Georgia guard Anthony Edwards has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.
pic.twitter.com/jBcQdncmtB- Anthony Edwards (@theantman05) March 20, 2020
The freshman standout is projected to be a top-five pick in this year's draft, with a number of mock drafts projecting him as the No. 1 overall pick.
So who is Edwards and what will he bring to the NBA?
Anthony Edwards is an 18-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia.
Ranked as the No. 4 overall player and No. 1 shooting guard in the class of 2019 by ESPN's Top 100, he elected to stay home and play for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Edwards' commitment to his home state's university gave Georgia their first ever five-star recruit and highest-ranked recruit since Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was the No. 12 overall player in the class of 2011.
At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Edwards has the size of a prototypical guard in the NBA.
Edwards' size is his biggest draw as the potential No. 1 overall pick. At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Edwards already has the body of a prototypical NBA player. In fact, he's built more like an NFL linebacker.
He has broad shoulders which compliment his strength, quickness and elite athleticism and match his play style perfectly. Edwards has great body control already and knows how to use his frame to his benefit when it comes to attacking the basket. He finished well through contact at the collegiate level and averaged 5.4 free throw attempts per game - a good rate for the NCAA - and his 77.2% free throw percentage was better than expected.
He likes to get downhill in transition and can finish at the rim with either hand confidently. He's a solid rebounder for his position and his defence isn't anything you need to worry about. His jumper wasn't as consistent as he probably would have liked it to be in his one year at Georgia, but there's no issues when it comes to form or where he releases the ball from.
Edwards is a natural scorer with the ball in his hands, as evidenced by his 19.1 points per game.
If Edwards wants to be a true combo guard at the NBA level, he'll have to develop his playmaking ability. He's a decent passer when the defence collapses on his drives to the bucket, but he only averaged 2.8 assists per game despite all of the attention he drew from opposing defenders. With a usage rate of 30.4% - the second-highest in the SEC - you would've liked to see that assist average a bit higher than it was.
Edwards shot 40.2% from the field and 29.4% from 3 on roughly 16 shots a game in his single season in college, showing that his efficiency could improve as well. Granted, he was the focal point of every opponents' scouting report, but his shooting splits leave some question marks.
He was great at the rim, but it helped that he was stronger, faster and more athletic than the majority of his opponents. He would either drive all the way to the rim, or settle for a longer-than-desired midrange jumper, which he knocked down inconsistently. If Edwards wants to continue to be an effective scorer at the NBA level, he'll have to find crafty ways to finish in the paint, whether it's a floater, runner or jumpstop jumper.
He doesn't lack confidence from beyond the arc, often pulling up from NBA range anyway. His release is nice, but the results aren't necessarily representative of that. A major building block would be learning to shoot - and score in general - without the ball in his hands. He flashed some promise as a cutter for dunks and layups, but almost all of his looks from the perimeter came off of creating his own shot. His offensive game would benefit from some training in catch-and-shoot situations off of screens.
Projected Draft Position: Potential No. 1 pick
NBA Comparison: Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown
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