Welcome to "One Play!"
Debuted during the 2019-20 season, our NBA.com staff broke down certain possessions from certain games to peel back the curtains and reveal its bigger meaning.
For the top prospects of the 2020 NBA Draft, we'll break down a single possessions from their careers in the NCAA or playing professionally overseas and compare it to a current or former player in the NBA.
Today, potential No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards takes the spotlight in comparison to Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell.
Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards is projected as a top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, with many mock draft boards placing the standout guard at No. 1 overall.
At 6-foot-5, 225 lbs., Edwards is bigger than your typical NBA guard - he's built like a linebacker playing basketball. He does the majority of his damage around the rim, using his explosiveness, quick first step and physicality to get to the basket. He's not afraid to finish through contact, has the ability to score with either hand at the hoop and uses his body control and elite athleticism to make life easier for himself in the paint.
His jumpshot looks smooth, but the consistency isn't quite there yet. He had individual games where he got hot in his one season at Georgia, but he shot 29.4% from beyond the arc over the course of the season.
MORE: Anthony Edwards scouting report
Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell had a similar scouting report coming out of Louisville as a sophomore. He's a few inches shorter than Edwards, but things like explosiveness, a quick first step, great body control, physicality to finish through contact - those all hold true for Mitchell. Even the inconsistent jumper part coming out of college; Mitchell shot 25.0% from beyond the arc in his freshman season before increasing that to a more steady 35.4% as a sophomore. He shot 40.8% from the field in his final season at Louisville, while Edwards shot 40.2% from the field in his only season at Georgia.
And everything has turned out just fine for the first-time All-Star so far.
In breaking down and comparing some footage between the two players, take a look at a pair of plays in particular that showcased their similarities.
The Play: Edwards uses a quick move and Euro-Step to score at the rim.
Edwards casually brings the ball over halfcourt as Alabama's defence scrambles to decide whose going to pick up the ball handler. Once Edwards sees the defender get into place, he kicks things into another gear using his explosive first step, only needing a simple crossover to leave his defender behind him.
The split-second that Edwards makes his move, the nearest Alabama defender immediately realizes he'll have to help. Edwards gets past the primary defender with all of his momentum taking him towards the rim as the help defender slides into place to try and take a charge.
It's human nature to go with your momentum, which would have caused Edwards to barrell into the help defender for a charge. Instead, he uses his impressive body control to halt his momentum, gathering the ball into a smooth Euro-Step to avoid a collision.
At that point, he's still pretty far from the basket for a contested layup.
It doesn't matter for the hyper-athletic guard, who floats in the air for an acrobatic layup with his right hand on the left side of the basket.
Now watch his player comparison pull off the exact same thing.
The Play: A rookie Mitchell uses a quick move and Euro-Step to score at the rim.
Although Mitchell is almost at a stand-still before he makes his first move, it doesn't matter because his first step is just that quick. He blows by an elite defender in Jimmy Butler with a simple right-to-left crossover, then goes back to his right hand to keep Butler behind him.
Veteran forward Taj Gibson steps up to help, trying to stop Mitchell's momentum from getting all the way to the basket with ease. Mitchell anticipates that help, halting his momentum to gather the ball for a Euro-Step.
Mitchell is about as far as Edwards was from the basket, but he didn't lose his defender as much with the Euro-Step. Gibson is still somewhat with Mitchell, but the guard's athleticism elevates him higher than the defender's out-stretched arm can reach, resulting in a tough right handed finish from the left side of the basket.
The summary: Edwards' strength, athleticism and speed is already at the level of a pro. Where he could really improve - and take further note from Mitchell - is getting more creative with his finishes at the basket. When he gets to the NBA, going up against players just as strong, fast and athletic as he is, it won't be as easy to bully his way to the basket. Even when he gets into the restricted area, he'll have top rim protectors like Rudy Gobert or Anthony Davis ready to any layup attempt.
Developing a floater or jump-stop, turnaround jumper could work wonders for the potential No. 1 pick, while polishing his outside shot should force defenders guard him tighter on the perimeter, making it easier for him to take them off the dribble.
Any team selecting toward the top of the draft will give Edwards a look, because he's the exact type of combo guard that we see flourishing in the league today.
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