In the past year, it has pretty much been basketball, basketball, and even more basketball for Anthony Edwards.
Sandwiched between this regular season and the previous one were a postseason series against the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets and a stint with Team USA in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Manila, Philippines.
Through it all, Edwards was the bonafide leader, whether it was the Minnesota Timberwolves or Team USA (and even if Austin Reaves was HIM). Need someone to set the tone offensively? Call on Edwards. Need a shot in crunchtime with the game on the line? Count on the former Georgia Bulldog to answer the call.
All of those stints, though, unfortunately ended in disappointment, a point not lost on Edwards, who entered this season with extra motivation.
And against the Boston Celtics, we may have seen the start of his revenge tour.
The Celtics were undefeated entering their matchup with the Wolves, with neither team giving an inch through four quarters. The tightly-contested game ended up going to overtime, where Edwards pretty much took over and led Minnesota to a gutsy 114-109 victory.
Since Kevin Garnett left in 2007, the Wolves had to deal with tons of losses, young players like Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins, who were not yet ready to lead a franchise, and Karl-Anthony Towns, whose all-talk, no-bite posturing has left many wondering if he would like a mic in front of him instead of the ball in his hands. The arrival of Edwards, though, was the turning point.
When the game hangs in the balance, best believe that Edwards will be there. He’s not afraid of the moment nor the risk of injury, something that could at times worry Minnesota’s front office. Of course, we have the benefit of hindsight, but Wolves management was wise to select Edwards over James Wiseman (who has faced struggles even with the Detroit Pistons) and LaMelo Ball (who might like to move on if his situation with the Charlotte Hornets doesn’t get better).
It may be a small sample size at the moment, but Edwards is already having a career year number-wise. Yet beyond the stats, it’s his no-quit, go-for-the-win mentality that has helped bring the franchise to perennial playoff contender status and endeared him to the city of Minnesota. For all his faults, Towns remains a talent and the Wolves have found solid pieces to complement their franchise players. However, Edwards has gotten over the hump of crunch-time execution, which becomes of greater importance when it comes to the postseason.
In his first few years, Edwards has leaned on his ability and athleticism to get to the basket for scores. Since then, he has continued to emerge as a playmaker, and the reads he makes on the fly only add credence to his growing penchant for influencing the game in other ways. With his current trajectory, he could eventually be at the top of the MVP conversation.
Anthony Edwards will continue to have basketball, basketball, and even more basketball from here until perhaps the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. Edwards clearly doesn’t mind being front and center, and that should bode well for the outlook for the Minnesota Timberwolves and perhaps, even that of Team USA.