(Editor’s note: this Carsen Edwards NBA Draft stock article from the end of the regular season is now being re-posted with the NBA Draft tomorrow night)
It won’t be official until tomorrow, but Purdue junior combo guard Carsen Edwards (23.4 points per game entering the regular season finale) will win the Big Ten scoring title. It will make him the third Boilermaker in the last nine years to lead the Big Ten in scoring (JaJuan Johnson in 2011 (20.7) and Caleb Swanigan in 2017 (18.9).
No other Big Ten team has had more than one league scoring champ during that span. If you keep up with all things hoops on bestbasketballmag.com and other basketball news sites, then you already know how accomplished Edwards is. He already has an AP All-American third team plaudit, and the Jerry West Award (nation’s best shooting guard) from last season on his resume.
Above and below is our exclusive with Carsen Edwards, in which you can also hear Jess Settles of BTN just barge his way in on, for some our really bizarre and less than professional reason.
Because of Settles, we had to break the interview up into two files:
Is it enough for him to make the jump to the NBA this season? The Houston, Texas native worked out at the NBA Combine last season, but didn’t hire an agent and thus retained his future collegiate eligibility.
Back at preseason Media Day, we asked Purdue head coach Matt Painter what Carsen needs to do to balance contributing to the team versus acting in his own individual self-interest, and how the two priorities cooperate rather than compete with one another.
“We all get judged on winning,” Painter answered.
“Sometimes those guys come back, I got to do X, Y and Z to be successful. But the NBA, they want winners, and they want role players. None of the guys that we’ve had in, quite frankly, nobody has really had guys that just leave major college basketball and go be a starter in the NBA.”
“You’ve got to be able to adjust to an organization, you have to be able to play a role. I think with that winning, doing little things and winning.”
It’s exactly the kind of answer that you would predict a coach to give, but he is totally spot on nonetheless. Purdue has put some guys in the league lately, but they haven’t been lottery pick, alpha dog, blue chip kind of players.
Here’s where it stands now, the Carsen Edwards NBA Draft stock price (approximately). Of course, take this with a grain of salt. No, take it with an entire truck load of salt. ESPN has him 48th overall on their best available list. Tankathon has him going 46th overall to Orlando in their NBA mock draft.
Draft Site does not have him in their mock draft, but they do have three Duke players (Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish) going 1-2-3 overall. Basketball Insiders also do not have Edwards listed in their mock and they have that Blue Devils trio comprising three of the first four.
Finally, NBA Draft.net has Carsen Edwards slotted 42nd overall to the Atlanta Hawks. They have the blue chip Blue Devil troika all going in the top five by the way.
“His first year, he was a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio guy, last year he was 1.6, 1.7:1. Being a 2:1 guy is huge,” Painter continued.
“He has shot some really good numbers last year in terms of his field goal percentage. I think those can improve. If you look at them, they’re pretty sticky numbers, but I really do. He’s that good of a shooter.”
Unfortunately for Edwards and Painter, the opposite has happened. It’s been a statistical regression for Edwards, who must also overcome the problem of being really undersized for the NBA.
Entering the season ending win at Northwestern, Edwards had 95 turnovers to 89 assists, while his FG% and 3PT% has also dropped substantially. From last season to this season, Edwards has seen his FG% fall from .458 to .392 and his three point percentage degrade from .406 to .302.
If he does decide to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the draft again, there is of course another way for him to impress NBA scouts and GMs, beyond his statistical production.
“I think you’re going to be yourself in terms of when people evaluate you,” Painter said.
“They like to see something a little bit different,” Painter added.
“I think you grow into that as you push past college I think more than anything, just improving his assist-turnover ratio, continue to do what he’s doing, but now lead us to victory instead of just being that guy who scored the basketball to help us, as we’ve had four seniors.”
“I think that piece of it will really help him as he grows into a pro.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.
Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.
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