Moving forward with our player rankings, this article features Anthony Edwards– a world-class athlete and elite young player on the brink of stardom. He has lived up to his high draft-day expectations and more. After an incredible third season, a stellar yet short playoff run, and an incredible FIBA World Cup, Edwards is continuously rising.
Top 25 NBA players 2023-24: No. 17 Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards: A Rising Super-Star
Since entering the league as the number-one pick in 2020, Edwards has exceeded his expectations. He has led the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs in two consecutive seasons. While they haven’t won a series yet, Minnesota is developing a dangerous perennial playoff squad around Edwards. As a player, he is an incredibly gifted three-level scorer. He has a particular knack for finishing with his elite athleticism.
Additionally, Edwards is a capable playmaker and defender. This produces an incredibly entertaining brand of basketball, especially considering his’ elite skills and highlight dunks. Ultimately, Edwards does everything you could ask for from a young star. At 22, the sky is the limit. Edwards’ stock was high after an impressive season and playoffs, but it exploded during the FIBA World Cup. He has risen further in rankings and is one of the most appreciated young players in the league.
Last season was year one with Minnesota’s “double big” pairing with Karl Anthony-Towns and Rudy Gobert. The duo didn’t play much due to a lengthy Towns’ calf injury. Many rightfully critiqued the Gobert trade as risky, considering the fit and draft capital involved. It’s important to note that Minnesota pulled the trigger on the trade to get more star-level talent around Edwards.
Regardless of Towns’ injury, the Timberwolves, led by Edwards, managed to secure the eighth seed and put up a solid fight against the eventual champion Denver Nuggets. Edwards put up his best scoring numbers in his first year and played through a ton of adversity last year. As a result of his impressive season, Edwards was rewarded with his first All-Star team. Looking ahead, he is going to be a problem for a while.
Given his young age, Edwards will only improve each year. This year, he could take another huge jump. If everything goes as planned, this will be the first full year Edwards will have with the “double big” pairing. The jury is still out on whether this duo can be successful at the highest level and if it’s conducive to Edwards’ playstyle. However, the upside is there, and making this duo work in or, worst case, finding a trade partner will be necessary for Minnesota, especially because they are building around Edwards’ future.
In addition to another scoring jump, Edwards could improve as a playmaker after his time with Team USA in the Fiba Cup. The Timberwolves should be competitive in the jam-packed West, but despite their talent, there’s still a strong chance Minnesota will miss the playoffs. But that possibility feels like a credit to how difficult the West is as opposed to a knock on the Timberwolves or Edwards. When I consider Minnesota’s long-term future, it comes down to whether Edwards is a part of it and if the team has upside and will be competitive.
The Last Word on Anthony Edwards
Ultimately, Edwards has proven a ton at 22 and has legitimate MVP upside. He is one of the league’s most talented and complete young players. Many people could argue for Edwards to even be higher in these rankings. It seems too early to put Edwards above some highly accomplished players in his range. However, Edwards will only rise in the rankings and could flirt with a top-10 spot after this season.