Anthony Edwards is special. The 6-5, 225-pound Shooting Guard is labeled by many as the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Edwards ended his collegiate basketball career at Georgia this year, averaging 19.1 PPG with 5.2 RPG and 2.8 APG. Edwards led Georgia to a 16-16 record overall with a 5-13 conference record against fierce SEC competition. Edwards was a 2019-2020 ALL SEC 1st team as a FRESHMAN! Edwards was also an All-SEC Freshman and the 2019-2020 SEC Freshman of the Year. Sometimes, the numbers don’t quite describe a player as well as they should. Edwards was the heart and soul of this team and solidified himself as a can’t-miss Prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft. Edwards put his team on his back night in and night out throughout the Season. Here is how I graded Anthony Edward’s biggest skills entering the NBA Draft.
Much like LaMelo Ball, Edward’s passing skills highlight both the good and the bad of his game. Edwards has been able to make jaw-dropping passes at his time at Georgia, but has also been very inefficient at times. While Edwards averages 2.8 APG, he also averages 2.7 TPG (Turnovers per game). Of course, Turnovers could be anywhere from Edwards losing the ball on the dribble or committing a Backcourt Violation. Per 100 Possessions, Edwards commits 4.6 TPG, the most on the team. Edwards gets the ball consistently in big-time Situations, but that doesn't excuse his passing mistakes. If Edwards is drafted onto an NBA team where he doesn't have to do it all like he did in College, Edwards will improve as a passing Guard. Edwards will also play more time off-ball in the NBA, which will limit the opportunities of him making a bad pass.
Edwards handles are deadly, whether it’s with his signature crossover, or his stutter-step before he splashes a 3-pointer. The main reason why Edwards averaged 19.1 PPG is because of the amount of space he creates before taking a shot. Edwards was able to shake off defenders on the wing or create space for other players to score. Edwards dribbling skills are very similar to Kyrie Irving’s. Both players aren’t automatic shooters, but both give themselves help with creating space between them and the defender before they take a shot.
We can look at Edward’s Shooting Stats from 2020 and identify him as a great 2-and 3-Point Shooter, but we will dig in a little bit deeper. Edwards hit 50.4% of 2-Point shots and hit 29.4% of 3-Point shots this Season. Making 29.4% of your 3-Point attempts is concerning, but we need to remember 2 things. First off, Edwards doesn't receive too much help when on offense. According to Pro Basketball Reference, Edward’s usage rate on offense is a staggering 30.4%, which ranks 2nd in the SEC. Therefore, Edwards was constantly having to do it all on the offensive side of the ball. Secondly, Edwards would still take the shots instead of passing the ball to his teammates. Edwards led the SEC with 505 Field Goal Attempts, with 260 of those being 2-Pointers (245 3-Pointers) Edwards produced the 4th most Points per Game with 17.9. Edwards was all-alone offensively, but still managed to put up solid scoring numbers in his lone season of College.
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Edwards holds his own on the defensive end and has lots of potential to be a lock-down defender in the NBA. As Edwards gains experience, he should begin to stand out more on that end of the floor. He's put on at least 30 pounds from his HS small forward position. Edwards put up solid defensive numbers, posting 43 total steals, along with averaging 1.3 SPG. Edward’s rebounding skills as a Shooting Guard has helped his presence on defense, as Edwards totaled the 10th most defensive rebounds this season with 143. Defensive rebounding for a Guard is unheard of in today’s NBA, which could offer valuable versatility for Edward’s new team.
Physical Profile: A
Edward’s size, strength, and speed offer plenty of optimism for his future in the NBA. Being 6-5 has it’s advantages, as we saw with Edward’s rebounding ability in College. Edwards is a true power guard who plays like a bigger version of Victor Oladipo. He's simply too much for one defender to handle and can get his shot at will. His explosive power and effortless elevation are a thing of beauty. And when he dunks the ball, it looks like he could rip the rim off the backboard. We haven't seen a power guard like this in a while.