Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman calls Zach Edey’s pick a ‘special fit’ for Memphis


After many years of expectation and discussion over Zach Edey’s value as a potential NBA player, the big man has finally made it to the big stage as the No. 9 overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft. The college star will be taking his seven-foot-four frame to Memphis this year to begin his career as a basketball professional. 

The truth is, the former Purdue athlete has more than enough reasons that back him up as a future star of the league. He recently became the first player in over four decades to earn The Associated Press’ mens’ college basketball player of the year award in consecutive seasons. His new general manager trusts this was their best outcome.

“Zach Edey is a particularly special fit [for the franchise],” said Grizzlies’ Zach Kleiman once the first round was over. “In getting to know him, we are talking about someone whose competitiveness is through the roof, care factor is through the roof. No ego, just wants to win.”

Now we can only wait to see how his freakishly big size will translate to the NBA courts, as he will be one of the tallest players in the league this coming season. Last year, Houston’s Boban Marjanovic, Phoenix’s Bol Bol and San Antonio’s Victor Wembanyama were all listed at 7-foot-3 or taller.

Zach has enjoyed steady growth throughout his college years, averaging 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds as a junior, and then 25.2 points and 12.2 rebounds during his senior season which took the Boilermakers all the way to the NCAA title game against Connecticut. “This is a dream come true,” he said in a statement. “Memphis has such a great core, and I am really excited to get down there and work.”

As mentioned before, Edey is only one of six players who’ve earned the AP player of the year accolade on more than one occasion. “We could not be more thrilled to land him in this draft,” Kleiman insisted. “Let’s just say, this is exactly what we were hoping would happen.”

Memphis are coming off a poor campaign (27-55) which was marred by injuries. The roster saw 33 different players wear the Grizzlies uniform throughout the season, as key athletes such as Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart and Brandon Clarke all suffered health issues.

The Grizzles general manager is convinced that there are many misconceptions about Edey’s defense and versatility

When Zach Kleiman was initially asked if the club was focused on Donovan Clingan, who was taken that night as the 7th overall pick by Portland, he answered: “I haven’t seen that reported anywhere.” But as the media continued to press on the matter, he then pushed away any doubts: “I’m saying this is how we wanted the draft to play out.”

Controversial takes have always surrounded Edey’s career, as many experts suggested he didn’t have the body type or skills to thrive in the NBA. The Memphis general manager assured that all these are misconceptions about the rising star.

Contrary to what many say, Kleiman actually believes Zach is a strong defender and can provide a lot of versatility on the floor. “We have options now,” he explained. “… In our frontcourt now, there’s a lot of different ways we can play.”

He then shared: “We now have — from a size standpoint, from a physicality standpoint — that’s something that other teams are going to have to grapple with. We want to have looks that we can throw out there that give us the advantage. Let them figure out how to deal with us.”