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June 05, 2019

Sixers draft workout notes: Carsen Edwards unfazed by height concerns heading into NBA

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060519-CarsenEdwards-USAToday Jamie Rhodes/USA Today

Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3) reacts during the second half in the championship game against the Virginia Cavaliers of the south regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at KFC Yum Center.

The Sixers are going to have a ton of draft workouts over the next few weeks, and with a handful of second-round picks, there will be what will feel like an endless amount of candidates to be selected. With that in mind, we will be keeping track of a lot of the guys who make it through the doors at Camden, and what they might bring to the table. 

Here's what happened (and with who) at Wednesday's workout.

(Disclaimer: during Wednesday's workout, we weren't let in until it was basically over, so there is no feedback I can give on watching these guys play beyond what they showed in college and what the Sixers/the players had to say.)

Carsen Edwards — Purdue

Edwards was pretty easily the biggest name on the workout list Wednesday, having emerged as one of the darlings of this year's NCAA Tournament during Purdue's Elite Eight run. A pair of 42-point games against Villanova and Virginia highlighted his dominant run, and the former got him recognized while stopping through a Philadelphia-area Chipotle on Tuesday.

Being a recognizable college star doesn't always mean you're going to be able to cut it at the pro level, and the league has chewed up a lot of guys without the physical tools to create the same separation against NBA-caliber athletes. On the Sixers' side of things, at least publicly, they seem to be shrugging off Edwards' height (he was generously listed at 6-foot-1 on their workout info sheet) heading into the draft.

"He's so strong, his center of gravity is great, he's got great feet, he's got long arms, he's explosive, he can really shoot the ball and he can shoot it with range," said Marc Eversley, Philadelphia's Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. "His height is a little bit of a deterrent, but with the qualities that he has, I think he'll be fine...I wouldn't get caught up on the height thing with him. He's got a big heart, he plays hard, he competes, and he can really, really shoot the ball."

Edwards seems equally unfazed by any challenges that will be caused by his height at the next level, and he scoffed at a question he was asked Wednesday about anyone who would say he can't make it at the pro level because of his size. But don't mistake that confidence for arrogance — Edwards was critical of his performance during a workout the Sixers claimed to be impressed by, stressing that he wished he had a better showing on the defensive end of the floor.

The big draw with Edwards is as a scorer, obviously. He dropped 24.3 points per game as Purdue's engine during his final college season, and while his role/shot selection depressed his percentages a bit, there is a reason to believe he can be a high-level bench scorer in the NBA. I think he would be especially dangerous in a handoff-heavy offense like Philadelphia's, where he can receive the ball with speed coming off of a screen and hurt a defense by either rising or attacking.

He was not much of a playmaker at Purdue, and that is a bit of a drag when you combine that fact with his measurables and potential to be a liability on defense. But he has some length (6-foot-6 wingspan) to offset some of his issues and is as strong as you could hope for a player to be at his size, and in an ideal outcome, he could potentially give them scoring dynamism off of the bench they really haven't had since Lou Williams left.

Whether they value that enough to take him at No. 24 over a potential three-and-D player is another story, and Edwards has a chance to get taken before then depending on fit. But with as bad as the guard play has been in Philly, he's worth consideration.

Charles Matthews — Michigan 

We didn't get a chance to talk with Matthews on Wednesday, though he did make the standout section of Eversley's media availability.

"I think Charles Matthews on the defensive end really showed what he can do. He's long, he's high twitch, he can really get to spots, he can get into guys, " Eversley said. "He played well today."

I would have liked to ask Matthews about the experience of sitting out a year after transferring from Kentucky to Michigan and what he learned on his journey through college basketball, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Quinndary Weatherspoon — Mississippi State

A reporter who shall go unnamed was prepared to ask Weatherspoon about what it's like to learn from a father who played in the NBA, Clarence Weatherspoon. This Weatherspoon's father is a man named Tommie Weatherspoon.

Someone saved said reporter from asking this question, and while I'm happy that the man himself didn't have to go through the process of explaining this to some reporter he has never met in his life, it is a bit of a shame we didn't get to witness this moment in Awkward Scrum History.

(I will not sit here and pretend I have gone through Mississippi State tape this year. Weatherspoon has had a strong pre-draft process after being one of the standouts at the Portsmouth Invitational, and I will leave it at that.)

Eric Carter — Delaware

The local angle was catered to by bringing in the Jackson, New Jersey native for a workout on Wednesday, but he made a fatal mistake when discussing the teams he rooted for growing up.

REPORTER: Did you grow up a Sixers fan?

CARTER: Yeah, back and forth between Sixers and New York. But I mean lately, obviously, I don't know.

REPORTER: So you're a bandwagoner is what you're saying?

CARTER: No, no, I'm not a bandwagoner. I mean I liked both, [Allen Iverson] was my favorite growing up, so I was always on the Sixers. But yeah, just exciting.

I'm not in charge of the big boards around here, but that's the quote of a man who just got taken off of the board altogether.*

(*This board is completely made up and I wish Carter, a respectful and productive young man, the best as he tries to make a living playing basketball.)


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