Anthony Edwards is the worst kind of NBA prospect. At times he looks like a lock future all-star while at others, he disappears completely on the floor.
Edwards’ gifts are obvious the moment you turn on one of his games. At 6’5, he has a thick body built for explosive, flying attempts at the rim. He’s one of those guys with the type of athleticism that stands apart in a league of athletic outliers.
His negatives unfortunately are just as glaring.
He has serious Andrew Wiggins syndrome where you’ll completely forget he’s on the floor regularly which is obviously a massive problem. Similarly, his shot selection is abysmal and is a big reason why he’s never shot over 50% at any level.
For a player with his athletic gifts, there’s little reason he shouldn’t be a more impactful scorer and yet, here we are. What’s made worse by this concerning lack of efficiency is it isn’t like he can’t shoot at all like a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or something.
In fact, his technique actually shows a great deal of potential for growth. He also has a unique knack for creating jump shots using impressive footwork that’s unusual at this point in his career.
Much like LaMelo Ball, his greatest issue outside of his disappearing acts is his disregard for shot selection. Edwards has the potential to be a James Harden type scorer and knows it and shoots accordingly. What he has yet to discover somehow, is he isn’t there yet and so his shooting percentages are a glaring concern for any team that drafts him.
Edwards will have moments where he looks like Donovan Mitchell, combining craftiness and explosion to get to the rim. He’ll also have times where he looks like peak Indiana Pacer Victor Oladpio, creating jump-shots for himself.
The best example of the merging of these two archetypes was in Maui against Michigan State.
Edwards poured in 33 second-half points and left my jaw-dropped for most of it. It was the type of performance where an executive would show it to his owner as the reason why they were selecting him and the owner would respond by instantly calling the pick into Adam Silver.
He dominated every offensive aspect of the game in that half. In the fast break, his athleticism shone as did his playmaking in the open floor. While in the half-court, his explosiveness led to open jump shots from great footwork and multiple either layups or free throws.
Sadly, as great as this game was (and oh my god was it ever great), in the first half you forgot he was even playing in the game. Against a top-five team in the country, he disappeared for an entire half and that’s one of those things that feels unteachable.
As truly great a person as this kid is (look up the story of he and his grandmother, you won’t regret it), it’s impossible to deny the direct similarities he has to guys who have burned us in the past.
Whether it be Wiggin’s adept ability to hide in plain sight or Dion Waiter’s fearlessness when he needs someone to hold him back, Edwards has as great concerns as anyone in the draft. What teams will have to decide is if his tantalizing all-star level two-guard talent is enough to warrant the risk of being burned by this type of player again.
This is why he’s the worst kind of prospect. If you select him and he turns into Wiggins then everyone will say it was obvious and you should’ve known but, if you pass on him and he becomes Mitchell, ask the Piston’s how that is going for them.
The reality is in the 2020 Draft, there’s no perfect guy. As great as the risk may be, elite athletes with the type of scoring feel Edward’s shows just don’t come along often.
A selection of him is betting on your organization’s infrastructure being able to surround him with the help he’s never had before in his career. Here’s the thing, it may not work.
For me though, the NBA Draft is more about swings than misses and I’d rather strike out on a potential home run like Edwards in the top five of the draft then hit a double and risk him being great somewhere else.
So is the risk with the worst kind of NBA prospect. Isn’t the draft fun?
- High-level modern NBA scoring guard (best case)
- Consistent scoring threat who has a long career but underachieves due to motor (worst case)
- Donovan Mitchell- High character three-level scoring guard with elite athleticism and burst
- Victor Oladipo- Crafty three-level scorer who uses athleticism and smarts to score the ball efficiently
- Andrew Wiggins- All the talent in the world but lacks a consistent motor and ability to get shot efficiently
- Elite size and athleticism, perfectly built for modern NBA
- Impressive footwork for a young player
- An elite fast-break player with the ability to score and pass at a highlight real level
- Shows great touch and potential for major growth as shooter and finisher at rim
- Great at finding a way to get to the rim
- Shot selection is brutal, thinks he’s James Harden but is not close yet
- Motor disappears for exceptionally long stretches no matter level of competition
- Poor technique defensively despite elite athletic upside at that end
- Playmaking leaves much to be desired, especially in pick and roll. Finding the ability to create for others is an integral skill he must develop to maximize talents
- Gets loose with the ball regularly