ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Anthony Edwards stepping into larger leadership role for Timberwolves

With injured Karl-Anthony Towns now out for several weeks, the timing is perfect

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant protects the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards defends on Nov. 30, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant protects the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards defends on Nov. 30, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINNEAPOLIS — As Anthony Edwards goes, so go the Minnesota Timberwolves. That has largely held true since the rookie guard entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick in 2020.

When Edwards brings it, the team’s flame is ignited and Minnesota seems to find another gear. Few players have that type of consistent effect. It’s why he is the barometer for Minnesota’s team success.

MORE MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES COVERAGE:
Pro
Edwards held under 20 points for first time since Jan. 18
Pro
Naz Reid had 24 points, 13 rebounds starting in place of the injured Rudy Gobert.
Pro
The loss came after defeating the Kings at home on Saturday
Pro
Minnesota has bested 3 of the top 4 teams in the West to kick off what was supposed to be a brutal run of 11 games
Pro
Minnesota improved its record to 11-4 in January, including winning its last 3 games
Pro
‘Making the right play,’ Edwards said, is working for teammates and the young guard himself
Pro
Kyle Anderson stepped up again to provide a veteran presence, keeping the Grizzlies from mounting a comeback
Pro
A strong month of January has pushed Minnesota back toward the middle of the Wester Conference race
Pro
New Orleans has now lost six straight games.
Pro
Anthony Edwards and Nate Knight provided the necessary jolt for Minnesota to escape with a 113-104 victory.

“It’s energy. When he plays with great energy, it pulsates through our guys,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “He makes big plays, he makes plays that can swing a game. He’s always had a great sense of timing.”

In a way, Edwards has always led through his play. But more recently, the 21-year-old is beginning to find more ways to guide the Timberwolves.

“His voice in the locker room is growing and growing, and it’s great to see and much needed for this team. He’s got it in him,” Finch said. “He’s an extremely likable teammate, everyone believes that when you have him on the floor, he’s going to do great things, and now he’s learning how to back it up with some words to help his teammates as well.”

ADVERTISEMENT

That likability is so important for a player trying to lead a group of adults. Edwards has strong relationships with so many of his teammates. Pair that with his general stature within the league and it’s only natural that others will listen when he speaks.

Edwards’ credibility is amplified when he goes out of his way to highlight others. In his postgame television interview on the court after Wednesday’s win over Memphis, Edwards mentioned just about every teammate’s name. In his locker room interview, the first person he brought up was rookie Wendell Moore Jr. The sentiments he speaks always come off as genuine to those around him.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards dunks the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 30, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards dunks the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 30, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports

“Big teammate guy, big people person, cool as hell,” Wolves guard Jaylen Nowell said. “He’s great for us.”

The ability to lead is clearly there, and Edwards has previously expressed the desire to be that type of locker room presence. It’s now on Edwards to consistently do it. He said team veterans such as Austin Rivers, Taurean Prince and Kyle Anderson have helped him learn when to speak and the proper messages to convey.

It’s only natural that with Karl-Anthony Towns now out for several weeks with a calf injury, Edwards could step into an even larger leadership role. But Finch said this growth in Edwards’ game has been weeks in the making.

“It had been coming along before KAT’s injury,” Finch said.

There has been no better time for Edwards to seize the reins than now, when Minnesota needs it the most.

“For him to do what he does consistently night in and night out,” Nowell said, “I just love seeing it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
What To Read Next
Pro
The Twins vice president for personnel died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer
Pro
After much publicity about Apple’s deal with Major League Soccer, the MLS Season Pass streaming service has arrived
Pro
Minnesota also re-signed forwards Bridget Carleton, Damiris Dantas, Nikolina Milic and guard Lindsay Allen
Pro
An all-star as recently as 2021, Gallo, 29, had the worst year of his career at the plate during a 2022 season split between the Yankees and Dodgers.