Junior Purdue guard Carsen Edwards has decided to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. How does he project into the NBA, and how does he fit with the Philadelphia 76ers?
Carsen Edwards Fun Fact: Carsen Edwards broke the all-time NCAA Tournament three point record by hitting 28 three pointers in just four games, and his favorite TV show is Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
No player in college increased his draft stock more than Carsen Edwards during the NCAA tournament. For the record, this is the second trip of the NBA pre-draft experience for Carsen Edwards. Edwards enters the 2019 NBA Draft as a projected late first round/second round pick. He is an extremely attractive piece of the puzzle for any team that needs offensive firepower and shooting in the backcourt. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen Carsen projected towards the Sixers with one of their three late first/second round picks.
Who is Carsen Edwards? How did he get here? How would he look next to Ben Simmons? Let’s take a look.
According to ESPN and Rivals, Carsen Edwards was a 4 star recruit out of Humble, Texas. He only made one school visit (to Purdue) and committed to the Boilermakers in August 2015. It didn’t take long for Edwards to make an impact, being named Big 10 Freshman of the Week in January of 2017. He made 21 starts in 35 games as a freshman and had 17 double digit scoring games.
Carsen Edwards became a household name during his sophomore season. He was named second team All-American and won the Jerry West Award given to the nation’s top shooting guard. He averaged 20.5 points per game in six postseason games, a true sign of things to come for his junior season. He scored double digits in 35 of 37 games as a sophomore and became seventh Purdue player to score 1,000 points in his first two seasons (the first since Glenn Robinson in 1993-94).
I don’t have enough time to write about Carsen Edwards’ junior season. The stats are insane and accolades are plentiful. Carsen averaged 24.3 points per game, ranking 1st in the Big 10 and 9th in the NCAA. He was named consensus second team All-American and first team All-Big 10. His 135 three pointers made was a Purdue record, and his 874 points were 3rd most in single season history at Purdue. He scored more than 30 points five times and more than 40 points three times.
An incredible NCAA Tournament…
But any discussion about Carsen Edwards begins and ends with his 2019 NCAA Tournament play where he simply dominated. He averaged nearly 35 points in four games in the NCAA Tournament and lost by 1 point in overtime versus Virginia in the Elite 8. Carsen will be most remembered for his 10 three pointers made against Virginia. His 28 three pointers made in the NCAA Tournament is an all-time record.
Here is PFO’s Ultimate Highlight Reel of Carsen Edwards from his outstanding junior campaign.
Where can we expect Carsen Edwards to go in the 2019 NBA Draft?
Sporting News 28
The Ringer 27
The Athletic 22
Carsen Edwards’ Strengths
Bucket Getter: Over 700 field goal attempts. Carsen Edwards is a shooter’s shooter, and shot creation is one of his biggest strengths. His 686 points were good for 1st in the Big 10 and 3rd in the NCAA. Despite the turnover problems, Carsen continues to be a positive on the court. He had the 2nd most offensive win shares (4.0) and 5th best win shares (5.6) in the Big 10. If you’re looking for a shot-maker, then I present you Carsen Edwards. He was arguably the best playmaker in college and will be one of the best available in this year’s draft.
Floor Spacer: Carsen Edwards took 71 unassisted three pointers. Let that sink in for a second. 35.5% from three off the sheet doesn’t look too great. But when you consider the fact that he takes 10.6 attempts per game, my jaw hits the ground. If you’re looking for a floor spacer, then here is a player that can hit 35 footers on the regular. He’s not a one year wonder as well. In three years at Purdue, Carsen hit 281 of 763 three pointers, good for 37%. Edwards’ 281 three point field goals made is good for 13th best in Big 10 history. He had at least 7 three pointers in five games this past season.
Carsen Edwards’ Weaknesses
Turnovers: Carsen Edwards averaged more turnovers (5.4 per 100 possessions) than assists (4.9 per 100 possessions) during his junior season. Edwards had the 2nd most turnovers (113) and 11th worst turnover percentage in the Big 10 (10%).
That being said, Carsen Edwards had a ridiculous usage percentage of 37.3%. That number was highest in the Big 10 and 5th highest in the entire NCAA. It’s understandable why Edwards’ turnover rate was so high. That being said, there is plenty of tape of Carsen Edwards making lazy passes this past year.
Passing & Vision: Per The Stepien, the most comparable high scoring guards to enter the draft with such weak passing skills and vision were Gilbert Arenas at Arizona, CJ McCollum of Lehigh University, and Damian Lillard at Weber State. While Carsen doesn’t always impact the box score in regards to assists (he’s a non-passer), his ability to draw defenders, get shooters open looks, and even open the paint for offensive rebounds is significant.
Limited Ceiling: Carsen was never the true point guard for Purdue this past season. While he occasionally brought the ball up for Purdue, the majority of his role was as a scorer. Head coach Matt Painter gave Carsen the Allen Iverson treatment with the Boilermakers and turned him into a high volume shooter to much success. At this year’s combine, Carsen measured in at 6’4″ with shoes with a 6’6″ wingspan. These limitations mean Carsen will have get the bulk of his minutes defending PGs in the NBA.
In today’s NBA, where much of the game involves fast paced offenses, short shot clocks, pick-and-roll, and shooting over screens, Carsen Edwards could find himself a legit NBA role very quickly. He’s a very good pick for a team that needs a backup point guard that can provide an instant offensive spark off the bench.
Carsen Edwards has tremendous offensive upside if he can continue the development on his perimeter shooting. Here is a player who takes advantage of what defenses give him. If you’re looking for a player with a high ceiling and one that can be groomed into a role, then Carsen Edwards is probably not the prospect for you. He’s already 21, and it’s no secret what he brings and doesn’t bring to the NBA.
Right now, Edwards is projected to be picked in the late first to early second round. Edwards is a very good example of why this draft is tailor made for the Sixers. It’s top heavy but features several very intriguing prospects in the late first and second round. Despite his low field goal percentages, Carsen Edwards projects as a very good scorer in the NBA.
How does Carsen Edwards fit with the Philadelphia 76ers?
What’s wrong with having two Carsen’s in Philadelphia? Ok kidding aside, Carsen Edwards would be a very strong addition to the backcourt in the second round. The Sixers currently have four second round selections. At this current time, it looks very likely that TJ McConnell could have played his last minutes with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are certainly in the market for a backup point guard.
We all saw the immense success Landry Shamet had with the Philadelphia 76ers in just a half a year. The Sixers are at their best when their shooters are actively moving without the ball and coming off screens. This is exactly the kind of impact that Carsen Edwards could provide immediately on the Sixers.
A legit 6th man off the bench…
Edwards thrives at moving without the ball. With JJ Redick’s future with the Sixers in limbo, the 76ers are certainly in the market for a floor spacer in the backcourt that they can groom.
With the Sixers being a lock to make the playoffs for the foreseeable future, I could see Carsen Edwards becoming a legit NBA 6th man that can create offense and score with efficiency. The future of the NBA is in 3 & D players, but guys that can create their own shot/offense with the ball in their hand are nearly as important in the playoffs.
I’m not saying Edwards will be the next Steph Curry or Damian Lillard. But could Carsen Edwards become the next Louis Williams? Taking a guy like that, a major need for the Sixers as Ben Simmons continues to progress with his shot, in the second round could be a home run draft pick.
The Sixers are in the market for role players off the bench and are going to be in cap hell for the next several years. As we sit right now, there is a very good chance that Carsen Edwards is a Philadelphia 76er in the very near future.