Team USA remains at the forefront of the upcoming FIBA World Cup, but all eyes are centered on its electrifying guard, Anthony Edwards, known affectionately as “The Antman.” The 22-year-old is something, so comparisons are through the roof.
While it’s obviously fun, light-hearted exaggeration, we can probably call it some good ‘ol manifestation too. Either way, us hoops fans are being treated to great basketball.
Monday’s performance vs. Germany
Edwards helped power Team USA into a come-from-behind, 99-91 win over Germany during Monday’s tune-up contest, dropping a game-high 34 points alongside six rebounds, two blocks, and four three-pointers. He was a solid source of energy while in a tough stretch as USA had to claw their way back from a 16-point deficit in the second half. His defense played also played a part in holding the Germans to six scoreless minutes in the all-important fourth quarter.
Showing up wherein expectations are high, all while everyone is targeting to limit your presence, doesn’t go unnoticed by coaches, so Team USA head coach Steve Kerr showered his guard with praises after the game. Kerr is well-aware of Edwards’s place in the roster:
“He’s unquestionably the guy … You can see he knows it. But now the team knows it, and I think the fans see it. … He genuinely believes he’s the best player in the gym every single night. And he’s such a dynamic young player. I think he’s taking a leap.”
Edwards has been on an upward trajectory since stepping into the league. Each season has witnessed his evolution, a testament to his unwavering commitment to improvement. With remarkable athleticism and versatility, he has showcased his ability to score from anywhere on the court. Whether attacking downhill with finesse or draining three-pointers from beyond the arc, Edwards possesses an offensive arsenal that keeps defenders on their toes.
What’s also nice is it extends beyond scoring alone. He’s a capable defender who plays passing lanes with a keen eye. The potential to be a true bonafide two-way weapon is there, and it’s been great to watch it progress up every so often. We’ll see how quick and how well he can put it together.
The 2022-23 season was huge for Edwards. He averaged career-highs 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, and earned his first All-Star selection. He also helped the Timberwolves clinch their second-straight playoff appearance and engage in a competitive, 4-1 series with the eventual champion Denver Nuggets. Some even say they gave Denver its toughest competition in the postseason, including former Nuggets key bench guy Bruce Brown.
‘The Man’ in Minnesota?
This FIBA stint can only boost Edwards’s confidence and expand his skills, and it’s simply intriguing to wait as to which heights he can bring the T-Wolves in. With the steady climb on his game and ranks among the rising stars in the league, there is a foregone conclusion that he will soon surpass teammate and more established All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns as the main man in Minnesota – if he hasn’t already.
Hopefully, the cliché storyline between two young stars don’t fall into place, and jealousy or any sort of beef can be avoided. The hope is to have the two collaborate better down the line since they have skillsets that complement each other very well.
For now, though, let’s enjoy ‘Antman’ exploding every time he’s on the floor. There’s more to come, both in FIBA and the upcoming NBA season.