Utah Jazz Mailbag: Zach Edey Or Walker Kessler?

Jun 25, 2024, 3:37 PM | Updated: 3:38 pm

Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers...

Zach Edey #15 of the Purdue Boilermakers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

Each week we will send out a prompt on social media asking for the mailbag questions you have about the Jazz.

Then, we’ll respond to as many Jazz questions as we can in that week’s mailbag.

Jazz Mailbag: Edey Vs. Kessler

Question: Logic behind trading Walker Kessler to draft Zach Edey?

Answer: It’s been difficult not to tie Zach Edey to the Jazz in this year’s draft process as he’s consistently hovered around where the team owns selections in many mock drafts, and the fact that Danny Ainge openly praised the Purdue center in his end-of-season remarks.

With that said, I think it’s worth noting that Edey is a significantly different type of player than Kessler, and will require teams to adjust how they play to accommodate his unique strengths.

Edey is a much better offensive player than he is a defensive player which is the inverse of Kessler.

Edey is a true bruiser who doesn’t shy away from contact, has excellent touch near the rim, sets devastating screens, and is a better passer than advertised. Better yet, he shot 71 percent from the free-throw line on a staggering 11 attempts per game.

Defensively, however, Edey is slow on rotations, but isn’t as glued to the rim as many might think. And, despite his absurd 7-foot-5 height, he’s only a so-so shot blocker, and teams aren’t afraid to shoot near him in the paint.

My biggest question with Edey is how well can he execute his game while moving. So much of Purdue’s game plan revolved around Edey planting himself in the post, catching the ball at a standstill, and then making moves from there.

Defensively, he parked himself right under the hoop to block shots and grab rebounds, but wasn’t all that adept at erasing space around him.

If he can learn to catch the ball more easily moving towards the rim, and can rotate a little more quickly to defend the paint, I think he can be a significant contributor in the NBA.

If he can’t do those things, he may struggle to earn meaningful minutes.

What that said, I really like Edey’s desire to win. He seems to truly love basketball, and I like that attribute when combined with someone who is over seven feet tall.

Regarding Kessler, his sophomore season was oddly underwhelming, and yet, he was still one of the league’s best rim protectors.

And, at just 22 years old, there’s still plenty of time for his game to grow.

With all that said, I think Edey is most likely going to be a backup center in the NBA, and with Kyle Filipowski, Kel’el Ware, Yves Missi, and Adem Bona all having similar upside in this year’s draft, I would probably only select Edey if he was available with the 29th or 32nd picks.

Question: Are we going to try and keep Kris Dunn?

Answer: Kris Dunn’s name will be a popular one as free agency opens on July 1, as a veteran guard who can play real rotation minutes during the regular season.

I have long thought that teams like the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks should have Dunn on the radar, and recent reports have indicated that Phoenix could be interested in his services.

However, most contenders who need Dunn’s services will be capped out, and can only offer the guard the NBA veteran minimum, while the Jazz have loads of cap space and can out-bid any other team for his services.

With Keyonte George still learning the ropes as a lead guard, and the team’s potential to draft another point guard with the tenth pick (Nikola Topic, Rob Dillingham, Devin Carter), I would try to sign Dunn for another season to a $5-7 million one year contract.

That would give the Jazz the option to utilize the veteran for at least one more season while the young players develop, allow him to serve as a mentor within the locker room, and also function as a trade asset for contenders looking to add a defensive-minded guard before the February deadline.

Want to ask questions in next week’s Jazz mailbag? Give us a follow at @kslsports.

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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 Mailbag: Zach Edey Or Walker Kessler?