The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2020 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Anthony Edwards
2019/20 stats: 32 G, 19.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.6 bpg, 40.2 FG% (6.3/15.8), 29.4 3PT% (2.3/7.7), 77.2 FT%
Player comparison: Victor Oladipo, Donovan Mitchell
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 2nd, Sports Illustrated 1st, Ringer 3rd, NBADraft.net 1st, Bleacher Report 1st
5 things to know:
*Many evaluators regard Edwards as the best "NBA ready" prospect of the class and could contribute immediately to an NBA roster. There's no chance he's slipping; he's going in the top three. Edwards is aggressive every time he has the ball in his hands, always looking to attack the rim. But, despite his alpha-dog mentality does not have to rely on the ball being in his hands to be successful. He has the body type to crash the boards and is an elite defender. Any NBA roster could welcome him with open arms and if he becomes a more consistent shooter, he would be a dominant force in the league.
*An elite prospect coming from Georgia seems a little off the radar, but he didn't want to go to the Bulldogs. He just wanted to be coached by Tom Crean. Two of Edwards' favorite players - that both offer a similar skillset - Dwayne Wade and Victor Oladipo were coached by Crean at different stops (Marquette and Indiana). Both were two of the best No. 2 guards in the NBA of the past two decades. Edwards going to Georgia made him the highest ever recruit to become a Bulldog.
*Basketball isn't the only sport that Edwards has wreaked defenses. Edwards was a beast tailback in Pop Warner football during his elementary school years. Fitting, his position on the hardwood is similar to diving through holes. Edwards also played quarterback and was a cornerback on defense but switched to basketball because "it looked more fun."
*Whichever team drafts him better have the No. 5 jersey available. Since high school, Edwards has worn that number to honor his late mother and grandmother who both died on the fifth day of the month.
*Edwards will be one of the few recruits that will be 18 by the originally scheduled draft date in June. In 2018, Edwards reclassified from the 2020 high school class to 2019 after he saw his development drastically improve. While it's not noted as a reason for reclassification, the 2021 NBA Draft is projected to be a much deeper class than this year's.
Fit with Wizards: As a guard that could instantly be thrust into an NBA rotation, the Washington Wizards would not necessarily be the best fit for Edwards. He would still be behind John Wall and Bradley Beal in the lineup and likely only see the court with that duo in a small lineup. However, if the ping-pong balls bounce the way of Washington or somehow he inexplicably falls to the Wizards, they have to take him.
Of the entire class, is he the best prospect. Not only does he have a high floor, but his upside could have him as a potential franchise player further down the road.
Defensively, he would be a nice addition to their perimeter coverage and would be another big transition threat. Edwards' high motor and physique make him essentially a brick wall for guards to find an opening.
Scott Brooks' up-tempo offense fits with Edwards' game. And the most enticing element is that Edwards is fine being off the ball. That's exactly what Washington would need with Wall, Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura needing their offensive touches. Edwards would keep defenders honest and draw plenty of attention on every drive in the post. Positionally, he rebounds well and could fill in some gaps on the boards, but he wouldn't address the full team issue.
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