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Anthony Edwards viewed as less risky than LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, per execs

NBA Draft, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball

Executives around the league will have to navigate the current climate to evaluate their prospects as they head into the 2020 NBA Draft. Some front-office heads view No. 1 overall prospect Anthony Edwards as the safer choice in the top three, a less-risky option than LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman.

Edwards, who hung among the top three choices for most of the collegiate season, has recently vaulted into a potential No. 1 pick largely due to his all-around talent.

The Georgia shooting guard is another “one-and-done” player, averaging 19.1 points through 32 games in 33 minutes per game, a body of work nearly twice that of Wiseman and Ball combined.

Couple that with his 6-foot-5, 225-pound NBA-ready frame, and he is by far the least risky choice of the three.

“The knock on him was that he was not consistent,” one Eastern Conference general manager told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. “I think he knew he was better than everybody else and turned it on and off. But if he put on an NBA uniform tomorrow, you’d think he’s an NBA player. Is Ball physically ready? Probably not. And there are questions about Wiseman’s motor.”

Ball already has external issues that must be addressed. His father, LaVar Ball, is a liability hanging over his head, as executives are anxious to know just how involved he will be during the draft process and his NBA career.

The coronavirus outbreak, in a way, will separate the true hard-scouting teams from the pretenders.

“This is a basketball person’s draft, based on actual basketball play,” said an Eastern Conference front-office executive. “The high-ranking decision-makers who have been working all year aren’t going to miss a beat. It’s going to expose the GMs who were flying around with their teams staying in Four Seasons rather than going [to scout] in Dayton, Ohio, and staying at the Courtyard Marriott. If there are no more data points coming in, they’re screwed.”

Wiseman, who only played three collegiate games, and Ball, who played in 12 games before ending his season with an injury, have a lot of unexplored variables, which will make them a tougher choice.

Executives who expected to have pre-draft workouts or the ability to interview these players will now be forced to go with whatever sample size they’ve been able to collect. Those who have done their homework early will assess risk and reward properly, while those who didn’t will have to leave it to luck.