Carsen Edwards was on the short list of the best players in all of college basketball the last two years. A two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, he was the face of the Purdue program during his sophomore and junior seasons.
Edwards averaged 24.3 points this past season as a junior and cemented his status as a legit NBA prospect during Purdue’s run to the Elite Eight in March. He averaged just under 35 points in the Boilermakers’ four NCAA Tournament games - including 42-point performances against Villanova and Virginia, two programs that have combined to win three of the last four national championships.
Edwards turned 21 in March and enters the NBA with three years of experience at the highest level of college basketball. He projects as a late first-round to early second-round selection. His elite scoring ability combined with his impressive work ethic should enable him to carve out a successful 10-12 year NBA career.
Jay Wright came up with a fitting description of Edwards before Villanova’s NCAA Tournament game against Purdue - a thick Allen Iverson.
At just under 200 pounds, Edwards is sturdier than the former Sixers superstar. That’s not to say Edwards will follow the same career path in the NBA as Iverson, but the skill sets are similar.
Edwards can score the ball. That’s his biggest asset as he makes the transition to the professional level. He can score with the ball in his hands and he can score playing off the ball. Like Iverson throughout his career, Edwards has been relied upon heavily to carry his team on the offensive end of the floor.
Edwards attempted nearly 20 shots per game as a junior at Purdue. He connected on 39.4 percent of his field goal attempts, including 35.5 percent from three-point range. His efficiency numbers were down from his sophomore season, when he was a 40.6 percent three-point shooter.
In addition to being an extremely talented offensive player, Edwards is a fierce competitor who puts forth maximum effort on the defensive end. His foot speed, lateral quickness and 6-6 wingspan should enable him to become a more than adequate perimeter defender.
Decision making stands out here. Edwards had more turnovers than assists last season at Purdue. He has the tendency to try to do too much offensively, something he will have to reign in at the NBA level.
He measured at just over 6-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine, so he’ll be undersized for a guard. It also remains to be seen how he transitions from being “the man” in college to playing a complementary role in the pros. Can he be effective with a significantly lower usage rate?
Edwards would be a tremendous fit with the Sixers. He’s a dynamic scoring guard capable of creating his own opportunities. He shoots effectively off the dribble. These are traits that the Sixers’ offense lacked last season.
He would be a terrific spark off the bench and could also blend in nicely with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the rest of the first unit. He has a winning mentality, the type of guy you want in your locker room.
Edwards should be available when the Sixers make the 24th pick in the first round. There’s a slim chance he could still be on the board early in the second round. He impressed the Sixers at his pre-draft workout last week, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if they target him on draft night.
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