The NBA, and really any level of professional basketball, has embraced the role of a specialist in today's game. It's very rare to find players who can sustain above average all-around play or who possess the skills necessary to be a lockdown defender and 20 point per game kind of guy. Of course, those players exist, but they are few and far between so NBA teams have started filling the holes in their lineup with specialists to round out the needs of the team.
Fuquan Edwin was very much known as a defensive specialist coming out of Seton Hall University. He won the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award as a 6'6 wing defender in his senior season, however he also garnered overall admiration and earned a spot on the 2014 All-Big East 2nd Team. Edwin averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and an impressive 2.7 steals per game in his finale hurrah for Seton Hall as a senior.
Unfortunately, NBA scouts felt that Edwin hadn't shown enough of an offensive game, particularly from the outside, to warrant a selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. He shot a respectable 36.4 percent from 3-point range in his final college season but needed to show some improvement before he would be given a shot.
Edwin has been very impressive early on for the Sioux Falls Skyforce and is starting to earn some attention from NBA teams. Ridiculous Upside recently spoke with a member of Edwin's camp who said, "three teams proactively called in the last three days regarding Fuquan." The source continued later, saying, "several others have inquired with preliminary interest". Through the first eight games of the D-League season, Edwin has averaged 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game with splits of 49/45/72 and a true shooting percentage of 60.8.
The six 3-pointers are very encouraging in this video, but you will notice that Fuquan is scoring in a variety of ways ranging from pull up jumpers in transition, drives to the basket, and the thing I pulled when watching this game is that he shoots the deep ball with absolutely no hesitation and he can hit that shot with a hand in his face.
The key number to point out so far is that he is shooting 45 percent from outside and has already made 21 3-pointers thus far. For comparison sake, he had 45 made 3-pointers in 29 games last year with Seton Hall so he has shown some early improvement in that area specifically. Edwin is still playing his lockdown defense we have come accustomed to seeing and has already forced himself into the starting lineup. He also showed he can still produce off the bench averaging 15 points per night in three contests as a reserve.
Watching Edwin play, it's hard not to think of another former D-League guy who is now a starter in the NBA. That's Danny Green. Green was a defensive stopper coming out of North Carolina before honing his outside shot in the D-League and ultimately earning himself a call-up and signing 3-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs.
If Edwin is able to keep his scoring and shooting pace he's started the season with, we could very well see him playing for an NBA team in his rookie season. Here's a glimpse of his hot shooting so far.