Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards quickly emerged as one of the game’s best young talents after a promising rookie campaign. Edwards’ supreme confidence also quickly became crystal clear in his brief time in the league. After the latest development concerning a growth spurt, it led him to boldly compare himself to Michael Jordan.
Anthony Edwards’ impressive rookie campaign
Edwards entered the NBA engulfed in hype with comparisons to former Miami Heat great Dwyane Wade.
The Georgia product quickly became a high-impact scorer, improving as his rookie campaign progressed along. After the All-Star break, his play lifted another level averaging 23.8 points on 45.4% shooting from the field and 34.9% from beyond the arc.
Edwards racked up several impressive scoring performances, including his 42-point outing against the Phoenix Suns. It made him the third-youngest to record 40 points in a single game behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Meanwhile, he’s the second-youngest behind James to be 19 years old or younger to have multiple 40-point games.
He’s also the first 19-year-old to register at least 40 points and five made 3-pointers in a contest. Edwards finished his first campaign leading all rookies averaging 19.3 points per contest, while his 171 made 3-pointers mark the most for a 19-year-old player in a season.
His confidence has hit an all-time high after a new development concerning his physical stature.
Anthony Edwards issues a stern warning for the rest of the NBA: ‘Don’t let me get to 6-foot-6 or I’ll be Michael Jordan’
In his brief NBA career, Edwards has quickly developed a strong reputation regarding his supreme confidence.
The 20-year-old lacks no conviction in his ability, especially after an impressive rookie campaign. His confidence has skyrocketed another level as head coach Chris Finch recently revealed that Edwards grew two inches to 6-foot-6, leading him to make a bold proclamation.
“This is a very Ant thing,” Finch said at the Star Tribune booth at the Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday. “He told me, ‘Don’t let me get to 6-6 or I’ll be Michael Jordan.'”
Michael Jordan stands at 6-foot-6 as that combined with his tremendous athleticism and talent, helped him become one of the game’s greatest players. It’s a lofty goal for Edwards, but there’s no doubt in his mind that he can elevate his game to play like arguably the greatest player in league history.
It’s a bold statement, but it speaks to his aspirations on the basketball court. The two inches may help him garner better scoring prowess while work to his benefit on both ends of the floor.
Finch also voiced that the late growth spurt may make him more comfortable using Edwards as an undersized power forward in certain lineups, hoping he becomes a better rebounder.
“He’s an extremely unique player and has all this raw ability, but he’s very literal when you coach him. Like I say to him, ‘I need you to go out and do X,’ he’ll do it,” Finch said. “We discovered in the last part of the season [when I’d tell him], ‘I need you to get seven rebounds tonight.’ We gave him goals almost every game or every period of time, so you give him stuff to focus on and he went out and did that.”
Beyond that, the promising guard clearly has some big plans ahead in his NBA career.
Timberwolves are hoping to take a massive leap forward
The Timberwolves are coming off a disappointing 2020-21 season that saw them fall well short of the playoffs.
Much of this came about due to injuries as D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns missed significant playing time. Minnesota is hoping their young core can guide the franchise back toward postseason contention.
Edwards will play a significant part in the game plan, likely taking an increased offensive role. Ultimately, the Timberwolves possess promising pieces, and they will need their young stars to lead the charge.