MINNEAPOLIS - In a season that’s been impacted by COVID-19, blown fourth quarter leads and another disappointing start, there’s been one consistent bright spot for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It hasn’t taken long for Anthony Edwards, the No. 1 overall pick out of Georgia, to make an immediate impact. With Karl-Anthony Towns out most of the season, first due a wrist injury and most recently testing positive for COVID-19, Edwards has become the team’s No. 3 scoring option behind Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell.
Edwards has played in all 21 games, and has started the last four. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He’s also shooting better than 37 percent from the field, and 33 percent from the perimeter.
Wolves coach Ryan Saunders attributes his early success to his work ethic.
"He’s a worker and he’s the type of guy, we practice and then we fly to OK City yesterday, he’s the type of guy you’ve got to take balls away from because he wants to keep shooting," Saunders said. "He’s a worker, so it’s not by accident."
Edwards has scored in double figures in all but five games this season, and in his four starts, he’s averaging nearly 17 points per game. Edwards has made it a point of emphasis to attack the basket early in games, both to get easy scores and set up his teammates.
"Just being aggressive and being able to find my teammates. I feel like if you start off finding your teammates first, then they kind of forget about you and that’s when you kind of pick and choose when you want to get downhill," Edwards said.
The tough part for the Wolves is so far, it’s not translating to wins. They won the NBA Draft Lottery last year after finishing 19-45, and they’re currently last in the Western Conference at 5-16.
The Wolves have lost two straight, are 2-8 in their last 10 games and blew a 16-point fourth quarter lead in a 100-98 loss at San Antonio Wednesday night. Patience is running thin among Wolves fans, so for now, they’re left to enjoy watching the No. 1 overall pick develop into a future star.
"Having somebody else that can put pressure on the rim, we haven’t had a whole lot of guys that attack the rim with force like he does," Saunders said.