canada africa partner reservation Stephen A. Smith’s Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves declaration won’t please Nuggets

Stephen A. Smith’s Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves declaration won’t please Nuggets

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Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets are facing a tough task against the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves and their exciting young core led by Anthony Edwards. In Game 1, the Timberwolves took the series opener on the road, 106-99, led by Edwards’ 43 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The loss put the defending NBA champions in a tight spot as they never fell 0-1 in a series during their 2023 title run, while the Timberwolves are poised for a deep run into the playoffs for the first time since the Kevin Garnett-led squad went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals 20 years ago.

‘Sensational’ Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves favored by Stephen A. Smith over Nuggets

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5)
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The impressive performance by Anthony Edwards led to basketball analyst Stephen A. Smith to claim that the Timberwolves are favored over the defending champions. He also said Edwards is “the best two-way guard” in the NBA right now, and placed the former number one overall pick in the same conversation as legends Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

“I got Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves winning this series. I’ve seen enough. This brother, he is so sensational it is hard to put into words,” Smith said in the NBA Countdown program on ESPN.

“At the age of 22, we know the athleticism. But guess what we also see? We don’t just see the athleticism when he drives to the basket…we see the athleticism when he blocks the shots on the defensive side of the ball.”

During the regular season, Edwards averaged 25.9 points on 46.1% shooting, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in 79 games this season. But this number only increased in the playoffs so far, with per-game norms of 33.4 points on a more efficient 53.2% shooing with 7.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.8 steals.

While the statement of Stephen A. Smith may sound absurd or exaggerated on the surface, seeing the tangible increases in Edwards’ output from the regular season to the playoffs has nothing been short of impressive. Edwards is leading an upstart squad to the third seed entering the playoffs, and now the Timberwolves are three wins away from halting the Nuggets’ run to repeat as champions.

Veteran teammate compares Anthony Edwards to young Michael Jordan

It was not only Stephen A. Smith that compared Anthony Edwards to Michael Jordan, but veteran teammate Mike Conley also chimed in on the notion that “Ant-Man” is showing shades of a younger “Air Jordan.” Further, former NBA veteran JJ Redick said Edwards has the opportunity to become the next face of the league, should he continue his impressive performance in this year’s playoffs.

The Timberwolves are guided by one of the league’s best coaches in Chris Finch, with the team building around Edwards with the right talent fit for an up-and-coming contender.

Karl Anthony-Towns, another former number one overall pick, is an inside-out threat that complements Edwards’ all-around game. Jaden McDaniels and Rudy Gobert provide the defensive presence and length inside. Grizzled veteran Mike Conley provides the much-needed elder statesman presence and playmaking. Not to be overlooked are Naz Reid, Kyle Anderson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Monte Morris who provide the much needed spark off the bench.

Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals pairing between Minnesota and Denver will be on Monday, May 6, at 10 pm ET.