It's not too often a second-round pick lands a shoe deal less than a month into his NBA career. But Edwards has earned the recognition since the Celtics took him No. 33 overall out of Purdue, averaging a team-best 19.4 points per game at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Edwards apparently has gained the respect of his peers, as well; No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant and first-rounder Jordan Poole were among several NBA rookies to show the 21-year-old love in the Instagram comment section.
The new deal is a good fit for Edwards, who grew up watching Tracy McGrady in his native Houston and actually got to meet the Basketball Hall of Famer during a recent Adidas photo shoot.
"Being able to meet Tracy McGrady is absolutely insane to me," Edwards told ESPN.com. "Them actually wanting my opinion on new things that they're looking to drop, asking me would I wear it or what I would change, that's been really cool."
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NBA legend and six-time champion Scottie Pippen said earlier this week on ESPN's "The Jump" that Celtics star Jayson Tatum already is capable of being the best player on a championship-caliber team. Tatum is in the midst of a breakout year, and he's leading the team in scoring at 23.6 points per game. The 22-year-old forward is making a tremendous impact on defense, too, which helps illustrate the exciting two-way skill set he's consistently built on since entering the league in 2017-18.
What do our experts think of Pippen's claim? NBC Sports Boston's Celtics insiders A. Sherrod Blakely and Chris Forsberg, along with Kyle Draper, discussed this topic on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast.
"I think he will be. I don't think he's that dude right now. Not right now," Blakely said. "I just think there are too many obstacles in his way that I think will keep him from being that guy right now.
"Let's see, some guy named LeBron James and Anthony Davis. There's this guy in MIlwaukee who I hear is pretty good. There's a couple guys in Philadelpia who -- they could make things a little complicated as well," Blakely said. "Tatum is going to be that guy. I'm not seeing he won't be that guy. I think he will. I just don't think he's that guy right now."
"The last time I saw Jayson Tatum, he was that guy," Forsberg said. "Look, is it fair to think he'll pick up on quite that level, I don't know. But I think a lot of people forgot Kemba Walker was hurt with the way Tatum played over the final two months. I think it is asking a lot of him to get back to that level -- I don't think he's going to average 30 points per game and shoot 50 percent from 3-point land. And yet I do think if the Celtics are going to go anywhere, it does rely on Jayson Tatum being the best player. Kemba has to be very good, but Tatum has to be your best guy, and bring his two-way impact if (the Celtics) are going to reach those lofty goals."
Tatum proved he could be the leading player on a very good team during his rookie season when he nearly led the Celtics to an upset win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals. He's a better player now than he was in 2018, but the East as a whole also is a lot stronger today.
It's probably a little too early to definitively say Tatum is already capable of being the best player on a championship contender, but if he plays anywhere close to the level we saw from him in February and early March, it wouldn't be surprising if the young star led Boston on a deep playoff run later this summer.
Smart told reporters Tuesday in a video conference call that he really knew Tatum was going to be something special during the Celtics' improbable run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2018.
"I would probably say the playoffs in his rookie year. Just the impact he had, just the confidence he played with, and the mindset that he played with, you could definitely see that this guy was going to be special," Smart said. "He was 20 or 21 at the time. It's tremendous to see his progression, aiming for the stars and shooting for the moon, literally, that's him. The things he's capable of on the offensive end. “I think (one thing that's) a little under-talked about is his defensive end. He’s 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot wingspan. He’s actually sitting down and guarding guys, let alone coming down on the offensive end and doing what he’s doing.”
"I just think that he's on the right track to becoming, like I said, if not the best, one of the best players to ever do this in this game."
It's not every day that a player receives this kind of praise, and while Tatum still has a very, very long way to go before he can be mentioned alongside the game's greatest players, it's easy to see why people are so excited about what lies ahead for him.
Tatum has shown fantastic improvement this season, highlighted by his first All-Star Game appearance and earning Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February. He leads the Celtics in scoring with 23.6 points per game, and he's also on pace to set career highs in rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, blocks per game and more.
If the Celtics are going to make a deep run and potentially reach the 2020 NBA Finals -- and some experts think they're capable of winning the East -- Tatum will need to take his game to an even higher level on the league's brightest stage. Based on what we've seen so far from Tatum during the 2019-20 season, there are reasons to be confident he's capable of meeting that challenge.