Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 players affected by Malik Beasley’s return

Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks the ball against Robert Covington. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves players affected by Malik Beasley’s return: Anthony Edwards

No, Anthony Edwards isn’t about to see a major dip in minutes. He is, however, going to get less shots, and he isn’t necessarily guaranteed a starting role, either.

Remember, Edwards didn’t start until Game No. 18 on the season, and that was before Nowell, Vanderbilt, and McDaniels began to break out. While there have been massively impressive highs, most recently the 42-point outburst in the win at Phoenix, Edwards has struggled mightily with shot selection and defensive effort at times.

Just in the past week, Edwards has twice been on the bench as the Wolves attempted feverish comebacks down the stretch in the fourth quarter. That includes Friday’s 22-0 run that led to a win over Houston; the Wolves’ sudden dominance came entirely with Edwards on the bench.

During Beasley’s 12-game absence, Edwards has averaged 23.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. It looks nice, but he’s also shot just 40.3 percent from the field and 31.2 percent on 3-point attempts while launching 21.5 field goals and 9.1 3-pointers per game. He’s also committed 2.6 turnovers while playing 35 minutes per contest.

In the 33 games he played with Beasley, Edwards averaged just 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. The shooting percentages were similar (37 percent from the floor and 31.6 percent on threes) but he averaged only 28.7 minutes per game and was the third option on offense most nights.

Now, with a healthy Beasley and Towns, Edwards will return to being the third option. When D’Angelo Russell returns from his injury in the next week or two, he’ll slide to fourth.

Can the rookie resist simply launching long 3-point attempts or dribbling into contested mid-range jumpers when he’ll get fewer touches overall? It will be a delicate balancing act for Finch and the coaching staff to keep their talented 20-year-old involved while still giving plenty of opportunity to Towns, Beasley, and Russell.

Even if Edwards’ minutes remain in the same neighborhood as they have in Beasley’s absence, he’ll need to make an adjustment in terms of his involvement in the offense.