Carsen Edwards plans to impact games with more than his shot

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E
By WEEI 93.7

One name that pops up when discussing Carsen Edwards is former Celtics guard Eddie House. Edwards has a fast motor, like House did, and can also put up points in a hurry — because of his three-point shooting, again, just like the retired guard.

It’s hard to ignore the rookie’s ability from long-range. It’s also easy to think he’s a one-trick pony because of his size.

But Edwards doesn’t solely see himself as a three-point threat.

Before he went off in Cleveland, Edwards went 1-for-3 from deep against the Cavs in Boston. In Orlando, Edwards went 1-for-7. Like anyone else, there will be nights where his shot isn’t there — there will be other days where he’s unconscious.

Either way, he doesn’t see himself as a one-dimensional scorer.

“I’m just taking what shots are open,” Edwards told WEEI.com after the 2-for-10 stretch from three. “I’m going to continue to shoot. I understand what my percentages are and how I’m shooting. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to take good shots, open shots.”

Now, Edwards could be a three-level scorer and still think three-first. Then, if his range isn’t there on a given night, he could work his way inside to provide offense.

That’s not his approach entering the game. But he will identify when his shot isn’t where it needs to be.

“That’s logical thinking. That’s something I do, too — if you’re not hitting from outside, try to get closer to the rim, get an easier shot,” Edwards said. “That’s your approach, but coming into the game, I feel good. Some shots may not fall, but (I’ll) continue to work and make good decisions.”

Of course, Edwards offense gets all the attention. That’s the nature of things.

Although he has a 6-foot-6 wingspan, his 6-foot frame creates cause for concern on the defensive end, particularly if teams look to target him on pick-and-rolls with the hope of forcing a mismatch.

One thing Edwards does right, defensively, is bring the effort. He displayed that throughout the preseason and in summer league.

Along with Brad Stevens and the rest of the coaching staff, Celtics assistant coach Kara Lawson, who works with Edwards during individual work, identifies effort as the starting point for players on the defensive end — and “that’s a big old box (Edwards) checks.” From there, the staff is giving him the tools to make an impact on the defensive end, as well.

“Once you get past (effort), it comes down to your knowledge of the personnel that you’re playing against and the schemes that you’re playing against. In simple terms: the players and the plays,” Lawson told WEEI.com. “When you’re a rookie, you haven’t had experience with the players or the plays because this is your first time playing against Philly. So you’ve never matched up against Ben Simmons or Josh Richardson or Tobias Harris or Al Horford — you just haven’t. So there’s no recall to say, “Oh, this works against him,” or “I’ve done this before,” or whatever. Same thing with plays. There’s not a general knowledge of, these are the types of sets Philly runs. And I’m using Philly only because that’s who we play next. But you can go on with every team.

“You have to find a way to grow in that area as the season goes along. That’s what we’re working on, the knowledge of the players and the plays. And understanding where he needs to be on those plays against which players. Then you add a third piece to that — it’s really complicated in this league to be a young player — our scheme versus their players and their plays. What are we trying to do, as the Boston Celtics, to defend this player or this play? And all of that’s going on and you have five seconds before that happens and a split second to figure it out when it happens in the game because these guys are so athletic and so smart. So, we are just working on the general knowledge of players, plays and our scheme. Making sure, in our scheme, he’s in the right spots and making sure when he’s playing those players or those plays that he’s does the right thing, he’s taking away the right things — whatever we deem that. Different teams, different thing we’re trying to take away, or a different player, different thing we’re trying to take away. It’s a lot.”