Anthony Edwards may need some work, but he’s got potential to be even bigger than Zion Williamson
I’ll be honest I don’t know if this year’s draft class is completely star-studded, sure we have names like Lamelo Ball, Obi Toppin, James Wiseman and Killian Hayes, but outside of those guys, the rest of these names are either international projects or college stars who’ll need time to develop. The class just doesn’t seem that strong this year, however, there is one player who stands out like you wouldn’t believe and that’s Anthony Edwards out of Georgia.
Prior to his time at Georgia, Edwards was a five-star hailing from Holy Spirit Prep in Atlanta, Georgia, he was the top player in the country with offers from schools such as Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and UNC, the usual haul for any top recruit in the country. However, he was convinced to stay home and do his one-and-done season at Georgia. That’s just a little background for the player who’s popping up on most of the mock drafts as the top pick. If things go to plan and the Warriors maintain the top pick, he’ll be headed to join the Splash Bros in California.
Taking a look at his film which I’ll put a link to below, he’s just simply as dominant as it gets, at 6’5 and 225 pounds he plays to every bit of his strength and size as possible. It’s not outlandish to say he’s just a smaller and more athletic version of Zion Williamson, and believe me, if he keeps improving his ceiling is just as high as Williamson if not higher. He also has the strength and aggression to bully smaller guards, believe me, in iso situations, he’ll kick almost any guard’s ass in the league when it comes to pure physicality.
He’s just like Williamson for the fact that he knows how to aggressively attack the rim, he’s fantastic at taking contact and knows how to throw it down when he gets the opportunity. He’s also a fantastic slasher who frankly doesn’t use this gift enough which I’ll get more into later, and he’s a one man show on the fast break.
While his shot selection can be worrisome, he’s absolutely demonstrated a knack for knocking down the three ball, I noticed he prefers moving jumpers over spot-up jumpers, a move I’ve never really seen before, I don’t know how well it would translate over into the NBA but it works for him, I’m guessing coaches are going to try to convert him into a spot up shooter, which frankly will be more beneficial for him in the long run.
Offensively, he checks virtually every box, and it’s just interesting to see how often he prefers to drain it from deep. Don’t get me wrong he’s clearly more than capable, but for a player who can essentially take any of the opposing five players head on he certainly prefers letting it rain from deep. I wonder if it’s a confidence or preference issue. Also, as I stated earlier, this guy is fantastic when he’s scoring off-ball, he could easily average 20 points per game alone just by cutting to the basket, but since he’s the primary scoring option on the team, that’s usually not an option for him.
As talented as he is, my last concern is if he can truly mesh well into team basketball, I understand he wanted to be different by staying home and playing his basketball, but from a competitive standpoint, Georgia simply relied on him to keep the offense moving. That wouldn’t have been the philosophy had he been playing for guys like Tom Izzo, Roy Williams or Mike Krzyzewski. Assuming he goes to the Warriors with the top pick, I wonder how he’d handle not being the go-to-guy anymore in an offense that primarily relies on Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson to generate a majority of the offense. I wouldn’t be surprised if Edwards comes off the bench at first, unless you want Wiggins playing power forward, I’m not quite sure how they factor Edwards onto the floor with everyone else, but I know they need to, this is a guy that can take any offense to the next level.
At the end of the day though, this guy is a legitimate talent who can comfortably score over 25 points per game in the right system, he’s absolutely that type of player. His offensive IQ and mechanics need some tweaking here and there, but this guy has all of the physical and mental tools to be a superstar. It’s as obvious as day. In a draft class that looks rather uninspiring, this is definitely the guy you want to keep your eye on.