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Anthony Edwards Needs to Trust Rudy Gobert

While Karl-Anthony Towns and other veterans have few issues feeding the Frenchman, Ant is seemingly reluctant.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The headline says it plainly and truthfully: Anthony Edwards needs to trust Rudy Gobert.

Now, I’d usually be the last person to make a big deal out of a statistic like this one so early in the season, when we all knew chemistry issues would have to smooth themselves out over time. Not to mention there’s plenty of other numerical noise around Kevin O’Connor’s findings here — the Minnesota Timberwolves have more players than just Anthony Edwards to feed Rudy.

But when you dive a little deeper, you see the concern in a sharper image: Edwards has assisted Gobert four times all season, per PBP Stats. That’s a stark difference between Karl-Anthony Towns (25 assists) and even D’Angelo Russell (10, a number that seems to be on its way up).

Many possessions with the ball in Ant’s hands warrant full attention from the defense, especially the rim protector — more often than not, the man guarding Gobert. Edwards has to understand his own importance in helping his teammates capitalize on their strengths.

He also hasn’t shot well enough from the midrange this season to warrant Gobert’s defender stretching out and pulling away from the rim. He’ll have to boost those percentages (25.9% short midrange, 37.5% long midrange, per PBP Stats).

These pick-and-roll lob decisions have been too few and far between from Edwards up to this point. He views Gobert as an accessory, not a weapon; a means, but no end.

Gobert hasn’t been as efficient at the rim as in years past, when he led the league in field goal percentage three of the last four seasons. He’s shooting 62.3% from the floor, his worst mark since 2017-18.

But that doesn’t warrant a freeze-out from the most dynamic perimeter advantage-creator on the roster. Even the NBA’s wrongfully favorite poster boy of immaturity, Karl-Anthony Towns, sees between the lines when Gobert isn’t as involved as the situation demands:

Gobert doesn’t have incredible ball skills, but he doesn’t need them to be effective on offense. Edwards’ ability to attract extra defenders is a gift he doesn’t know the value of — but when he does eventually scan the barcode, it’s pretty clear the Frenchman’s face will appear on the screen.

I have faith that Ant will make the right calls when he needs to offensively. But the jury might still be out on whether his lack of connection with the three-time All-Star is blindness or ignorance.

Everyone wins when this gets resolved: Gobert becomes an option for every important playmaker on the team, Edwards draws more single coverage and the Timberwolves’ collective vibe won’t be stuck on a frustrating yet truthful Tweet from national NBA media every couple of weeks.