Anthony Edwards has grown two inches in the past year and it may affect the way the Timberwolves use him, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Edwards, who finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, was 6’4″ when Minnesota selected him with the top pick in the 2020 draft. He’s now 6’6″ and may be even more versatile than he was last season.
Edwards averaged 4.7 rebounds per game as a rookie, but Hine notes that figure increased to 5.4 over the final 20 games as the Wolves asked him to put more emphasis on attacking the backboards. Coach Chris Finch is now considering using Edwards as a power forward in smaller lineups.
“He’s an extremely unique player and has all this raw ability, but he’s very literal when you coach him. Like I say to him, ‘I need you to go out and do X,’ he’ll do it,” Finch said. “We discovered in the last part of the season (when I’d tell him), ‘I need you to get seven rebounds tonight.’ We gave him goals almost every game or every period of time, so you give him stuff to focus on and he went out and did that.”
There’s more from Minnesota:
- Finch is looking forward to reuniting with Patrick Beverley, whom he coached several years ago as an assistant with the Rockets, Hine adds. Finch expects Beverley, who was acquired in a trade with the Grizzlies, to serve as a leader on defense. “He’s going to bring a lot of toughness, tenacious defense,” Finch said. “It gives our defense a bit of a personality. Defenses are always best when they start on the ball with the type of approach and aggressiveness he brings. I think one of the most encouraging things about bringing Patrick here is not how excited we are he’s coming, but he’s really excited. He knows he’s exactly the type of piece we need.”
- Beverley appears to be on board with the Wolves’ pursuit of Ben Simmons. Responding to a tweet from NBA writer Ben Stinar suggesting that Simmons, Edwards, D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns would be a contender in the West, Beverley wrote “Facts” (Twitter link). Of course, as Stan Van Gundy noted in a reply to Stinar’s tweet, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Minnesota could land Simmons without giving up any of those three players.
- Before hiring Elston Turner as an assistant on Finch’s staff, Minnesota considered Kings player development coach Lindsey Harding, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Harding began her WNBA career with the Minnesota Lynx.