Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards made a lasting impression in his playoff debut against Memphis on Saturday. Edwards kicked in the door and dominated the Grizzlies by setting a new Twolves record for a player in his first playoff game.
Edwards surpassed Stephon Marbury’s record 28 points in his first career playoff game with a 36-point performance of his own. He also became the third youngest player in NBA history to make a 35-point effort in the playoffs. Only Magic Johnson (42), Tyler Herro (37) and now Edwards (36) managed to do that before the age of 21.
If it hasn’t already been said, let me be the first to say. Anthony Edwards has arrived. He led the Twolves by 30 points in their play-in-game win over the Clippers. He then sprints out of the gates against the Grizzlies and goes ahead when the Twolves punched them in the mouth in game one of the series.
You may not have noticed, but Edwards has slowly taken over this team. He’s made a strong impact throughout the season. In December, Edwards became the youngest player in NBA history 10 three point shots in a game. If it weren’t for Edwards (and D’Angelo Russell) in last week’s play-in game against the Clippers, the Twolves would have lost. LA had no answers for Edwards on the edge or at the basket. He simply dominated and led Minnesota to their first playoff appearance since 2018.
Most fans across the country who play in Minnesota probably didn’t see Edwards much in his first two NBA campaigns. Now Edwards can show off his skills in front of a national crowd in this first-round match against Memphis. Believe it or not, we can look back on ending that streak with Memphis and say that Edwards was the best player on the court. Yes, in a series that includes both Yes Morant and Karl-Anthony Towns, I’m saying that Edwards could be the best and most influential player on the floor.
This kid doesn’t seem to fear the moment. He has so far faced the challenge of hitting big shots at big points during the play-in and playoffs. In last week’s play-in game against the Clippers, Edwards came up with big game after big game to keep them at bay when LA started to make a late run. It never looked like he was shaken or upset by that moment.
That’s exactly the intensity that a young team like Minnesota needs. If anyone has ice water in their veins, it’s Edwards. He then backed up that break-in performance with an even better one against the Grizzlies. And Edwards has personality, in addition to being a big baller on the pitch. This was evident in his reaction to “trash talk” from Memphis fans in Game One. Edwards just smiled and proceeded to throw buckets at the home team.
Should Edwards continue to produce those big postseason games, the Timberwolves could advance to the second round of the postseason for the second time in franchise history. The only other time Minnesota survived the first round was in 2004, when Kevin Garnett led the team to their only Western Conference Finals appearance. So the stakes are high for Edwards and these young wolves.
The Twolves are currently tasked with becoming an organic Big Three. Between Edwards, Towns and Russell, Minnesota should be in the Western Conference playoff talk for years to come. With Edwards leading the way with his game and attitude, it may not be long before we see this team back in the WCF.
During the regular season, Memphis was the big story because of the big jump they have done from last year until now. If they’re not careful, Minnesota can seize this national spotlight. If Edwards has any say in the matter, I think the odds are now in his favor.