Now that three years have gone by, it’s officially time to revive the Anthony Edwards vs LaMelo Ball debate. Some thought Ball had a higher uspide and should’ve been the first-overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, but the Minnesota Timberwolves never even hesitated to get Anthony Edwards instead.

Injuries, playoff games, and great performances later, we can agree that the team couldn’t have gone wrong either way, as they’re two of the young stars of the league, and they both figure to become superstars.

LaMelo vs Edwards: A Breakdown

Then again, we also have to acknowledge that one player might be better than the other in several aspects of the game. With that in mind, we’re going to break their games down and choose one of them for now and for the future.

Scoring – Edwards

Anthony Edwards’ scoring skills were evident in Georgia, and he has made great strides in that regard since he made it to the league. He was Team USA’s leading scorer in the FIBA World Cup, and he’s taken his scoring averages up every single year he’s been in the league.

Thus far in 2023-24, Edwards is a career-high averaging 26.6 points per game on 46.6/37/87.6 shooting splits. Melo, on the other hand, has always been a pass-first kind of guy, and even though he’s become a much more aggressive shooter and scorer as the years go by, that’s not the main part of this game. As of now, he averages 24.7 points on 44% shooting.

       

Playmaking – LaMelo

Comparing LaMelo’s playmaking skills with Edwards’ is pretty much unfair, but that would be the case with almost every player in the league. He’s always been an elite passer dating back to his Chino Hills day, and it’s not just the flashy moves but the way he makes everybody around him better.

Melo averages 8.2 assists per game this season, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him average double digits in assists in the right environment. Edwards has become a more selfless player, and he’s currently averaging 5.3 dimes per game, but he’s a scorer first and foremost.

Basketball IQ – Edwards

NBA scouts weren’t so high on LaMelo Ball’s basketball IQ dating back to the NBA Draft, mostly because of his decision-making and shot selection. He’s done a great job of proving the critics wrong, but he has some worrisome tendencies every now and then, especially when the game is on the line.

Edwards has also made plenty of young player mistakes, but he’s better at taking care of the basketball. Also, perhaps because of his team, he’s not as prone to playing hero ball as Melo has been throughout the course of his young career.

Leadership – Edwards

The Minnesota Timberwolves were in desperate need of a leader. Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t a strong character, and Edwards stepped up from the very first day. He single-handedly led them to the playoffs, and he’s often uplifting his teammates, talking about how he wants to make KAT win MVP. It’s never about himself.

Melo is also a great floor general and leader on the court. Then again, the Charlotte Hornets are perhaps the most immature team in the league, always being tangled up in multiple controversies. He’s failed to lead by example and hold them accountable and make sure they always have basketball at the forefront of their priorities.

Defense – Edwards

Anthony Edwards’ defense wasn’t good when he entered the league, and neither was Melo’s. However, the main difference relies on one major thing: Effort. Edwards is making strides and taking pride in — at least — trying to guard the the rival team’s best player. He doesn’t always succeed, but he’s trying to get better on that side of the court.

Ball, on the other hand, doesn’t even try. He’s got long arms and is good in passing lanes, anticipating and getting steals in the open court. However, he doesn’t even try to stay in front of his guy when he’s playing defense, and he’s not much better as a help defender, either.

Athleticism – Edwards

Just like what happened when talking about playmaking, comparing Edwards as an athlete is unfair in most cases. He’s one of the most athletic players in the league, a guy who can take off from the free-throw line and put some of the best rim protectors on Earth in a poster.

Melo isn’t as athletic as Edwards — not many guys in the league are — and he makes the most of his God-given skills to make an impact. Edwards is fast, strong, and knows how to make the most of his physique to get to his spots and dominate smaller rivals.

Durability –  Edwards

This part of the comparison of LaMelo and Edwards might not be fair because no one wants to get hurt, but being available is also a part of the job. That’s why Edwards should also get the nod in this regard, as he’s played at least 72 games in every single season of his young career.

Ball, on the other hand, has had several ailments throughout the course of his playing days. He did play 75 games in his sophomore season, but he’s coming off playing just 36 games last season, and he was limited to 51 appearances as a rookie.

Potential – Edwards

While LaMelo Ball could still turn out to be one of the best point guards in the game, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him even become a Hall of Famer, Anthony Edwards has the potential to be one of the best shooting guards in NBA history.

We don’t mean to say that Ball is a below-average player or that there’s a huge gap between both players; it’s just that Edwards’ ceiling is higher than most player’s, and the way he’s taken leaps forward year in and year out only makes him all the more promising.

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