“With the first pick in the 2020 SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select...”
Anthony Edwards, Guard (University of Georgia)
Full transparency — this pick was made a little over a week ago when the lea leaves and smoke screens were trending more towards Edwards, and less towards LaMelo Ball (with 94% of precincts currently reporting). Also, it should be noted that Site Managers at SBN were forbidden from making trades (our moratorium hasn’t been lifted yet either), so attempting to move back (the ONLY right answer in my eyes) was off the table.
If you’re a frequent visitor of Canis Hoopus, you know by now that we’ve written over 10,000 words on both Edwards and Ball, and the consensus as we draw closer to the NBA Draft is still extremely mixed. While the former Georgia Bulldog possesses the elite size and athleticism that most GM’s fawn over nowadays, his overall motor seems to resemble more of a Prius than a F-150, giving many Timberwolves fans (myself included) horrible flashbacks to another former #1 pick.
On the other hand, the Chino Hills product obviously has his own warts as well — most notably his funky jump shot and matador-like defense (and that’s before you factor in his WWE heel of a father). At 6’8”, Ball would bring elite height and length to the PG position, and would obviously push recently acquired D’Angelo Russell to more of an off-ball role (which is totally fine). The red flag (at least for me) when making the pick revolved around just how brutal the defensive pairing of Ball and Russell would appear to be, and while attempting to win games next season 140-135 seems fun on the surface, it doesn’t really provide much relief to my already growing anxiety.
But back to the original pick — Edwards confirmed recently that he did indeed work out privately for the Timberwolves (shocker), and that the frigid temps of Minnesota winters are not a deterrent whatsoever:
Potential No. 1 pick @theantman05 told @TheUndefeated he wants to be drafted 1st by @Timberwolves & he isn't scared of Minneapolis' cold temperatures. "I'm not going to play basketball in the snow. So, I'm not worried about it," Anthony Edwards. Story in @TheUndefeated on Friday pic.twitter.com/oSXql5Bd87— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) November 10, 2020
(Technically speaking, playing basketball outside may be the safest option until we get COVID-19 under control, but that’s another topic for another day).
If you’re looking for signs of maturity from the just-turned-19-year old, Edwards discussed during a recent media availability that one of his focuses going forward was paying closer attention to his diet, which as Jon Krawczynski points out below is a pretty good sign for such a young prospect:
During his predraft availability Anthony Edwards says the biggest adjustment he will have to make is changing his eating habits. That’s some pretty good awareness for a young player.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) November 11, 2020
If you’re looking for more information and analysis on the kid known as Ant-Man, The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks recently did a fantastic video breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of Edwards’ overall game:
His nickname is Ant-Man, but really he’s more like the Hulk.@JonathanTjarks takes a look at potential no. 1 pick Anthony Edwards. #RingerNBADraftGuide pic.twitter.com/FTwbtaM25R— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) November 4, 2020
With a little less than one week to go, expect a flurry of tweets, rumors, buzz, and plenty of smoke as we collectively get closer and closer to the first major milestone of the 2020-2021 season. Until then, feel free to roast this selection in the comment section and give me your take on who should go first overall.