tape would suggest.

He’s not a particularly effective rebounder, and will get bulled by bigger offensive players in the NBA.

Despite playing smaller than his actual size, his offense is very reliant on playing near the rim and he’s a total non-shooter beyond the midrange.

There simply aren’t many examples of players with Ighodaro’s skillset thriving in the NBA, and his limited shooting game will likely earn him the reputation as a tweener.

Draft Range: Second round, picks 31-50.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Utah Jazz Draft Prospects: Edey, Kolek, Ighodaro