There was a lot of chatter coming into this season for the number one pick in this year’s draft. Anthony Edwards had a stellar season at the University of Georgia, it was only right that he’d be one of the most anticipated rookies to watch. While many insiders had high expectations for Edwards, some did not believe that he would transition to the NBA so fluidly. Through his first two months with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Edwards is making a case for a Rookie of the Year candidate.
The Timberwolves have been riddled with injuries throughout the season. As the two stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, have both missed a significant amount of games, opportunities have opened for players like Edwards and others. As Edwards pertains to play without a filter, he’s shown this season what he can do as far as scoring and providing energy on the floor.
Edwards this Season…
Edward is averaging 14.3 points per game along with 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He currently has six 20 point games and has continued to learn from them as momentum builders. The more opportunity that Edwards is given, the more he looks to take advantage.
Although Edwards shooting is having big scoring nights, his shooting numbers are still very low. The reason being is it stems from forcing ill-advised shots. Edwards hasn’t shown to become the strongest shot-creator at the NBA level. His shooting off the dribble and creating separation still needs work as he seeks to become a great scorer.
Edwards’ shooting struggles remain to be a processing development. Though, I always explain that when he is hot, he is a player that draws the defense’s attention when he is in rhythm. Throughout his big scoring games thus far, Edwards has shown to continue to be lethal on offense. When he is set for his shot, he can become a knock-down shooter. Another thing is he can also attack the paint like none other. As we saw Friday night against Toronto, Edwards can provide explosiveness and energy with his ferocious dunk on Yuta Watanabe. Edwards certainly has a lot to add to his offensive game. But he shows the potential to become a great scorer with what he currently has to offer.
Other ways of impacting the game
Outside of scoring. Edwards has impacted the game with both his perimeter defense and his rebounding. As Minnesota is placed into a zone, Edwards is affecting the defense with his reaction and attention-to-detail. His size and agility make a huge difference playing on the perimeter. Edwards has shown his shares of deflecting passes and blocking shots. His defense is not to the point where it is a first-team recommendation, but the effort Edwards displays on that end is phenomenal.
Also, another key is rebounding the ball. Edwards’ rebounding numbers have dwindled compared to his one season in college. But he displays the ability to crash the boards when needed. For a guy who loves to live around the paint, it is nearly guaranteed that Edwards should continue to grab a few boards as he battles under the basket. It is one factor in his game that he must continue to build upon in order to impact from different levels.
Edwards’ place for Rookie of the Year
As far as being compared to other rookies in his draft class, Edwards has certainly been overlooked, to say the least. The reason being is because of how terrible Minnesota has been throughout the season. Players in LaMelo Ball, Immanuel Quickley, and Tyrese Haliburton have continued to climb the ladders to be the front-runners for the Rookie of the Year award.
Despite the Timberwolves being mediocre, Edwards has continued to emerge game in and game out. His 28 point effort against the Lakers last Tuesday displayed how versatile he can become as a number one option. As Edwards continues to develop as a future all-star, his recognition as an elite talent will continue to be eye-opening.
In closing remarks, this is a statement saying that Anthony Edwards is not a bust. We understand the dominance he displayed in his one season at Georgia. Through two months of the NBA season, Edwards shows that he is adjusting to the NBA just fine. Is he the perfect player? Of course not! Edwards shows that his evolution as a player will be bright within the next five to ten years.