With the 2020 NBA Draft growing near, Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards is still finding his name at the top of Mock Draft boards everywhere.
At 6-foot-5, 225 lbs. with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Edwards has all the physical tools to make an impact in the NBA immediately. When you add to it that he has a lightning-quick first step and great body control when attacking the basket, the profile of a player to be potentially selected No. 1 overall begins to take shape. He has quick handles with no trouble creating his own shot off the dribble, although knocking down those shots with more consistency and developing his playmaking skills would make him more fine-tuned as a clear cut No. 1 pick.
At 19-years-old, his future is bright with potential to develop the skill set he already possesses. Should he reach his full potential, what would be a good player comparison for Edwards in the league? Our NBA.com staff shares their thoughts.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I've been saying this since back in April, but Edwards game reminds me so much of Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell.
He's much bigger than Mitchell (he has four inches and 10 lbs. on him) but their playstyle coming out of college is nearly identical. An explosive first step, elite body control, the ability to finish through contact - these are all things that could be used to describe either of the two guards. They're both super physical and athletic and can make an impact with or without the ball in their hands.
MORE: Edwards scouting report: Strengths, weaknesses
Even the criticism of the players prior to the draft are similar: shot creators who struggle to shoot consistently, playmaking could use work, not always engaged on the defensive end. Mitchell shot 41.8% from the field and 32.9% from 3 while averaging just 2.2 assists over his two years at Louisville. Edwards shot 40.2% from the field and 29.4% from 3 while averaging 2.8 assists per game in his one season at Georgia. Slowly but surely, Mitchell has polished his efficiency and passing at the next level and I don't doubt Edwards can do the same.
Mitchell nearly slid out of the lottery because teams failed to see his upside should he reach his full potential and in a weaker draft class, they won't make the same mistake on Edwards.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I'm going slightly old school here with 1988 No. 5 overall pick Mitch Richmond.
When I was thinking of who to compare Edwards with, I tried to find a player with a comparable frame and Richmond, who earned the nickname "Rock", was as solid as they come listed as 6-foot-5, 215 lbs. Not far off from Edwards' 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame at all.
The playing style comparison might not necessarily be as much as of a one-to-one as the physical attributes but a big part of that is a product of the two players coming out in very different eras. It's also worth noting that Richmond made his debut at 23 while Edwards' body is NBA-ready at 19.
That being said, prime Mitch Richmond was a problem and a bucket from Day 1. Richmond earned Rookie of the Year honours in 1989 after posting averages of 22.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his first season. He would go on to average 20-plus points per game in each of his first 10 seasons, earning six All-Star nods and five All-NBA selections in the process.
Richmond closed his career averaging 13.9 points over four seasons with the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers, where he put a bow on his Hall of Fame resume with a title in 2002.
Having watched Edwards go for 33 points in a half against a No. 3-ranked Michigan State ballclub, I imagine his ability to score at a high clip will immediately translate to the next level. Will he end up scoring 20 a game for his first 10 seasons en route to a career with over 20,000 points like Richmond? That remains to be seen, but it's definitely not out of the realm of possibility.
And whoever takes Georgia's 19-year-old phenom would be more than pleased with that.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): The more I see Anthony Edwards, the more I see Stanley Johnson. I'm also not the draft expert on this site, I leave that up to the NBA.com experts Kyle Irving and Eric Fawcett.
Edwards does have talent, and if he's going to reach his ceiling then he'll have a career that looks like Joe Johnson's, not Stanley Johnson's (thus far).
Iso Joe was a bit of a late bloomer in the NBA but once he found his game and confidence he was an elite scorer for a long time. Johnson had better 3-point percentages in college and that eventually translated to the NBA. Edwards showed the ability to get hot from 3 in his one year at Georgia but he'll have to answer the question on whether or not he can become a consistent 3-point threat at the next level.
What they do have in common, however, is a knack for scoring - particularly in ISO situations.
Edwards might end up in a situation where he'll be asked to put up points in a big way. Johnson once averaged 25.0 per game in a seaso and Edwards certainly has the potential to do that, too.
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