Retired NBA forward Trevor Ariza said Timberwolves' 22-year-old star Anthony Edwards would’ve been his pick to build a team around.
"I feel like he's the best player in the league right now"- Trevor Ariza
Quotes like these always come about. But Ariza was a 17-year NBA glue guy who has won an NBA championship and has gone to multiple conference finals. Young rising stars like Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Spurs center Victor Wembanyama emerge in the league. ANT was averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and assists before his hip injury, but since trying to come back he is still averaging an impressive 24.4/5.6/4.8 slash line with good defense. ANT’s scoring is what other people see him as but he has made huge jumps in other parts of his game.
His playmaking is the most noticeable part. In his most recent matchup against the Mavericks, ANT shot 3-19 from the field. In that game, though, he did tie his career high in assists with 11, which included one that led to the dagger corner three shot by point guard Mike Conley. Not only does ANT’s offense keep making huge jumps, but he has had future-of-the-league moments on both ends of the floor. For example, he locked up premier Celtics wing Jayson Tatum, then scored 8 points in overtime to beat the Celtics earlier this season.
Anthony Edwards has mostly led the Timberwolves league-best 20-5 record this season.
While this Timberwolves team is good, there are still plenty of holes ANT has to fill. The Timberwolves NET rating per 100 possessions when ANT is ON the court is +12.6. While their NET rating per 100 possessions with ANT off the court is -1.5.
Edwards will have a big test over these next 5 weeks as the Wolves play only teams with a .500 win percentage or better. The season may still be young, and moves may be made, but ANT is filling large holes for this team, and if he is able to make a deep playoff run, Ariza’s claim will be taken as obvious.