Anthony Edwards should information Timberwolves in Karl-Anthony cities’ absence

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards
photograph: Getty photographs

Rudy Gobert is NBA followers’ favourite punching bag. every time one factor goes mistaken on his crew, he’s the major particular person of us blame. It is extra possible to be that he’s French, whiny, overrated, overpaid — or all 4 — and that’s advantageous. You’re not going to take heed to me argue with Minnesota Timberwolves followers about how dangerous the commerce was, or his match is.

Be that as a outcome of it might, i would like to level out that Anthony Edwards hasn’t precisely taken the leap we thought he would possibly. The third-yr guard and former No. 1 general choose ended final season on a trajectory on par with utterly different good, youthful gamers.

Ja Morant went from 19 factors per sport to 27 in his third yr. Jayson Tatum improved his scoring common by almost eight factors from his second to third seasons. Ant gave us a style late final season and into the playoffs, dropping forty nine inside the second to final sport of the yr, 30 inside the play-in, and 25 ppg over all by the major spherical.

effectively, marginal upticks in factors (21.three to 22.6), rebounds (4.eight to 5.9), and turnovers (2.6 to three.2) aren’t what of us envisioned out of Edwards this season. He’s taking fewer threes and likewise hitting fewer of them, isn’t passing the ball elevated, and regardless of the exact confirmed actuality that he’s taking pictures extra freebies, his share from the highway has dipped.

Minnesota’s start to this season has sucked the enjoyment out of the sport, and it’s been evident on and off the court docket. The Wolves are a sport beneath .500, with an above-common offense and a beneath-common protection. The crew boasted a extreme thirteen protection by rating a season in the past, and that’s dropped to nineteenth this yr. On the utterly different side of the ball, the rating has sunk from eighth to seventeenth. And 2021’s numbers bought here in a yr after they fired their head coach midseason.

hardly ever in a place to be taught from mismatches, Karl-Anthony cities is a shell of the participant we noticed a yr in the past. He hasn’t found out the best reply to play alongside Gobert, as a outcome of the two have a destructive 1.5 level differential in 4 hundred-plus minutes collectively, and now KAT is sidelined for 4 to six weeks with a calf strain.

The state of the Western convention is such that Minnesota can most possible survive with a middling efficiency sans cities. That’s not what anyone needs although, and Minnesota is ready to extra solely as a outcome of Edwards isn’t maximizing his potential.

This isn’t D’Angelo Russell’s time to take over, and all of us know Gobert isn’t in a place to getting his personal offense. The man with the best devices to go nuts for a month stretch is Edwards. it is extra possible to be simple for him to get the identical stats in KAT’s absence as a outcome of all the pieces comes simple whereas you may probably have the variety of expertise Edwards has displayed.

He’s sleepwalking to 23, 6, and 4, however all of us know the ceiling is infinitely elevated.

the largest knock on Ant coming out of Georgia, and one which Jay Bilas consistently harped on, was his maturity. whereas i would by no means get mad at somebody for consuming an extreme quantity of Popeyes, I’ve by no means been on an NBA roster. Luka Dončić sucked down candy tea desire it was lifeblood and nonetheless put up 28, 9, and eight.

That said, it’s not the one story to make me question Edwards’ headspace. He needed to apologize earlier this yr for posting a video that contains homophobic language, which primarily tells me he should educate himself, however in addition that he hasn’t grasped how important he is to the Timberwolves group.

It seems as if the 21-yr-outdated guard noticed all of the backlash to the Gobert commerce and let it have an effect on him, which is understandable. effectively, there aren’t any excuses anymore. the factors when KAT and Gobert share the floor are gone, and lanes and alternatives will most possible be there for him if he looks like exploiting them.

When Tyler Herro said he considers Dončić, Morant, and Trae youthful his friends, we bought a very good snort. If Edwards talked like that, NBA followers would nod in settlement as a outcome of he possesses all of the bodily traits important to be on the extent of these youthful stars, and we’ve seen him go toe to toe with one. The Memphis-Minnesota sequence might’ve gone both strategy in April, and it left NBA supporters in settlement that Ant-Man was one in all many sport’s subsequent superstars.

effectively, my man, it’s time to place down the further crispy, get off Instagram, and go to work.

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