2019 Draft Workouts: Carsen Edwards

May 21, 2019 - Purdue point guard Carsen Edwards speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.

Draft Workouts 190521 - Workout 2

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2019 Draft Workouts: Carsen Edwards

May 21, 2019 - Purdue point guard Carsen Edwards speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
May 21, 2019  |  01:52

2019 Draft Workouts: Derrik Smits

During the Pacers' second pre-draft workout, Butler center Derrik Smits -- the son of Pacers legend Rik Smits -- had the opportunity to show off his skills. Despite hurting his wrist during the workout, Smits was thankful for the opportunity and explained what areas of his game he's working on.
May 22, 2019  |  02:13

2019 Draft Workouts: Nicolas Claxton

Georgia center Nicolas Claxton spoke to Pacers.com about his pre-draft workout. He talked about the boost he's received after a strong combine performance in Chicago and what he believes he could bring to an NBA roster.
May 22, 2019  |  01:43

2019 Draft Workouts: Lamar Stevens

May 22, 2019 - Penn State guard Lamar Stevens speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
May 22, 2019  |  01:21

2019 Draft Workouts: C.J. Elleby

May 22, 2019 - Washington State forward C.J. Elleby speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
May 22, 2019  |  01:15

2019 Draft Workouts: Martin Krampelj

May 22, 2019 - Creighton forward Martin Krampelj speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
May 22, 2019  |  01:46

Edwards Ready to Embrace a New Role

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The question wasn't meant to embarrass him, or make him appear arrogant. But there are some comparisons to be made between Carsen Edwards and Steph Curry.

The anything-in-the-area-code shooting range. The dazzling footwork and quick release. The willingness to defend, and to take a pounding around the basket. The calm, self-possessed demeanor.

Carsen Edwards wasn't having it, though. Meeting with reporters following his workout with the Pacers Tuesday at St. Vincent Center, he brushed off the comparison as quickly as possible.

"Not really," he said.

After a pause and nudge toward expansion, he smiled.

"He's a totally different level," Edwards said. "It would be cool to be a player like him. I'm still just getting out of college, still trying to get a team to like me, still working out and trying to prove myself. I wouldn't even put myself in a category like that.

"I'm still working, man," he added. "There's no guarantee."

2019 DRAFT CENTRAL: Complete Coverage at Pacers.com/Draft »

There's never a guarantee, or even a remote likelihood, that a player entering the draft will become another Curry, the other-worldly guard who has led Golden State into the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year. Edwards, though, appears to have the qualities that will get him into the first round of the NBA Draft in this uptempo, guard-oriented era, and that's all he needs for now.

His stunning NCAA tournament performance, in which he averaged 34.8 points in Purdue's four-game run to the brink of the Final Four, still resonates among fans and media. It included two 42-point games, including one in the Elite Eight loss to Virginia, and an average of seven 3-pointers per game. That broke the record of 5.75 per game shared by Loyola Marymount's Jeff Fryer and...drum roll, please...Curry.

Edwards said most of the NBA team representatives at the pre-draft camp in Chicago brought it up to him, but he's not trying to live off it. He knows he's in another start-up phase in his career.

"I don't try to reflect on it much anymore," he said. "Honestly, I don't even try to sell that or anything. I try to get to work and get better and be consistent."

Carsen Edwards

Photo Credit: @Pacers

Edwards interviewed with teams and worked out for teams in Chicago, but didn't participate in the scrimmages upon the advice of his agent. He has workouts scheduled with Utah, Boston, and perhaps Oklahoma City, and others are likely to follow. He played in a simulated halfcourt scrimmage toward the end of his workout with the Pacers, the portion viewed by the media.

One might think he has to prove himself as a facilitator to catch an early eye in the draft. He obviously can score, but at 6-foot won't find shots as easy to get as in college. His negative assist-to-turnover ratio at Purdue (2.9 assists and 3.1 turnovers per game last season) is a red flag, but that partially reflected his role and the personnel around him.

Edwards' coach at Purdue, Matt Painter, believes he has the skill-set to catch on and succeed in the league. The polish will come in time.

"I like him as that lead guard looking to score the basketball," Painter said. "The initial role can be that scorer in the second unit. I think that fits him initially. Then, can he grow and get to the point where he can facilitate and get people into the offense? That's something that's not natural for him. But it's the old adage, what can you do at that level and do well?

"He scores the basketball. He can hit deep threes, he can hit tough shots, he can hit shots off the dribble. It's going to be the fit and people's understanding of his strengths."

Painter believes Edwards has an "NBA body," one suited for an 82-game schedule with adults. He's quick enough to stay in front of his man as a defender and to get to the basket, he's strong enough to withstand physical play, and he's elusive enough off the ball to get open for shots.

"If you have those intangibles, you're constantly a threat on that team," Painter said. "Any time you have star power and you can put people around him who can make shots and stretch defenses, it helps with a lot of aspects of offense."

Edwards is aware his role is about to undergo a major change. Those games in which he got up 30 shots are history, at least for the foreseeable future. Whether or not he becomes a facilitator remains to be seen, but even as a score-first guard he's going to have to tame his approach.

In making the transition from college star to hopeful-and-unproven pro, he said he can draw from the example of his teammates at Purdue.

"Just being around guys who filled roles and were unselfish and kind of helped us go," he said in reflecting on his three seasons with the Boilermakers. "You kind of realize that when you leave; there are a lot of guys who sacrificed their playing styles to make sure we were a good team. I just learn from them. That's one thing I can take from being a teammate. Just being a good guy.

"I just want one team to love me. Just come in and try to play my role and be able to stick."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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