Beaten for the title of best rookie despite having been the best scorer in his bottle class with 19 points (plus 5 rebounds and 3 assists) on average, Anthony Edwards has already turned the page of his rookie season.
The explosive Wolves rear unfortunately had to leave the Team USA camp in Las Vegas earlier than expected due to an ankle injury, but the former Georgia prodigy is keeping morale high. For him, his second season in the NBA is going to be even bigger.
« A lot of people will have to worry about »
“Once I know what I can do, a lot of people will have to worry about”, he says bluntly for Slam. « Once I know, ‘OK, this is what I’m going to do, this is how I’m going to score every time, these are the three ways [par lesquelles je peux scorer]’. Once I get to this point, there will be nothing more to do. After watching all these videos [pendant le All-Star Break], I understood that there were three ways for me to score. And that’s what I did afterwards. But I can’t talk about it because then they will know how to defend on me. «
A natural talent, arriving late in basketball after having long thought of a career in American football, Anthony Edwards has indeed had two seasons in one this year. Landed in the midst of a pandemic in the Great League, it started slowly before really taking off after the All-Star Game break.
His statistics speak for themselves: 15 points (at 37% success including 30% at 3-points), 4 rebounds and 2 assists before the All-Star Break and 24 points (45% success including 35% at 3 -points), 5 rebounds and 3 assists after!
“I work with these two preparers, Justin Holland and Kierre Jordan. We were making video and I was watching all the shots that I missed. I wasn’t jumping. Most of the 3-pointers I missed, I wasn’t jumping. Or there was something else that I wasn’t doing well. I just worked on video and it worked for me. When I came back it was much easier. I saw a lot of videos during the All-Star break, that’s for sure! «
« I never did videos, but now I watch a lot »
By the simple observation of his gestures, and a reframing of his personal trainers, Anthony Edwards set the sights to finish his season of debutant in cannonball, including two games at 42 points (against the Suns and the Grizzlies) which the brought in an elite group.
“I never did videos, but now I watch a lot. It’s good because you see what the defense is giving you and you can go to the gym afterwards to work on that shot. ‘Okay, they give me that half-shot, I’m going to go to the gym and I’m going to work on that shot for three hours.’ And the next day, I’m going to do it again until I feel like I have it under control. «
Still raw despite his already remarkable offensive skills, Anthony Edwards also has the personality that is going well to become a superstar in the NBA. As Ricky Rubio told him during the season (the Iberian point guard Anthony Edwards affectionately calls « the team’s uncle »), he would like to have his self-confidence. Nothing seems to disturb this young Wolf!
Truth be told, this is not quite true. Anthony Edwards admits to himself that each of his slightly exceptional performances would in fact have been caused by an opposing fan who was a little too aggressive.
« Most of these games where I play pretty well, it’s because a fan told me something »
« I believe that a fan [à Phoenix] told me something, and it got me started. Most of these games where I play pretty well, it’s because a fan told me something. I don’t even remember what they told me. I just remember there was something. I was like, ‘Ah, really, that’s how it is, very good!’ And then I started to chain the baskets together. «
So if you don’t want to take a storm of baskets from Silver-Handed Anthony Edwards, you’d better keep quiet. What the Wolves don’t plan to do next season. With his young trident, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards, Minnesota wants to taste the playoffs again.
A laudable ambition but inevitably difficult to achieve in the formidable Western Conference …
“When your team wins games, that’s where the individual rewards come in, I think. KAT and D-Lo texted me and it just said, ‘Playoffs!’ We want to play the playoffs next season. If we get there, the individual rewards will come because we win. I don’t even really think about the individual rewards. I especially want to bring the team to the playoffs. «
Named in the best five rookie of the year, failing to have obtained the individual trophy, Anthony Edwards is already looking ahead. After having multiplied the disappointments in recent years, the Wolves want to get out of the woods for good … Have they finally found the leader of the pack to match their ambitions?