Anthony Edwards is Seizing His Opportunity

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy (USA TODAY Sports)

In what has become a disaster of a season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, something has emerged from a pile of disappointing team performances and losses. It is a golden opportunity for the Timberwolves as they navigate through the rest of the season, an early chance to see exactly what they have in Anthony Edwards.

Certainly Minnesota didn’t expect Karl-Anthony Towns only to play four games entering February. They couldn’t have forecasted the grocery sized list of other injuries and COVID-related absences. But with all of those missed games has come a genuine chance to cut Edwards loose and find out what they have.

It should go without saying that the Wolves won’t have all the answers they need from Edwards after one COVID-shortened season. But look at some of the other top picks in the draft.

James Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick. Even without Klay Thompson, it’s crowded for the Golden State Warriors.

Stephen Curry gets his shots every single night and rightfully so. Andrew Wiggins needs his attempts as does Kelly Oubre, whether you agree with those two getting those looks or not. While it’s not all about shot attempts, it’s noticeable that Wiseman hasn’t played one game where he’s been on the floor for at least 30 minutes and was coming off the bench┬ábefore an injury held him up even more.

Look at the New York Knicks. I know it’s blinding to the eyes but look at it damn it! They drafted Obi Toppin No. 8 overall. He started the year hobbled and was sidelined for a handful of games. But he’s healthy now and can barely sniff the floor.

Part of it makes sense: Julius Randle is having an incredible year and plays the exact same position as Toppin. But why does Tom Thibodeau insist on only giving Toppin around 12 minutes a night? Aren’t the Knicks, like the Wolves, in a position where they need to find out what the young, unproven talent can be?

I could go on and on. While Patrick Williams and Isaac Okoro have been getting the minutes, believe it or not the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers both have players who demand control of the basketball and a lot of the offensive opportunities.

Enter the Edwards situation.

Towns has been out. Jarrett Culver hasn’t played since Jan. 25th. D’Angelo Russell has been in and out of the lineup dealing with a right quad contusion. On a side note, he also flat-out hasn’t been what the Wolves thought they’d be getting when he’s been on the court.

While it’s made for some utterly draining and horrid games for the Timberwolves, it’s given them an extended look at Edwards. He’s entered the starting lineup, attempted double-digit shots in nine straight games, and become the only constant on the floor for them every night. The best ability has been his availability, so why not feed him more and more?

This Wolves season already looks lost. You hate saying it because it’s only the beginning of February but let’s face the music: They’re not going on some sort of run in this Western Conference and sneaking into a play-in game. So get ahead of things that matter, like Edwards’ growth and maturation as a player. Find out what you have. The worst thing for Minnesota would be to coddle him and limit his chances, leaving you wondering two or three years from now whether he is a star player or just a good, average starter in the league.

Throw him into fire now and give him ample experience.

Now eventually, they’ll need to see how it works with Russell, Towns, Malik Beasley, and Edwards. Can they co-exist? Is the chemistry right? Is Edwards going to be an all-star caliber player in this league for more than a decade? Is he going to be mold into a consistent perimeter threat with a solid jumper?

Most of those questions need patience and time. But for now, you take what you have. And what you have is a chance to feature Edwards as a rookie and see exactly what you have with the 19 year old rookie out of Georgia.

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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy (USA TODAY Sports)

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