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Former first-overall NBA draft pick Anthony Edwards averaged nearly 20 points in his rookie season for the Timberwolves, but his latest feat may be more impressive.
At 20-years-old, Edwards grew a remarkable two inches during the offseason, catapulting him from a respectable 6’4” tall to an even-deadlier 6’6”. The extra height is already drawing lofty comparisons.
“This is a very ‘Ant’ thing,” Wolves head coach Chris Finch said Wednesday. “He told me, ‘Don’t let me get to 6’6” or I’ll be Michael Jordan.'”
For a player of his talent level to make it to the NBA as a top pick despite being one of the shorter players on the floor, and then grow into the perfect shooting guard frame, is simply remarkable. The extra inches should elevate Edwards into an elite stratosphere in terms of rebounding and shot selection.
The Wolves will now feel more comfortable playing Edwards as an undersized forward in certain small lineups where tempo is most advantageous. But when they do decide to go bigger, he should be able to draw height mismatches from the guards on the opposing team. And with increased emphasis on setting goals for the young phenom, don’t be surprised to start seeing stat lines with seven or eight boards per game.
Edwards averaged 4.7 rebounds last season, but increased that to 5.4 in his last 20 games after the Wolves put a greater emphasis on that statistic for him.
“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.”