Anthony Edwards is one of the top rising stars in the NBA currently. Despite only recently turning 21 years old, Edwards has averaged at least 19 points per game through the first two seasons of his career, and there’s good reason to believe that the Minnesota Timberwolves have a star on their hands in Edwards. Still, Edwards has a lot of room to grow, and there are areas of his game that still need improving, even though his career has gotten off to quite a quick start.
Edwards took inspiration from Harden when it came to getting stronger this offseason
Edwards hasn’t been shy about posting videos of his training on social media this offseason, and it’s safe to say he looks like he’s become a more polished player this offseason. But through his first two seasons, it was clear that Edwards would need to add more muscle if he wanted to truly fit the shooting guard/small forward archetype of players like Paul George and Jaylen Brown.
Edwards showed up to Timberwolves training camp looking bigger than he did to end the previous campaign, and everyone has taken note. When asked when he decided to bulk up this offseason, Edwards said an encounter with Philadelphia 76ers star guard James Harden convinced him to hit the gym. Seeing Harden’s physique made Edwards realize he needed to get bigger, and it resulted in Edwards quickly hitting the gym.
Getting stronger will only help Edwards improve
Strength can be very helpful in the NBA, but it isn’t totally necessary for some guards. Yes, it’s nice to have when you get switched onto a big man, but most guards nowadays spend much of their time chasing each other around the perimeter. Speed and shooting are the priorities for guards, whereas strength isn’t as important.
But for Edwards, it’s a bit more important than it would be for other guards. Edwards gets most of his points on cuts to the basket rather than as a shooter. Edwards’ overall efficiency improved last season, and a big reason for that was because of his improvements as a shooter. But again, when Edwards is going to the rim for most of his points, he needs to be able to use his body to create open looks for himself.
It’s interesting to see that Harden served as a motivation for Edwards, but nobody on the Timberwolves will complain about that. Harden has become a prolific scorer partly because of his ability to go into the paint and hit tough layups to complement his electric shooting capabilities. Edwards has the potential to develop a similar scoring profile as Harden, and getting stronger will definitely help. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Edwards’ offseason work will have on his upcoming campaign.