If you can’t trust Anthony Edwards, you can’t trust the T-Wolves
4 mins read

If you can’t trust Anthony Edwards, you can’t trust the T-Wolves

I’m not anti-analytics, because data matters, but there’s no way to factor in things like your best player missing tipoff because he was a late arrival, or a coach pulling his second-best player when he’s on pace for a 70 burger. The Minnesota Timberwolves are a very good basketball team, by record, the best in the Western Conference. However, if DraftKings forced you to wager your house on who will come out of the West, I bet you wouldn’t stake it on the T-Wolves.

While Minnesota was still able to take care of lowly Portland, 119-114, on Monday night, star guard Anthony Edwards came off the bench because he “lost track of time.” 

The win snapped the Wolves’ two-game skid, and combined with the Thunder’s loss to the Lakers, vaulted Minnesota back atop the conference. Chris Finch’s ability to refocus his team after last season’s 1-4 implosion in the first round against the Nuggets has been impressive.

Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns are coexisting, Mike Conley is an extension of Finch on the court, and Edwards constantly does things that make you think he’s a future face of the NBA. He’s playing within the offense and better yet doing it nightly.

He’s only been held under 20 points 11 times this season*, including last night, and the Wolves are 7-4 in those games. (*Technically 12 times, but I omitted the one when he left with an injury after playing less than five minutes.) It’s a testament to his selflessness, and the talent on the roster, that the team still has success even when Ant is off.

What gives me pause are the brain farts that occasionally accompany Edwards. There was the time he used homophobic language on IG Live, or when he swung a folding chair that hit a couple bystanders after a loss in the 2023 playoffs. I know Team USA was destined to fail with the underdeveloped, misfit cast sent to Asia for the FIBA World Cup last summer, and that it’s almost an entirely different sport, yet he was the best guy, and the squad didn’t medal.

Two of three of those things are inexcusable, and so was last night’s mishap. I understand half of Minnesota’s starting five could spend the 30 minutes eating bonbons and drinking wine in the stands, and the Wolves would still beat this year’s Blazers, but, as Finch pointed out after the win, Minnesota “absolutely had to have this one.” 

While coach-speak is always a bit hyperbolic, Minnesota has only lost two in a row twice this season, and they’re in a tight race for a No. 1 seed. Every advantage is crucial when you haven’t done it yet. So you’d think Edwards would be able to make it to the Target Center in time enough for shootaround, let alone tipoff. Who knows if he was playing Fortnite or what happened? All I know is Ant is really the biggest reason to trust Minnesota.

Conley is ancient, KAT’s flailing defense gets him in foul trouble in the postseason, and Gobert’s tendency come mid-April is to get played off the floor. Edwards will dictate if Minnesota fulfills the expectations of a top-three seed in the West.

The Nuggets, Wolves and Thunder could theoretically face some combination of the Suns, Warriors and Lakers in the first round. Who do you think those lower seeds will jostle to face? I don’t want to call the 2024 Timberwolves the 2023 Grizzlies — at least not unless Ant flashes an Uzi on TikTok.

March and April are the sloggiest of all the NBA’s slogs, so I can’t blame guys for succumbing to bouts of apathy. I, too, sleepwalk through portions of my job. We all do. It’s human. Be that as it may, for professional hoopers, work starts considerably earlier than when the ball is in the air, and Anthony Edwards has yet to earn the same free pass bestowed on other established stars.

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