Purdue's Carsen Edwards may be playing his way into first round of NBA draft

Purdue's Carsen Edwards may be playing his way into first round of NBA draft

Basketball

Purdue's Carsen Edwards may be playing his way into first round of NBA draft

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The NCAA Tournament gives every player a big stage to showcase their skill set and prove they can be a significant contributor at the next level.

Look no further than Purdue Boilermakers point guard Carsen Edwards as a prime example. After scoring the most points in a tournament game since 2004, many have wondered how much he’s helped his stock (assuming he chooses to forego his senior year and declare for the 2019 NBA Draft).

He tested the waters last season and worked out with seven teams (the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs) before he deciding to return to Purdue for his junior season. He reportedly drew praise from NBA executives at the Nike Skills Academy back in August 2018.

He currently ranks No. 39 overall in our latest aggregate mock draft, and he’s been projected to go somewhere early in the second round since last June and earlier this month, we included Edwards as one of the top sharpshooters to watch in the NCAA Tournament. During the regular season, the point guard led the Big 10 in points per game and points scored from beyond the arc.

Here is what draft expert Jeremy Woo, who has compared him to San Antonio’s Patty Mills, said about the two-time Wooden Award Finalist (via Sports Illustrated):

“He’s strong and explosive and can really make tough shots in tight spaces from the outside. Edwards should be afforded the room to consistently get his jumper off in spite of his height. His potential as a microwave scorer can’t be discounted.”

Nearly half of all his field goal attempts came from NBA three-point distance during the regular season, per The Stepien.

According to Synergy Sports, he currently leads everyone in the NCAA Tournament with 15 made three-pointers. Edwards is also putting up scoring numbers in the tourney not seen since Stephen Curry.

As a crafty point guard, the majority of his offense comes from the pick-and-roll. He put up 71 points from jump shots off pick-and-roll action during the regular season, which ranked Top-25 among all D1 players.

But catch-and-shoot ability also makes him attractive as an NBA prospect. Edwards ranked Top-5 among all D1 players in total points scored off the catch during the regular season. The 21-year-old is currently averaging 1.46 points per possession when spotting up during the tournament, which ranks Top-5 (minimum: 10 opportunities) among players in March Madness.

Also, he has a penchant for coming off screens, which is how he scored 3.4 points per game during the regular season. That mark ranked Top-10 among all D1 players. Only two players (Wofford’s Nathan Hoover and Belmont’s Dylan Windler) scored more points per game than Edwards (3.7) on this play type during the tournament.

However, perhaps his most impressive skill is his ability to create his own shot (and it’s been on display lately). Edwards currently leads all players in points scored from jump shots off the dribble (20) in Purdue’s pursuit of the national title. He thrives in iso situations, when it’s just him against one defender.

The 6-foot-1 guard has scored more total points when facing single coverage than any other player since the tournament began. He produced 1.01 PPP on isos during the regular season, which ranked in the 85th percentile among all college basketball players.

Known mostly as a volume scorer, he has looked significantly more efficient and showed an improved shot selection during March Madness. If he can continue to play at this level, improve his playmaking and do well during the pre-draft process, there is plenty of reason to believe a team would take a chance on him in the first round.

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