Minnesota Timberwolves: A quest to improve Anthony Edwards’ shot profile

Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves: Evaluating Anthony Edwards’ shot selection

Edwards’ shot selection has been miserable for most of the season. It shouldn’t come as a major surprise; he’s 19 years old and was Option No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 on the University of Georgia Bulldogs just over a year ago. His first inclination is going to be to score, and that shouldn’t be held against him.

However, Edwards is only attempting 29.8 percent of his field goal attempts within three feet of the rim, a mark that ranks just 10th on the Wolves roster. His percentage at the rim continues to climb, which is encouraging given that a key aspect of how teams gameplan against the Wolves is now to attempt to deter clean shot attempts for Edwards in the paint.

But the bigger problem is that Edwards is attempting 3.4 pull-up 3-point attempts per game and he’s shooting just 29.7 percent on those attempts. He’s been fine on catch-and-shoot threes, making 34 percent on those tries, but his insistence on shooting long, flat-footed jumpers in isolation and in transition is dragging down his overall 3-point shooting mark.

Together, attempts at the rim and 3-point tries account for 70.8 percent of Edwards’ field goal attempts. If he could eschew pull-up threes for a more efficient shot, it would go a long way towards improving his all-around efficiency.

Edwards attempts 15.7 percent of his field goals from between three and 10 feet away from the rim, his third-most heavily trafficked area. But he only makes 32.6 percent of his attempts from that area of the floor, as the floater/pullup mid-range game is not exactly a forte of Edwards to this point.

While Edwards’ free throw rate has been creeping upwards of late, he still hasn’t drawn fouls consistently enough in the paint. It certainly isn’t all his fault, as a fair whistle has seemed hard to come by for the dynamic rookie. But if a few more of those attempts from three to 10 feet away are taken from within the restricted area, then we’ll see more foul calls and, in turn, an uptick in points scored.

The Ringer’s Dan Devine did an outstanding job breaking down the variety of ways in which Finch has been trying to get the ball into Edwards’ hands, primarily in dribble-handoff and pitch action, in which Edwards can take the ball and straight-line drive to the rim with little navigation needed.

But there are a couple of other areas in which Edwards has been effective thus far this year, and they have each been severely underutilized by the Wolves.