MINNEAPOLIS - Anthony Edwards is on track to be a favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year, and he took another step in that direction on Tuesday.
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Edwards has been named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for March. It’s his second straight honor, as he earned the same award in March. He’s the third Wolves’ player to win the honor multiple times, joining Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Edwards helped lead the Timberwolves to an 8-8 record in April. He ended the month with 345 points, 82 rebounds and 53 assists. A rookie hasn’t hit those numbers in one month since Blake Griffin in January of 2011. The only comparable Minnesota rookie to do that was Christian Laettner in March of 1993. He had 347 points, 193 rebounds and 70 assists.
Over a 16-game stretch, Edwards averaged 21.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while playing more than 34 minutes per game. Edwards made 44 3-pointers in April, the most by a rookie in a single month. Edwards was the only rookie in the NBA to average 20 points per game in April.
"I don’t even think about it. I don’t think about it at all. I just try to find ways and areas that I can get better," Edwards said after Tuesday's practice.
"The great thing about Ant is he’s been really coachable. I think he’s handling it incredibly well. What it’s doing is it’s fueling his confidence," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said Tuesday. "These guys come in, they all believe they can play here in this league at a high level, and then they get here and it’s a harder than they thought it was going to be. Some guys take a while to figure that out, some guys embrace the challenge, some guys never do. Ant is obviously working through that process, and he’s an extremely confident kid. He’s staying even more confident as he proves to himself that he can do these things."
Edwards leads NBA rookies in scoring (18.5 points per game), is tied for fourth in steals (1.2) and is eighth in steals. He is second with 147 made 3-pointers, third in steals (76), third in rebounds (301) and fifth in assists (179). Edwards has 1,205 points on the season, joining Towns, Laettner, Wiggins, Isaiah Rider, Johnny Flynn, Stephon Marbury and Sam Mitchell as Timberwolves to score at least 1,000 points as a rookie.
Edwards is also the fifth-youngest rookie to reach 1,000 points in his first season, behind LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.
So far, Edwards has met expectations as the Timberwolves No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Later this year, he could join Towns and Wiggins as winners of the NBA Rookie of the Year.
The Timberwolves are 20-45 and host the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at Target Center. The Timberwolves have seven games left, and Edwards says he plans to spend a lot of early mornings and late nights in the gym working his game before next season.
What is he looking forward to working on the most?
"I ain't telling nobody. I want to come back like Houdini," Edwards said.