The 2019-20 Boston Celtics will look much different than they have in the last few seasons. With All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford gone, plus backup point guard Terry Rozier going to the Charlotte Hornets for Kemba Walker, Brad Stevens and Co. will have adjustments to make.
Aside from Walker, much of the production will be taken by young playmakers such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. However, another young player has made a case in the Las Vegas Summer League that he deserves to take some of these shots once the regular season starts.
Former Purdue Boilermaker Carsen Edwards was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft a few weeks ago, and while he has made some recent headlines featuring hilarious photos and comments from Kendrick Perkins, not enough attention has been given to exactly how dominant the athletic guard has been in his time with Boston.
While he most likely fell in the draft due to his lack of NBA size, the 6-foot-1 guard has proved that size does not always matter if you can put the ball in the basket (see: Isaiah Thomas). He has been putting the ball in the basket a lot for the Celtics, as he averaged 19.4 points and shot 48 percent from the field in 23.4 minutes per game, to go along with 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and a steal in the five games he played in Vegas.
Edwards’ best performance came when the lights were the brightest, as he erupted for a team-leading 25 points while also notching eight rebounds, one steal and one block in the opening round of the Summer League playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies. Even though the Celtics couldn’t come up with the victory, Edwards proved he can score even when the stakes are a little bit higher.
Scoring in bunches is not new for Edwards. His elite scoring ability is part of the reason why he earned so many accolades in his time at Purdue. His junior season was by far his most impressive statistically, as he averaged 24.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals in his final season as a Boilermaker. These numbers capped off an impressive collegiate career that saw Edwards earn multiple All-Big Ten First-Team honors and a Second-Team All-American nod this past season.
The best basketball Edwards played was in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Edwards helped lead the Boilermakers to an Elite Eight appearance during a tournament run in which he posted a career-high 42 points against the then-defending champion Villanova Wildcats in the Round of 32 before scoring 42 again in the Elite Eight loss to the eventual champion Virginia Cavaliers.
Edwards broke a few tournament records in that run, breaking the single-tournament 3-point record with 28 triples and now ranking third in most 25-point games in a row in the NCAA Tournament, tying superstar Stephen Curry with five. Edwards was also named the Most Outstanding Player in the South Region.
That ability to shoot the long ball well will help Edwards cement his place in the NBA, as that outstanding run combined with solid play in Summer League convinced the Celtics to sign Edwards to a guaranteed contract. While not all second-round picks are able to get signed at the end of Summer League, it was obvious Beantown needed to lock down Edwards, as he posted the highest scoring average for a Celtics Summer League player since 2004.
It is more obvious Edwards will be able to come off the bench and score in bunches for the Celtics this upcoming season. As long as he can remain a competent defender and help create shots for his teammates, he should be a solid contributor for the Celtics, and he can potentially grow to be even more than that in years to come.