Austin Rivers Perfectly Explains Ant’s Team USA Conundrum

Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Simmons had former Minnesota Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers on his latest podcast to discuss the Western Conference playoff picture, Kevin Durant, and the Philadelphia 76ers. But first, they did a deep dive on Ant.

Simmons starts by asking why Minnesota reporters aren’t asking ridiculous questions, like does Edwards think he can play quarterback for the Vikings over Sam Darnold?

Rivers chimes in:

“I want someone to ask, ‘Hey Ant, if you’re on Team USA with LeBron and Steph and Devin and Tatum and whoever else is on that team, you’re down one with five seconds left, do you get the shot?’

“I would love to hear what he had to say.”

Simmons proposes his theory for why Edwards isn’t on Team USA yet:

Here’s the other thing, and this is why I’m not positive, this is a guess, but maybe this is why he hasn’t been named to the team yet. Would he be okay coming off the bench on Team USA?

Because it would be, I assume, Booker would be the starting 2-guard. I’m sure that’s what they’ve thought in their head, and he’s the perfect Team USA guy.

But if you’re Ant, I’m like, ‘I’m the best player in the league. How am I not starting on Team USA?’ And he’s 22, would he be cool just being like, ‘I’m just here to help. I’ll come off the bench.’

I don’t even know if he would be wired that way yet.

Rivers had the perfect response:

That’s a good question. And it’s not even like, because I don’t want to even – to your point, we’re not trying to phrase it like he’s selfish or anything like that. It’s more just a confidence thing, to where, like, I don’t think Ant would be okay with Devin starting in front of him.

I think if it was like, a, obviously LeBron, Steph, these guys that have the catalog that they have, I know Ant, he wouldn’t mind something like that, those guys don’t play his position. We’re talking about shooting guard, I know for sure he thinks he’s better than Devin. 100%.

And I know he takes pride playing against him, and guarding him. To his credit, Ant is a two-way player. He can defend much better than Devin, it’s not even close. They’re not even close on the defensive end.

Offensively, Ant has way more capability than Devin as well. He can finish at the basket better than Devin, that’s not even close. He’s way more explosive, obviously. Devin’s not really an explosive guy. Ant is.

His finishing at the basket, his quickness, all better than Devin.

Rivers nails it. Edwards is one of America’s best young players, and he’s slowly becoming the face of the league. It’s not that he doesn’t respect the other greats like LeBron James and Steph Curry. It’s that he likely believes he should play over Devin Booker, and he should.

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