Shooting Guard, 6’5 - 225lbs
Draft Range: 1-4
Edwards played in UGA's first exhibition game last night, and looked every bit the top-3 pick he's been projected. His ability to score multiple ways is elite and he truly stands out athletically.
Video above via AIR Highlights Youtube.
The Pre-Season All-SEC shooting guard is poised for a huge year.
Anthony Edwards is one of the best pure talents we have seen in some time. He is an elite athlete and can do just about anything he wants on the court. Watching him physically dominate most 1-on-1 defense he sees is reminiscent of some of the great SGs in the game. His decision making & shooting consistency need to improve over his freshman season but it's really hard to find an outright weakness in his game. Having just turned 18 in August, he is well on his way to being one of the most exciting players in the country.
Athleticism: Edwards is 6'5 with a reported 6'8 wingspan, and while a lot of longer players are more on the lanky side, he has a filled out frame and should only get bigger. He's incredibly powerful and is explosive in everything he does; his downhill drives are especially violent & he's strong enough that traffic doesn't do too much to affect him. "Fast" isn't a word to describe him, but he's laterally quick and his first step is good enough that he can get around people when he needs to.
Edwards makes elevating look effortless. He's bouncy off one or two feet and what's really impressive is how high he can get from a standstill. AE leans more "power" than "speed" and makes almost all of it look easy.
Offense: Edwards is a natural scorer & creator in all aspects of the game. I believe his biggest asset is his first step and ability to drive. In both the McDonalds & USAB games he showed great strength and craftiness on the way to the rim; he puts his head down and uses both muscle & length to get around defenders, often with solid eurosteps or athletic finishes. Some of his HS film shows that this aggression can lead to missed opportunities for assists, not seeing guys to kick to can become a problem at the next level when facing legitimate time rim protectors for the first time.
AE has excellent body control and balance, evidenced in pull up shots and finishes in traffic. Defenders overrun and lose him because he can stop on a dime & elevate to get a good look. The way he can freeze bigs in the PnR is special; with hesitations & changing speeds, he makes keeping the handler & roller in check difficult.
His shooting raises a few questions that will need to be cleared up at Georgia. While he is really good at finishing in the restricted area, the mid range and three point shooting can be erratic. In 2019 AAU games he shot 45% from deep on 51 attempts, but some of his misses were really bad. It's not uncommon to see an air ball, which right now I attribute to selection and not mechanics. He'll pull up early in the shot clock at times, or heave one up in traffic when passing to an open teammate was the better choice. Selection and vision will definitely need to improve.
The shot itself is solid though. Mechanics are fluid, elevates well & high release, checks the boxes. You just hope to see more consistency and wonder if he can keep a high 3PT% over a high volume season.
Defense: I only have one gripe with Edwards' defense right now, the effort. He's got good size and lateral quickness so the ability to keep guards in check is there, but he has a habit of taking plays off and simply swiping at the ball. When he's able to strip it, it generally ends up in a highlight reel dunk as you'll see in the videos here. But when he misses, his motor shuts off and his man either scores or dishes to the big for a score.
His physicality should allow him to defend at a high level, but we'll have to see consistent effort to feel good about it.
Swing Skill: Decision making & motor.
Making quick, wise choices instead of choosing to "out athlete" opponents.
Overall: Edwards' combination of physicality & craftiness is special. He's an elite, effortless athlete who can create for both himself & his teammates, a skillset should translate well to the NCAA & NBA levels. Decision making & passing are suspect at times, but you have to play his upside. AE projects to be picked in the Top-3 of the 2020 NBA draft.