BOSTON — While at Purdue, Carsen Edwards had little choice but to be somewhat of a shot-chucker in order for the Boilermakers to be successful.
Now a Boston Celtic, that same shooter’s mentality is alive and well even with a significant upgrade in the talent surrounding him.
Celtics fans got their first glimpse of Edwards' high-impact brand of basketball in the team’s 107-106 preseason win over Charlotte on Sunday.
Edwards, acquired by Boston via trade in the second round of the NBA draft, came off the bench on Sunday to finish with 11 points, which included him making his first three shots — all three-pointers.
Although he’s just a rookie, Edwards has proven to his teammates and coaching staff that his greatest strength coming into the NBA — shooting the basketball — was indeed a transferable skill at the next level.
The Celtics keep track of how players shoot during various drills in practice.
Edwards has been among those to stand out for all the right reasons.
“He’s been making shots the last five days,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who then gave the question another second of thought and added, “he’s been making shots forever.”
With most folks at the TD Garden who saw Sunday’s game left enamored with Edwards shot-making (that is, when they weren’t begging Stevens to put Tacko Fall into the game), Stevens was even more pleased with what he saw out of Edwards as a defender.
“I thought his ball pressure was really good, too,” Stevens said. “He got some loose balls, stuck his nose in there. He was good today.”
Edwards, whose 24.3 points per game last year at Purdue ranked seventh in the nation, knows he has to be able to be more than just a hired gun if he is to have the kind of sustained NBA career that he’s searching for.
“I just want to prepare myself and be there, be solid, do the right things and help my team win even if it’s a preseason game,” the 6-foot-1 guard told NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely. “I didn’t have an ideal way I wanted to play. I just wanted to come in and play hard.”
And in doing so, he could potentially play his way into a meaningful role for the Celtics for reasons beyond his ability to shoot the ball.
It’s only a small sample size, obviously.
But the balancing act that Edwards must strike between staying aggressive while playing with a better group of talent around him, will be worth monitoring as the season progresses.
“Just try to make the best decision as possible,” Edwards said. “That’s the one thing; just making the best decision for the team and keep working on my decision-making.”
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