July 18, 2024

Former Kentucky Wing Shines in NBA Summer League After Tough Debut

Justin Edwards, a former Kentucky wing, had an impressive bounce-back game after a rough start in his NBA Summer League debut. Despite going undrafted in the 2024 NBA Draft, Edwards has shown flashes of potential, albeit inconsistently.

In his first game with the Philadelphia 76ers, Edwards struggled, going scoreless in 18 minutes with a 0-for-2 shooting performance. However, he still managed to post a game-high +11 in his minutes on the court.

On Tuesday, Edwards rebounded in style, scoring 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. He also contributed three rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in 25 minutes of play.

The 6-foot-8 wing had similar consistency issues at Kentucky, which led to his drop from draft boards. After starting the season strong with double-figure scoring in seven of his first 11 games, he struggled to maintain that level, reaching double digits only twice in his next 14 games.

Last season, Edwards averaged 8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and shot 48.6 percent from the floor in 30 starts (32 games). He also shot 36.5 percent from three, making 31 triples throughout the season.

Mar 2, 2024; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Justin Edwards (1) celebrates during the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Once a top-3 prospect in the 2023 recruiting class, Edwards’ decline was hard to watch. Despite joining one of Kentucky’s best recruiting classes under John Calipari, Edwards often became the overlooked freshman, even though he was highly rated.

After Edwards went undrafted, John Calipari expressed his disappointment on social media. “I was disappointed he wasn’t drafted because his upside is ridiculous,” Calipari wrote. “Philly is a great landing spot for him. Coach Nurse really likes him. Tyrese and I talked. He’s going to take him under his wing. Don’t be surprised as he busts through.”

The 76ers still have several games left in the Summer League, and there’s hope that Edwards will continue to build on his strong performance from Tuesday.

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