The NBA summer league has recently come to an end with the Memphis Grizzlies coming out on top. More importantly for the Houdini, the Boston Celtics may have come out of it with a rotational piece for years to come.
Much like spring training in Baseball, what players do in the summer league is essentially meaningless and has almost no impact on how they will do when the NBA season actually begins for the Boston Celtics and (less importantly) the 29 other teams. Nonetheless, there are people out there who choose to a put too much stock in a few summer games played in Las Vegas.
It’s to remember that the summer league, at its most basic level, is just extra practice for first and second year players. One thing that did catch my (and everybody else’s) eye, however, was Boston Celtics second round pick Carsen Edwards being left off both All-Summer League teams.
I know, I know….. I’m complaining about summer league awards. However, Carsen Edwards played too well not to be recognized. He shot lights out from downtown (46%) and averaged 19.4 points per game. He also pleasantly surprised a lot of people with his defense.
Now, I was someone who thought coming out of college, Carsen Edwards was good enough to be a first round pick. Yes, he is undersized but the man can flat out ball.
His most impressive feat at Purdue was in the NCAA tournament this past season when he rarely missed a shot. I couldn’t believe he was making some of the shots he took. No, not all the shots he took would be considered “good shots” or “advisable shots” but somehow, some way, he made them more often than not.
His most memorable game was against Virginia in the Elite Eight. Edwards dropped 42 points, knocked down 10 3-pointers, and took the eventual champions to overtime. His team may not have won the game, but Edwards was the best player on the court that day.
Everybody watching was likely in awe of how this 6’1 guard was out playing everybody else on the court and hitting seemingly impossible shots. Anybody who watched him in the tournament or watched him during the Summer League will agree that, despite his size, Edwards is a walking bucket. Had he been a few inches taller, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have been a lottery pick.
The Boston Celtics got a steal with Edwards falling to them in the second round. He lands in a great situation with Brad Stevens as his coach and an organization with a competent front office and that can only have a positive impact on his development.
He seems to fit in perfectly with this team and can have an immediate impact coming off the bench. He can space the floor, and has shown the ability to be an above average defender despite his 6-1 frame.
Edwards is not a starter on a championship caliber team (certainly not at this point in his career), but that does not mean he is devoid of value. As I mentioned earlier, he is essentially a walking bucket and has shown time and time again that he can knock down big shots.
Does that description remind you of anybody in particular? A certain shooting guard who plays for the LA Clippers? If Brad Stevens and the Celtics brass can develop Edwards (Edwards also has to put in the work) I can really see him becoming a Lou Williams-type of player who can come off the bench and give you 20 points and even come in clutch during the closing seconds and knock down a big shot.
It’s no secret that the NBA has transformed into a shooters league over the past decade, and Edwards has the ability to really take advantage and turn himself into a quality NBA player. If he reaches his ceiling, by the end of his career he could be a player with multiple Sixth Man of the Year awards under his belt.