Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards made a lasting impression Saturday in his playoff debut against Memphis. Edwards kicked down the door and dominated the Grizzlies, setting a new Twolves record in scoring for a player in his first playoff game.
Edwards surpassed Stephon Marbury’s record of 28-points in his first career playoff game with a 36-point performance of his own. He also became the third-youngest player in NBA history to post a 35-point outing in the playoffs. Only Magic Johnson (42), Tyler Herro (37), and now Edwards (36) have accomplished that before the age of 21.
If it hasn’t been said already, let me be the first to say it. Anthony Edwards has arrived. He led the Twolves in scoring with 30 points in their play-in game victory over the Clippers. Then he sprints out of the gates against the Grizzlies, leading the way as the Twolves smacked them in the mouth in Game One of the series.
Maybe you hadn’t noticed, but Edwards has slowly taken over this team. He’s made his presence felt in a major way all season. In December, Edwards became the youngest player in NBA history to make 10 three-point shots in a game. If not for Edwards (and D’Angelo Russell) in the play-in game against the Clippers last week, the Twolves would’ve lost. L.A.had no answers for Edwards on the perimeter or at the basket. He simply dominated, guiding Minnesota to their first playoff appearance since 2018.
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Playing in Minnesota, most fans across the country probably haven’t seen much of Edwards in his first two NBA campaigns. Now Edwards gets to showcase his skill set in front of a national audience in this first-round matchup against Memphis. Believe it or not, we may look back at the end of this series with Memphis and say Edwards was the best player on the court. Yes, in a series that features both Ja Morant and Karl-Anthony Towns, I am saying Edwards could be the best and most impactful player on the floor.
This kid doesn’t seem to fear the moment. He’s taken on the challenge thus far of hitting big shots in big spots during the play-in and the playoffs. In the play-in game against the Clippers last week, Edwards came up with big play after big play to keep them at bay whenever LA began to make a late run. It never looked like he was shaken or rattled by that moment.
That’s exactly the type of intensity a young team like Minnesota needs. If anyone has ice water in his veins, it’s Edwards. Then he backed up that play-in performance with an even better one against the Grizzlies. And Edwards has personality on top of being a big-time baller on the court. That was evident in his reaction to Memphis fans’ “trash talk” in Game One. Edwards just smiled and continued dropping buckets on the home team.
Should Edwards continue to produce these big postseason games, the Timberwolves could advance to the second round of the postseason for just the second time in franchise history. The only other time Minnesota’s gotten past the first round was in 2004, when Kevin Garnett led the team to its lone Western Conference Finals appearance. So, there is a lot at stake here for Edwards and these young wolves.
The Twolves have the making of an organic Big Three on their hands right now. Between Edwards, Towns, and Russell, Minnesota should be around in the western conference playoff conversation for years to come. With Edwards leading the way with his play and attitude, it might not be long before we see this team back in the WCF.
During the regular season, Memphis was the big story because of the big jump they’ve made from last year to now. If they aren’t careful, Minnesota may commandeer that national spotlight. If Edwards has a say in the matter, I think the odds are now in his favor.