WHO IS ANTHONY EDWARDS (BASKETBALL PLAYER NOT THE ACTOR)?
Georgia Bulldogs starting shooting guard Anthony Edwards (basketball) has decided to jump to the NBA this year. He will be a top pick and could possibly even go number one overall, depending on who has the pick. This is sort of the rub, as we do not know what the draft lineup is as of now. Plus, a huge difference will happen this year compared to other drafts, both a big man and a smaller guard could fit anywhere in the lottery. The top big man is James Wiseman.
He fits literally everything a team could use and could slide in pretty much anywhere. Meanwhile, Anthony Edwards has the unique situation of being what many considered an elite college scorer, but that's it. There is nothing wrong with being an elite college scorer but there are some holes in his game that make him kind of an uncertain pick for teams.
First, he's mostly a mid-range to inside scorer. At Georgia, he shot nearly 30% from three-point territory. This is not exactly horrible but it proves he's not going to wow you or provide a major threat with his long-range shooting abilities. You'd want this to be better, especially coming out early, being known strictly for scoring and attempting over 7 three-pointers per game.
He also shot 77% from the charity stripe. This is acceptable but there is room to improve for a guy who will probably be attacking the inside a lot and will likely be fouled a ton as a result.
It seems that Edwards even realized that he needed to improve his game and felt one man could assist, Tom Crean. Of course, Crean is the Head Coach of the Georgia Bulldogs basketball team. He also happened to coach Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo in the past, who are Anthony's favorite players. He felt Crean could make him better and, to be honest. Coach Crean did his job.
HOW GOOD IS ANTHONY EDWARDS AT BASKETBALL?
For starters he definitely passes the eye test! This 6-foot 5 inch, 225lbs guard is an impressive athlete if nothing else. He is strong and can attack the basket with almost Dwyane Wade-like ferocity. This is a huge plus for any team looking to take him. In fact, Coach Crean helped Edwards become a better defender when he was not known for this as much in high school at Holy Spirit Prep.
This allowed him to average 1.3 steals per game as a Freshman for the Bulldogs this past year. Some have been getting slight Donovan Mitchell vibes from him. Yet the biggest difference between the two is that while Mitchell was a great offensive player coming out, he was a better defender. He spent two seasons with the University of Louisville, rather than one. When he came out, he had improved heavily as a defender and rebounder.
Edwards' decision to leave after one year makes many wonder if he is the complete package like Mitchell was. The weird part was that even Donovan with the same offensive skillset and position STILL went 13th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Eight guards went ahead of him, some who went on to be pretty good players while others....the jury is still out on.
Therefore, how can we say Edwards is any better or worth note? Unlike Mitchell, Edwards comes in with size and athleticism that is probably unmatched by any other player coming out. Edwards is big, strong, fast, and was able to get buckets in every single game he played. Keep in mind, this was done in the SEC where he faced teams like Kentucky but....he only averaged a 40.0% field goal percentage.
Overall, Edwards was clearly impressive his during his freshman year and for that, he stands out as a can't miss prospect to many.
He was even named SEC Freshman of the Year and named to the All-SEC Second-Team after the 2019-2020 season. Edwards was even a finalist for the Jerry West Award, given to the top collegiate shooting guard each year. Proving Edwards got it done in college.
IS ANTHONY EDWARDS NBA READY?
For the most part, we feel Anthony Edwards is certainly "NBA Ready." People feel that he is as tough as they come, which should not shock those who look into his history. He played football growing up and it seems guards with extensive football backgrounds seem to have an extra level of toughness that helps them in basketball. Allen Iverson was a top recruit in both football and basketball and is considered one of the toughest players ever.
However, LeBron James (who plays guard and forward) is built incredibly well for both sports and is known for his inner attack game. Many feel his time in football helped him develop the toughness to handle brutal beatings in the lane from defenders. He's also built perfectly for the style he plays, as is Anthony Edwards.
Edwards is a great athlete, which we already touched on. However, it is important to keep in mind that his 225lbs frame is not just over 200 pounds of fat. He's nearly all muscle with nothing going to waste on the guy. Plus, he might be 6'5 but he actually has a 6'8 wingspan, which will help him a lot at the next level.
He's also like this at just 18 years old. While he'll be 19 when he enters the league this upcoming season, he was able to get this frame on his own with some help from college trainers. Imagine when he has NBA trainers who are some of the most elite in the world. They could help him develop into a powerful guard more than he already is.
Obviously, Edwards has a lot that he needs to improve on. However, it's hard to find an athlete at this level in sports. Zion Williamson was the can't miss athlete last year and this year some feel that's Anthony Edwards. The question is, where could he end up going?
ANTHONY EDWARDS MOST LIKELY LANDING SPOTS
It is widely assumed that most of the lottery teams would be interested in drafting "The Ant-Man" if he was there for them to pick. However, this all depends on the team. Without the draft lottery giving us the draft order, it is tough to know the exact pick he could go. However, there are a ton of teams that could use him in this draft.
The Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs are all the best places that could use Edwards the best. Of course, a lot of these teams are set at certain positions guard-wise and may not have as much of a use for him as others. The idea is, however, that he could land on any of these teams and be an ideal addition to the lineup.
Let's remove those that may not be the ultimate fit, however. That's the Kings, Timberwolves, Knicks, and Suns. Why? The Suns could use him but they are in heavy need for another playmaker and not another scoring guard, they're pretty set there. The Timberwolves are in the same boat.
Meanwhile, the Knicks could use him but they already have a lot of guards and would have to rid themselves of a few to make sense out of this. The Kings are the same here. They have both Buddy Hield and D'Aaron Fox as starters and both are legit scorers. They could use another big man before another guard comes into play.
The Knicks just drafted R.J. Barrett last year, who has played well. They could bump him to small forward but then another past draftee in Kevin Knox would be benched. Is Edwards worth doing all of this for the Knicks? Possibly. It all depends on how many people they are willing to unload.
However, we like the Hornets and Cavs the most because of their extreme needs. The Hornets are desperate for a great scoring guard after Kemba Walker left for Boston a year ago. They tried in free agency to replace him but it did not go well. The Cavs already have Colin Sexton but he's a capable scoring point guard that could be really fun to watch with Anthony Edwards.
Sexton could go back down to point with Edwards taking the shooting guard role. It would be a tough task to stop both. Add in a great scoring big man like Kevin Love and this Cleveland team could be back in the playoffs.
In spite of the team that drafts him, it is unlikely he'll have to change his #5 from college.
While we'd love to tell you the exact place Edwards will go, again, it's unknown. However, we cannot see him falling out of the Top 5. Some team in the first five picks will take him. Sure, Anthony Edwards basketball game has a lot of positives mixed with some big negatives. However, those positives heavily outweigh any negatives he might have in our book.
The question is, will other teams think the same as we do here? Time will tell. However, we'll certainly be eager to see how Edwards adjusts to the NBA style of play and especially its schedule. In our opinion, he has Rookie of the Year potential. Can he be a multi-time All-Star or MVP candidate? If he can improve upon his impressive college work, that is extremely possible.