Anthony Edwards has ridiculous Youtube highlight reels (exhibit A, exhibit B). It's easy to watch 30 seconds of him and fall in love, and why shouldn't you? Physically he's elite, with a chiseled 6'5" frame, a 7'0" wingspan, and the ability to seamlessly transition from smooth moves to explosive finishes. His hammers home dunks, he hits threes off the bounce, and he put up huge counting numbers as a freshman in a major conference.
A player that fits that description sounds like someone who's poised to be this generation's Vince Carter. Our model agrees about Edwards' tantalizing potential, but also surfaces some of the reasons as to why he's not considered the surefire #1 pick in this year's draft:
- Our model projects great things for Edwards as a scorer, grading him as a 97/100. He got to the line often (5.8 attempts per 36), and made a solid 77% of his attempts. This put him in the 81st percentile of wings in our database for free throws made per 36. His ability to get to the rim and draw fouls is an excellent indicator that he'll be a prolific NBA scorer as well
- Our model also projects that he'll be a very good shooter from deep as a pro, grading him at a 87/100. This was a bit surprising given his poor 29% accuracy from three, but the model viewed the volume that he took (8.3 per 36) and made (2.5 per 36) as indicators that there may be more to the story than him simply being a bad shooter. This lines up with Edwards' tape as well. He has a beautiful stroke and can look awfully like Bradley Beal 2.0 on the right play. His poor percentage is likely rooted in the high degree of difficulty of many of his attempts. He made some incredibly impressive threes off the bounce this year.
- He's a solid playmaker. He was in the 72nd percentile for wings with 3.1 assists per 36
- Edwards is a high volume, low efficiency scorer. He posted an abysmal 53% true shooting percentage (14th percentile for wings). Much of this is due to the aforementioned 29% shooting on 8.3 attempts from three per 36. Was his challenging shot selection cause by a weak supporting cast at Georgia? Or is it just his style of play?
- Despite a decent defensive grade in our model of 51/100 and his physical gifts, Edwards was a poor team defender. He posted a 0.8 Defensive BPM number, good for only the 27th percentile for wings. He showed flashes of playing excellent one on one defense, but his effort and focus wax and wane.
- He didn't lead his team to a winning record. Georgia was 16-16 in his lone season there as the star of the show.
Edwards has every characteristic you could ask for in an elite prospect: explosive athleticism, good size, confidence, charisma, a modern scoring profile, and multi-positional defensive potential. Despite that, he's one of the most volatile prospects in this year's draft due to his bad habits. If he can improve his shot selection and his defensive focus, he could easily become a bigger Donovan Mitchell. If he doesn't, he could just as easily become a Dion Waiters-esque meme factory for NBA Twitter. My gut tells me that while skills can improve, mindset and effort are more set, and Edwards is destined to be a good stats, bad team guy with awesome highlight videos.
- Our Comp: Jason Richardson
- Suggested Draft Range: Top 10
- Immediate Impact: Low (inefficient scorer + poor defensive awareness = major net negative)
- Long Term Potential: High (25 PPG, All-Star potential)