2019-20 Stats: 19.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, 40.2 FG%, 29.4 3-FG%, 52% Total Shooting%
Anthony Edwards shocked many in the basketball world when he chose to play his only college basketball season at Georgia instead of Kentucky. It turned out to be a good choice for the native Georgian, mainly because he had the ball in his hands significantly more than he otherwise would have in Lexington.
While Edwards was the surefire #1 pick as of six months ago, he has slowly slid down several experts' mock drafts. However, nearly every expert still has Edwards going inside the top five.
But if he was still on the board at #4, should Arturas Karnisovas select him? Does he fit within the scheme the Bulls will run with Billy Donovan?
To me, the answers to those questions are a resounding no, and I'll elaborate on why the Bulls should not even consider Anthony Edwards with the fourth pick in the draft.
Offensive Firepower Offset by Inefficiency
While I don’t believe the Bulls should select Edwards, I can see why many believe he is a top-five player in this draft. Edwards is a pure scorer. Not necessarily a shooter, but a scorer -- the ball goes in the net.
He did average 19.1 PPG, but his usage rate -- an estimated percentage of team plays utilizing a specific player while on the floor -- was 30.4%, one of the highest in the country and a significant reason for his high scoring numbers.
However, he only shot 40% from the field and under 30% from behind the three-point line. His true shooting percentage was 52%, also below average. Edwards would need to drastically improve his scoring efficiency and he would not be expected to have as much of an offensive impact given the fact his usage rate will be significantly lower in the NBA.
Simply put, he would have fewer chances to score, albeit in an inefficient fashion.
On top of that shooting inefficiency, Edwards logged a woeful 1.05 assist-turnover ratio. For someone whose usage rate was so high, that is pretty poor. What that signals to me is Edwards cannot be trusted being a primary ball-handler and/or number one scoring option at the professional level.
That may prove troublesome for Edwards since having the ball in his hands is by far the best way he can contribute to a team. But again, he was inefficient even with the ball in his hands.
Liability on Defense
While Edwards has room to improve offensively, he does have a natural talent in putting the ball in the net. There is a foundation that he can build upon and improve. He also is a phenomenal athlete and has an NBA-ready body.
His defensive performances, however, leave even more to be desired. His defensive win shares per 40 minutes clocked in at a subpar .042. But not even looking at advanced statistics, it's evident that Edwards needs to significantly improve defensively to be effective at the professional level.
He is going to give up size to some of the 3/stretch 4 players he’ll be guarding and honestly, those are the types of players he may have the best chance of defending. He has proven to be not quick enough and not sound enough defensively to stay in front of the shiftier guards in the league.
Furthermore, he hasn’t shown he can be an effective part of a solid team defensive scheme, as Georgia’s defense ranked in the 200s in defensive rating across the nation.
Will the Bulls Pick Edwards?
If Edwards falls to the fourth pick, I’m uncertain whether the Bulls will select him or not. It's been reported that Edwards has yet to even interview with the Bulls, a sign that may point to Arturas not being interested in drafting the Georgia Bulldog.
Hopefully, that is the case. I think Edwards may end up being one of the more overrated players when we look back on this draft in five years' time. In addition, and even more importantly, I don’t think he fits within the Bulls system and he certainly does not fill a glaring need within the team.
The only wing player I would love the Bulls to draft is Isaac Okoro, but I believe the Bulls should look for a LaMelo Ball or Killian Hayes type. Both are primary ball-handlers and point guards that better fit Billy Donvan's system and fill more apparent needs the team has.
Yes, this article is a slight against Anthony Edwards' basketball game. Yes, I would be disappointed if the Bulls select him. But also yes, I would get behind the kid and hope he proves me so very wrong if he puts on a Bulls uniform next week. Best of luck with your career Anthony, unless you're ever playing against the Bulls.