It’s scary how much basketball I watch, the fact that I’m texting my best friends on a Tuesday night about Isaiah Hartenstein is completely and utterly unhealthy. One thing I’m certain about after watching thousands of hours of hoop is that all of the great scorers share two traits: athleticism and an elite feel for the game.
Neither of these traits is measurable by a number or stat, you kinda just know when you watch a guy play — “yea, nobody on the other team can guard that dude.”
That dude is Anthony Edwards.
Edwards is the NBA’s next super-duper star. He’s a 20-year-old shooting guard who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves and if you don’t know who he is I’m sure you will soon.
Edwards was drafted № 1 overall in the 2020 draft after attending Georgia for one season. A college whose mascot perfectly personifies the type of player that Edwards is — a bulldog.
The Georgia product is a big guard, built like Chuck Hayes with the skills of Dwayne Wade and Tracy McGrady. One thing that’s for sure, Edwards knows how to put the orange ball in the red cylinder.
He uses his slick dribble and brute strength to create space for his shot. While his release is unorthodox, Edwards has quickly proved that his outside shot could translate to the NBA game. He shot 29-percent from deep at Georgia, but similar to Scottie Barnes, his shot improved at the next level.
You might still be wondering: “What is feel for the game?” It’s a phenomenon I’ve tried to explain before but you really have to watch the game and play the game at somewhat of a high level to fully understand it.
Here’s how I’ll explain it. Let’s say you have a really close friend, you guys can probably tell how the other one is feeling without it being verbalized. “Feel for the game” is similar: you kinda just know how to get to your spot on the court to get a shot off no matter how the defense is playing you. You can tell when it’s time to go into attack mode, or when it’s time to defer to your teammate.
Edwards has that, in abundance. He’s only 20-years-old, but he’s already shown that he has the potential to be the best player in the league someday. When I say that he’s already a one, I mean if you were starting your franchise right now you can probably count the guys you would take over Edwards on one hand.
Although his shooting numbers at Georgia were far from impressive, Edwards’ ability to use his dribble to create space and his ability to jump out of the gym made him the indisputable № 1 pick.
His rookie season started off slowly, but in the second half of the season, he averaged 23.7 points per game, 3.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. The Timberwolves quickly realized he had a high defensive ceiling as well and began to put Edwards on the opposing team’s lead guard.
In his second season, Edwards picked up right where he left off. He’s averaging 22.2 points per game and improved his three-point percentage from 34-percent to 36-percent on two more attempts per game.
Edwards is very good and I believe we are one season away from him leading a Timberwolves playoff run. He’s young so he has room and time to improve. One area that needs improvement is his decision-making.
Edwards is always in attack mode, looking for a way to devastate the defense and put the ball in the cup. The next step is to become a playmaker and trust his teammates. Edwards assists to turnover ratio of one-to-one needs to be better for the Timberwolves to reach the pinnacle.
While Edwards’ decision-making is expected for a 20-year-old, his leadership ability is that of a veteran player.
In a recent interview after the Timberwolves four-game losing streak, Edwards said, “I told KAT the best way to beat [the double team], is to go quick. I told him at halftime, you waiting on the double. You telling them ‘yeah come double me’. ‘Now you the best player on the floor, they taking you out of the game. Then when they double you, they not rotating, they staying with me and making everybody else beat you.’”
Towns heeded the voice of the young superstar. In the next four games, he averaged 28 points per game and eight rebounds, while the Wolves went 3–1.
The future is so bright and the present is so fun for the Timberwolves after striking gold on Edwards. This season their core is learning how to play with one another and I believe next year they will challenge the goliaths of the western conference.
P.S. If you wanna fall in love with this kid like I already have, watch this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyNodFiofS8 and this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fzBaYgDLPI (yes they called a foul :/) and this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4z9lJ31m_I Like how can you not love this dude?