It is no coincidence that the arrival of Anthony Edwards two years ago coincided with the emergence of the Minnesota Timberwolves from the cellar of the Western Conference.
Last season, they made a valiant stand in the first round of the playoffs in their six-game series loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. Edwards was instrumental in making what was just Minnesota’s second playoff appearance since 2004 a reality after improving his averages across the board from his rookie campaign.
The first overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, who just turned 21 last August 5, put up 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 72 regular season appearances last year.
Edwards may be known primarily for his powerful dunks, yet he has proven to be more than that similar to a young Vince Carter. He is a well-rounded scorer and still has much room for improvement which speaks volumes about his ceiling. Last year, he only shot 44.1% from the field and made only 35.7% of his 8.4 three-point attempts per game. His scoring prowess will only grow more lethal as he gains efficiency with time.
Furthermore, he has displayed an ability to utilize his strong 6’4, 225 lbs frame on the defensive end and it is highly conceivable that he could one day become an elite defender with these tools.
Now, with the arrival of three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to bolster their frontcourt, Minnesota is expected to continue its rise up the standings. This would inevitably put Edwards, already a nightly highlight reel regular because of his overwhelming athleticism, under an even bigger spotlight.
If the 6’4 guard continues to improve at the pace that he has so far, then a first NBA All-Star game nod may very well be in the cards for him this year. Aside from his aesthetically pleasing style of play, he also has an electrifying personality on and off the court–proven by his recent cinematic debut–that will only help draw attention to his case.
The interior partnership of his two teammates Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, who both made the All-Star team last year, will likely lead to more wins for the Timberwolves, but may ultimately hurt their chances of making a return appearance. Their counting stats are anticipated to take a hit due to their overlap as two big men which would pave the way for Edwards to become their lead candidate.
Gobert and Towns joining Edwards as All-Stars should not be ruled out, although history suggests that they will have to be near the top of the league by January to make this happen. The more reasonable expectation for them this coming season is the range of the fourth and sixth seeds that typically yields a team one All-Star slot.
His draft classmate LaMelo Ball already made his All-Star debut as an Eastern Conference injury replacement last year and it is reasonable to expect that Edwards will join him by February as the second All-Star of their class.
If he does wind up as an unlikely snub this year, it is improbable that he will have to wait too long before he makes an All-Star team. He is a generational talent with limitless potential and Minnesota fans can rest well knowing that, for Edwards, this is only just the beginning.