Anthony Edwards has all the potential in the world to become a superstar in the NBA.
At just 21 years of age, Edwards has quickly become a fan favorite and is thought of as the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Entering his third season, many thought of Edwards as a top 25 player in the entire league, with expectations of becoming an All-NBA guard. With a fifth of the 2022-23 season now complete, the Wolves fanbase and Edwards have been hit with a reality check. The NBA life is extremely taxing both mentally and physically, and consistency is something that is going to take time. While frustrating to watch at times, consistency is a skill that Edwards will learn in time, thanks (hopefully) in large part to his star teammate.
Karl-Anthony Towns has frustrating flaws that are easy to focus on, both on and off the court, whether it’s for an unintentionally funny media response, another game with foul trouble, or constant arguing with the referees. Despite all of it, few have been as consistent as Towns since being drafted first overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.
The consistency on the court predominantly passes the eye test, and the numbers absolutely back it up. While being largely durable aside from the wrist issues that derailed chunks of 2019 through 2021, Towns has the ninth-most games with 20 points and the third-most double-doubles since being drafted. Aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo, no player on either list is even within four years in age of the 27-year-old Towns.
Once again, Towns certainly has his drawbacks that keep him from being the true leader on an elite team, but his offensive consistency is still admirable. Luckily for the Timberwolves, Edwards looks the part of being a real leader of a franchise. He appears to have the personality for it, despite inexcusably ignorant and immature moments, in both light-hearted and significant moments in the media or on the court. Edwards’ ability to take over a game and and inspire a crowd is an ability only a sprinkling of players across the entire league possess. We saw it on Monday night against the Miami Heat in a dominant third quarter. But from this point forward, it’s all about learning how to be consistent on the court, which Edwards is learning is largely about what happens off the court.
On the topic of consistency, Anthony Edwards has talked about still learning the necessary routines and habits.
Anthony Edwards when asked about consistency:— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 17, 2022
"For real, I'm still figuring out, man. Year 3 for me. I should be a little better as far as trying to be more consistent game by game. I'm still figuring out routines, habits, trying to find ways to continue to dominate every night"
This is an important part of the NBA life that can take role players to starters, starters to stars, and in Edwards’ case, how to go from being a star to a true franchise superstar. Many young NBA player with expectations similar to those surrounding Edwards don’t have an infrastructure surrounding them to best set them up for success. Just the opposite is true for Edwards. Throughout his young career, Ant has played with esteemed leaders Ricky Rubio, Patrick Beverley, Taurean Prince. Players such as LaMelo Ball and Jalen Green could only dream of learning from leaders like that. One of those leaders that can relate to Edwards, perhaps more than anyone else, is Towns.
Like Edwards, Towns was the No. 1 overall pick. He was expected to lift this franchise up like no one has since Kevin Garnett. While Towns is an All-NBA talent, he has never hit his true ceiling, but perhaps he’s getting there while mentoring Edwards. When asked about dealing with the hardships of being consistently joyful and effective on the court, Towns had one of his most insightful answers ever.
Asked Karl-Anthony Towns in the locker about how he might be able to bring the joy back out of Anthony Edwards' game.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 10, 2022
Ant comes up to the scrum and say, "yeah, how do you bring it out, Karl?"
They laughed, but then I thought Karl's answer was actually pretty interesting... pic.twitter.com/q3M6nohyhP
Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns have the potential to be one of the greatest scoring duos of all-time. Both players have a great deal to learn, but they can learn from and grow with each other. Towns has the veteran experience that Edwards lacks, while Ant can play at a level that elevates Towns’ game more than almost any teammate KAT has had throughout his career. The two of them have clearly bonded over the last few seasons, and both are willing to put in the work with one another. The little things matter and something as simple as getting extra shots up after a win can go a long way for a young player like Edwards.
As this season progresses, and then throughout the next handful of years, we will start to see the reigns of being the face of the Timberwolves shift even more from Towns to Edwards. This won’t be because Edwards is leaving Towns in the dust and rising up despite him, but rather because Towns will be able to use his past experiences in a similar situation to help Edwards get where Towns never had a real chance to go.
On a recent episode of the Timberwolves Daily YouTube Podcast, Jack Borman and I talked in depth about this exact idea. Jack joins me every week to talk Wolves and it’s always an excellent conversation. Aside from that, I also go live after every single game, aiding in the making of 6-8 videos/streams every week. I invite you to subscribe as we continue to grow!