For all the hype surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves explosive 2022 offseason, the results haven't shown up for them just yet. The Timberwolves have struggled mightily on both sides of the ball and have crawled out to a 7-8 start in a season where they were expected to emerge as one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Rudy Gobert believes Anthony Edwards has the makings of being an All-NBA defender
While the Timberwolves' offensive struggles are understandable since they have to account for the addition of Rudy Gobert to the equation, their defensive struggles don't make nearly as much sense. Gobert can anchor the paint, Karl-Anthony Towns can roam all over the floor, and guys like Anthony Edwards can hold down the perimeter. Despite having the makings of being a very strong defensive unit, the Timberwolves' defensive rating of 112 is 18th in the league.
Minnesota's defense hasn't met expectations, and Gobert is taking it upon himself to try to get the best out of his teammates on that side of the ball. Gobert recently praised Edwards as one of the best on-ball defenders in the game when he wants to be but believes he needs to maintain his focus on both ends of the court to emerge as the two-way star everyone believes he can become.
"He's shown me that he can be an All-Defensive player if he puts his mind to it. I've been on his ass a little bit about off-the-ball [defense]. He's very competitive. He's probably one of the best on-ball defenders I've seen when he takes it to heart and he's guarding a really good player. But being great defensively is about consistency. It's doing it every minute." - Rudy Gobert, ESPN
Rudy Gobert's high praise should be a wake-up call for Anthony Edwards
Considering how Gobert has been one of the best defenders in the league for quite some time now, he knows what he's talking about when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. His praise for Edwards cannot be taken lightly, but it should be a wake-up call for Edwards to focus on becoming more consistent on the defensive side of the ball.
When Edwards wants to be, he can be a superb defender, given his length, quickness, and tenacity. But as Gobert mentions, he doesn't consistently find a way to make an impact on the defensive end of the court, which is an issue. Edwards has the potential to be one of the best wing defenders in the game, but he needs to become more focused on putting it all together in order to actually reach that level.
For now, Edwards will remain an elite offensive player, although he will need to work on getting Gobert more involved to take a step forward on that side of the ball as well. Edwards is still just 21 years old and has plenty of time to grow, but until he does, the Timberwolves may continue to struggle.