Northwest Notes: Edwards, Gobert, Jokic, Thunder

To be competitive against Denver, the Timberwolves will need more production from star guard Anthony Edwards, whose numbers have been down since he missed three games with a sprained ankle last month, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. In 11 games since returning, Edwards is shooting just 41.5% from the field and 30% on three-pointers. That includes a rough 6-for-15 outing as Minnesota lost Game 1 of its playoff series by 29 points.

Since the injury, Edwards has also lacked the explosiveness that typically defines his game, Krawczynski adds, forcing him to settle for more jumpers due to a diminished ability to get to the rim. The Nuggets also contributed to his off night as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown made him work to get off his preferred shots.

Edwards, whose swagger defines the Wolves’ attitude on the court, says the team needs to get more aggressive to have a chance in the series.

“We’ve got to be more physical,” he said. “They was bumping us all over the floor. They really punked us Game 1, I would say, so we’ve got to come out, get some hard fouls or something, get the game going.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert said his back feels much better after spending two off days in Denver, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Gobert, who has been dealing with back spasms since late in the regular season, said there’s a “night and day” difference since Sunday’s game, although he’s still not 100%.
  • Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is listed as questionable with a sprained right wrist, but coach Michael Malone is confident that the two-time MVP will be able to play tonight, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. In a pre-game meeting with reporters, Malone said he has “no concerns” about Jokic’s condition.
  • After a surprise season that included a spot in the play-in tournament, the Thunder have plenty of options to upgrade their roster this summer, per Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. Years of stockpiling draft assets have left Oklahoma City with 15 first-rounders over the next seven seasons. The Thunder also have nearly $30MM in cap space and could get close to $36MM by waiving Isaiah JoeJeremiah Robinson-EarlAaron Wiggins, and Lindy Waters III, who all have non-guaranteed contracts. Gozlan suggests that one offseason priority may be a rookie-scale extension with Aleksej Pokusevski, who was showing improvement before suffering a season-ending leg fracture.
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