Carsen Edwards - Purdue
Point Guard, 6’0, 196 lbs, 21 years old
39.4% FG%, 35.5% 3P%, 83.7% FT%
24.3 PTS, 3.6 REB, 2.9 AST, 1.3 STL, 3.0 TOV
Carsen Edwards was the darling of the NCAA tournament. Carsen Edwards took advantage of his time on college’s biggest stage and put on a show. Like small scoring guards in prior years like Trey Burke and Kemba Walker, Carsen Edwards lit up some of college’s best teams as he averaged 34.8 points a game on 7.0 threes per game. He shattered the prior record held by some nobody named Steph Curry. His 34.8 points a game was ninth most in tournament history. The last player to average 30+ points a game was Jimmer Fredette in 2011.
Carsen Edwards most definitely peaked in the tournament, but other players have done so as well like Kemba Walker and gone on to have great college careers. Others like Jimmer Fredette and Trey Burke struggled. Like those players mentioned, Carsen Edwards is similar in stature as he’s 6’0. Carsen Edwards can be lightning in a bottle, but he will have to learn how to be more consistent. Carsen Edwards shooting stats seem to compare favorably with Kemba while his playmaking stats make him look like a gunner, but that’s more because of his role at Purdue (their main—and only—scorer) versus his inability to get players the ball.
The dude can flat out score. When he gets it going his range is insane. We all got to witness him hitting logo threes in the NCAA tournament. In college and under Matt Painter’s system in West Lafayette, he wasn’t exactly encouraged to plant and shoot from 33 feet out. In Utah and much of the NBA, he will not only be encouraged but developed to do so. That would allow Carsen to get separation for threes and avoid the mismatch of his height.
Carsen Edwards is not shy about letting it fly from three. He made 135 threes last season on 35.5% shooting. Keep in mind he was Purdue’s main scoring threat. He won’t be any team’s main threat in the NBA. In addition to being a long range bomber, he’s a terror in transition. This is where he compares favorably to Kemba Walker rather than Trey Burke and Jimmer Fredette. He’s a speedster. Much like Kemba uses his speed to get to the bucket, Edwards is able to combine that with a stout Mighty Mouse like frame to take contact. He averaged 6.1 free throws a game at Purdue.
Unlike Kemba Walker, Carsen Edwards is built like a tank and has insane length. Edwards has a 6’6 wingspan. He’s like Donovan Mitchell in a way at the shooting guard position. While he’s a bit undersized for the position, he’s able to play bigger than what he is because of his length.
He’s undersized for a point guard. While he has great length and has learned how to use it offensively, defensively he still is small. That means larger guards can take advantage of him. That size becomes even more of a problem in the NBA where teams switch often. While the league is rushing to positionless basketball, Edwards is pigeonholed as a point guard who is more like a shooting guard. That’s not bad offensively, but defensively that would make him a target for opposing offenses who’d relentlessly try to switch to get him guarding them.
Edwards is a beast at the rim in transition but in the halfcourt he struggles. He only shot 49% at the rim last season and that number drops in halfcourt sets. That weakness could be remedied if he learns how to use that length around the rim and how to use his speed sparingly. Donovan Mitchell has seen his offensive production jump as he has learned how to change gears and use his length and body correctly when going to the rim. But Donovan Mitchell is 6’3, Carsen Edwards is 6’0 ... in shoes.
Carsen Edwards will most likely never be a starter in the NBA, but, if he plays his cards right, he could be an off the bench scorer in the mold of a Lou Williams. If there’s a team that can unlock his potential, it’s Utah.
Q&A with Travis Miller from Hammer and Rails
I chatted with Travis Miller, Site Manager for SB Nation’s Hammer and Rails (Purdue University), about Carsen Edwards. While it’s always good to chat it up with a fellow Purdue grad—#BOILERUP—Travis Miller is a lot more grounded when it comes to Carsen Edwards NBA future than I am. All the below responses are from Travis.
What strengths of Carsen Edwards will translate well to the NBA?
His shooting, when on, can be incredible. I am sure you saw his NCAA Tournament run. He had some bad games during the season, in particular, the game at Indiana where he couldn’t hit anything. He made up for it in the tournament. The Virginia game was incredible to see in person because for a stretch, he couldn’t miss. He got to the point where, if he could see the basket, he could hit it. If he is on and feeling it he can go for 40 on any given night.
What weaknesses of Carsen Edwards will need to be improved in the NBA to get playing time and stay out of the G-League?
Much was made about him needing to be more of a distributor this year, but as you saw in the tournament, [Purdue] did just fine when he went off. As long as [Purdue] had someone else hitting like Ryan Cline or Matt Haarms playing well in the middle it was fine. He is always going to be a gunner and I think he will really excel at the next level where he is not the focus. Unfortunately, sometime he can get a little too ahead of himself. Those pullup 25 footers are great when they fall, but if they are, they can be devastating. I think he will need to pick his spots more because he won’t have the green light all the time.
What role do you see Carsen being in the NBA once he’s fully developed?
The advantage he will have at the next level is he won’t be the focal point of other teams to defend. Can see him having a few games where he comes off the bench and randomly hits six threes against someone. He has NBA range and then some and he is not afraid to attack the basket. If he gets open looks, watch out.