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2018 NBA Draft Profile: Vincent Edwards

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Vincent Edwards is a do-everything wing. Thursday the NBA will tell him if that’s his gift or curse.

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Vincent Edwards

22 years old

6’8” - 7’ wingspan - 225 lbs.

Vincent Edwards has never been deemed the best player on his team the last four years, but it could be argued that each season at Purdue, he’s been the most important.

Edwards’ biggest strength might as well be his biggest weakness.

Vincent Edwards is one of the most versatile players in the country. He became the first player in school history with 1,500 career points, 700 rebounds, and 400 assists. He joined Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine and Tulane’s Jerald Honeycutt as only the third player in the last 25 years to record 1,600 career points, 750 rebounds, 400 assists, and 150 made three-pointers. He ranks top-fifteen all time at Purdue in: points scored (15th), rebounds (11th), three-pointers (14th), three-point percentage (14th), free throw percentage (10th), assists (11th), games played (5th), games started (2nd), and minutes played (2nd).

His senior year saw him put everything together, particularly on the offensive end, collecting career highs in points (14.9) and rebounds (7.4) while continuing to be an effective distributor with the ball (2.9 assists per game).

He expanded his offensive arsenal while focusing on attacking the glass to help cover for the absence of Caleb Swanigan. An absence that allowed Vincent to shift from playing the 3 to the four. Edwards face-up game allowed him to take advantage of his quickness advantage against fours while his threat to shoot from the perimeter kept the floor spaced and gave Isaac Haas room to control the paint.

Edwards showed up for big games, often times playing huge minutes in the biggest games of his career. In four NCAA tournament appearances that spanned 8 games he averaged 16.5 points per game, 8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists while playing 32.6 minutes a game.

It’s this balance, combined with his length that will entice NBA teams. There’s not a spot on the floor that he can’t score the ball, but at the same times, there’s not a spot on the floor where he’ll likely excel against NBA athletes.

For NBA scouts and GM’s, the tough question will be, is versatility an elite skill?

But Edwards career will almost certainly hang on this question: can he defend at an NBA level? He’s shown spurts of being a solid defender, his 7-foot wingspan is great, and it’s given college basketball a lot of highlight chase down blocks. But he loses his defender too much on defense, lacks the strength to bang inside against real bigs, and appears slow-footed on defense against quicker players. Is there a defensive position for him? His body says 3 and D, but he’s never had a block or steal % above 2 in either category his entire career.

Strengths

  • Versatile scorer - capable of facing up against bigger defenders and blowing by them or using his impressive footwork and twitchy first step. Can also play with his back to the basket against smaller players.
  • Good passer - doesn’t try to do too much with the ball. Makes the simple pass. Has a good feel in transition for where his teammates are.
  • Good cutter - moves well off the ball. Makes hard, decisive cuts when his man looks to double or help.
  • Strong finisher at the rim - really worked to improve his left hand this last season. Has decent explosiveness to go with his length at the rim. Allows him to put the ball in at difficult angles. Has a nice sneak step to get to the other side of the rim quickly.
  • 3-point shot - despite the mechanical flaws, Vincent has knocked down his perimeter shots. He’s shot 40% his last three seasons on more than 3 attempts per game.
  • Transition Defense - times the chase down block well, using his deceptive length and leap to pin the ball off the backboard.
  • Offensive Rebounding - great timing and quick jumps allow him to get a lot of offensive rebounds. Knows what to do when he gets the ball.

Weaknesses

  • Slow Mechanics on Jump Shot - while effective at the college level, his mechanics getting into his shot are slow and inconsistent. He worked on speeding up his release this year, but would occasionally revert back to the slow arc above his head. A much more effective stationary shooter, struggles with hip position on catch and shoots.
  • Defense - lacks real strength to bang inside, not fluid enough to cover quicker guards with the ball. Doesn’t consistently get through picks due to bad initial position.
  • Disappeared on offense - his isolation face-up game is the closest thing he has to a go to, but had a tendency to disappear in the offense. Was much better senior year, but he still lacks some of the playmaking and ball-handling you’d like to see to consistently get a shot off.
  • Lacks elite athleticism - this plays in with the defensive struggles. Edwards is not a great athlete, his wing-span makes up for some of it, but he’ll have difficulties guarding and getting free from the better athletes in the NBA.