From superstars like Anthony Davis to full-fledged busts like Kwame Brown, there’s no debating the amount of intrigue and excitement that surrounds the NBA Draft every single season. Each year, opinions constantly swirl about who should be the first overall selection and the ensuing draft has been no different. Right now, there are three legitimate contenders worthy of going first: Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, and LaMelo Ball. There’s a case to be made for each of these prospects and this article will take a closer look at all three…
For starters, it should be noted that the probability of all four guys becoming superstars in the NBA is insanely unlikely. Out of the top four picks each year, one is guaranteed to not be an All-Star. There have been a few drafts that almost disbanded this theory, mainly in 1996 and 1999 (but the 2003 draft also deserves a hat tip), where three were All-Stars and the final player still ended up being an extremely useful piece (Marcus Camby and Lamar Odom). However, this notion has been nearly foolproof. So, first we need to dive into each of their games and then figure out which of these four has the highest bust probability.
Beginning with Edwards, who has everything one would desire from a prototypical shooting guard in the modern era. Blessed with positional size, elite physical tools, and the ability to be the focal point within a potent offensive attack, there’s already a lot to like. He’s the most highly-touted prospect that Tom Crean has ever coached and has handled the reigns exceptionally well thus far. Through 32 games, Edwards is posting a nightly average of 19.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.5 SPG with shooting splits of 40/29/77 in 33 minutes. He’s doing it with an incredibly balanced approach, posting-up, consistently getting to the basket, taking trips to the line, working to attack the midrange, and launching bombs from well beyond the three-point line. Right now, there’s really nothing outside of his comfort zone.
Although they share many similarities, Edwards is already much better than someone like Ben McLemore at the same stage. His current numbers are almost identical to Andrew Wiggins’ lone year at Kansas and his play style is comparable to a more athletic version of Devin Booker. In a neutral sense, one could see his NBA identity being similar to someone like J.R. Smith. Those names might seem lofty, and there’s no guaranteeing that he’ll even reach the level of a McLemore in the NBA. However, there is more than enough to be optimistic about, especially with the dearth of off-guards in the League.