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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
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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.

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“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.”

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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.”

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
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