Carsen Edwards

2019 NBA draft profile: Carsen Edwards' elite scoring ability a perfect fit for Sixers

2019 NBA draft profile: Carsen Edwards' elite scoring ability a perfect fit for Sixers

Position: Guard

Height: 6-0

Weight: 199

School: Purdue

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.

Strengths 

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.

Weaknesses

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? 

Fit

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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'Elite scorer' Carsen Edwards reminded of dominant performance vs. Villanova before pre-draft workout with Sixers

'Elite scorer' Carsen Edwards reminded of dominant performance vs. Villanova before pre-draft workout with Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — Carsen Edwards had a day to kill before his pre-draft workout Wednesday with the Sixers. The avid basketball fans of Philadelphia made sure one of his finest performances at Purdue, his 42-point game against Villanova this March in the NCAA Tournament, was fresh in his mind.

“I went into Chipotle and two people mentioned it to me,” he said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ It’s cool, though. It was a blessing to be able to play that way and be on that stage doing the things I did. And I’m just continuing to work to be the best player I can be.”

Edwards averaged 24.3 points per game as a junior and nearly 35 in the NCAA Tournament during Purdue’s run to the Elite Eight. His scoring credentials are such that his height, or lack thereof, doesn’t dull the excitement about his NBA prospects. Edwards measured in at 6-foot and a quarter inch at the NBA Draft Combine — with shoes on. From a physical standpoint, Edwards’ height is mitigated by his strong 200-pound frame, with his massive quads a feature that stand out in person, and his 6-foot-6 wingspan.

Senior vice president of personnel Marc Eversley called Edwards an "elite scorer" and emphasized that the Sixers see Edwards as more than his physical traits.

“His height is not as much of a deterrent in terms of potentially fitting with us.” Eversely said. “I wouldn’t get caught up on the height thing. He’s got a big heart, plays hard, competes. And again, he can really, really shoot the ball. I think that’s going to be kind of his pathway into the league.”

Edwards agreed with Eversley’s assessment when looking specifically at how he’d fit with the Sixers. He shot 35.5 percent from three-point range on 10.6 attempts per game last season, many of them with a very high degree of difficulty.

“I feel like I can fit well with just being off the ball. Being able to shoot. Like I said, getting back to defense, defending the opposing team’s guard  — which is easier said than done  — but just making an impact on that," Edwards said. "Running the floor, getting to the corner, being ready to shoot.”

While most of the focus naturally falls on Edwards’ scoring, he said after the workout that he wasn’t satisfied with his defensive play.

“Just in my opinion, I’m honest with myself and I feel I could’ve defended a little better, made shots tougher for people I was guarding,” he said. “But for the most part, I gave everything, I competed, and I appreciate them bringing me in and having this opportunity.”

After workouts with Indiana, Utah, Brooklyn and the Sixers, Edwards said he has several more to come before the draft, including with Milwaukee, Boston and Oklahoma City. All the teams he listed have selections between No. 22 and No. 30.

Local ties 

The other five participants in Wednesday’s workout were Jonathan Kasibabu from Fairfield, Quinndary Weatherspoon from Mississippi State, Charles Matthews from Michigan, CJ Massinburg from Buffalo and Eric Carter from Delaware. 

Carter, a native of Jackson, New Jersey, averaged 15.8 points and 9.7 rebounds as a redshirt senior for the Blue Hens. He said he could envision himself as an “energy guy” and stretch four with the Sixers. Although the 6-foot-9 Carter took only seven threes in his college career, his free-throw percentage and overall production improved each season at Delaware. If the Sixers believe he can keep growing, Carter might be a candidate to continue his career in Delaware, with the Blue Coats. 

As you might expect, Carter was a fan of the Sixers growing up … and the Knicks. 

“No, I’m not a bandwagoner,” he said. “I mean, I like both. A.I. was my favorite growing up, so I was always on the Sixers. It’s just exciting.”

Another local player will work out for the Sixers on Thursday in Temple’s Shizz Alston Jr., with Harry Froling, Donta Hall, Jaylen Hoard, Josh Perkins and Dylan Windler the other participants. Windler, who shot 42.9 percent from three on 7.1 attempts per game as a senior at Belmont, could interest the Sixers at No. 24, or with one of their two early second-round picks (33 and 34). 

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Sixers mailbag: Realistic backup centers, shift in draft philosophy and more

Sixers mailbag: Realistic backup centers, shift in draft philosophy and more

Hopefully you’re winding down this Memorial Day Weekend, but we still have another round of Sixers mailbag questions to get to while you sit back and relax.

The second part of our mailbag is about the backup center position, the team’s priorities in the draft and the strategy if Tobias Harris walks.

Let’s get right into your questions.

It was clear the backup center position was a glaring need this postseason. The Sixers had options, but none of them were good enough. If Brett Brown had better ones, perhaps the Sixers would be the team that’s a game away from the NBA Finals.

I imagine Elton Brand will give Brown more ammo at the five next season. The free-agent market isn’t littered with guys, but there are certainly players that would seem like an upgrade. Former Process Sixer Dewayne Dedmon will likely get paid to be a starter somewhere, but he’d be a nice fit here. Maybe DeAndre Jordan or Robin Lopez if their demand goes down. JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler are out there, but they seem like West Coast guys. Nerlens Noel … not sure we’re there yet.

More likely you’re looking at someone like Kyle O’Quinn. O’Quinn is tough, smart and moves better than any of the veteran bigs the Sixers had this season. It’s not a sexy signing, but it could be a practical one. I’d also expect Brand to target the position in the draft. Arkansas' Daniel Gafford, Georgia's Nic Claxton, Maryland's Bruno Fernando and Florida State's Mfiondu Kabengele are guys to watch at No. 24 and beyond.

These questions are similar enough so we’ll tackle them both with one response.

Brand said during his end-of-season press conference that the team could be looking for older players and that it would prioritize defense and shooting. There will be guys who fit that description at No. 24 and Edwards might be one of them. He can score in a variety of ways as he showed in the NCAA Tournament. So, too, could North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson. Tennessee's Admiral Schofield and Washington's Matisse Thybulle could also fit that bill along with any of the bigs mentioned above.

But that’s not to say the Sixers will pass on a player simply because of age. If a player like Kentucky’s Tyler Herro is around at 24, Brand would be wise to take a look. Herro can really shoot it and isn’t a stiff on defense.

I’m answering this question as if you’re thinking Jimmy Butler will be back — not a foregone conclusion — and the Sixers will be pushed into the luxury tax by signing Harris. There really is no one player you’d be looking for to replace Harris. With the money you’d have, it’d be difficult to target a star-caliber player. More likely you’re looking to improve your depth. Really, the same can be said if you lose Butler and retain Harris.

If you’re looking for a starting four, Rudy Gay would make some sense. Gay shot a career-high 40 percent from three and played defense for maybe the first time in his entire career. It could also allow you to sign a backup point guard like Corey Joseph or a veteran wing like Terrence Ross.

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